- - Wednesday, October 28, 2020

What a crazy world we’re living in! Everyone’s stuck at home, not sure what’s coming next. Worried about getting sick. Worried about losing their job. Worried about how to pay their bills. Wondering what’s going to happen with school being taught totally online. And then — on top of all that — you add actual rioting … right here in America! Crazy people actually destroying statues of Columbus, Jefferson, Lincoln … and even George Washington! You have people burning the American flag, and taking a knee to show their hatred of America and its National Anthem.

“Why can’t we all just get along?”

Well, the answer to that is that one side doesn’t want to get along. And the other side pretty much just always stays silent, trying to avoid any confrontation, while letting a small minority of bullies trample over everything most Americans cherish. It’s obvious that Democrats don’t want to get along with Republicans. With gritted teeth, they just want everyone to go along with them.

It used to be that both parties loved America, believed in God, honored the family, and felt that every household was responsible for its own housing, food, education and health care. Everyone went to school, got a job, earned a living and provided for his or her own well-being. And the two political parties only differed in the ways they felt government should intervene, or not. (Even now, there are still many middle-of-the-road independents, moderates — and even Romney Republicans — who continue to believe that unity and compromise are possible.) I repeat:  “Why can’t we all just get along?”

Well, frankly, it’s way past time to wake up and recognize that Unity and Compromise are not only no longer achievable … they may, in fact, no longer even be desirable. Case in point: Where is the compromise between having babies and aborting babies? Where is the compromise between requiring an ID for flying on a plane, buying alcohol or taking the SAT test, but not for voting or receiving government benefits? Where is the compromise between loving what America stands for … and hating what America stands for?

So, after much thought, I’ve broken down these two starkly different world views into 5 very real “Battles” that I contend we’re in the middle of. As you read these, just ask yourself: “In which scenario do I want to live?”

• Battle No. 1 — Happy vs. Angry

I believe that most people are intrinsically good. They’re kind, optimistic and full of hope for the future. And, of course, while everyone’s life has ups and downs, good days and bad … most Americans are pretty happy. They’re generally really friendly, they try to be good neighbors, and most of them don’t discriminate by race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. They may not approve of certain lifestyles (i.e., addicts, criminals, pedophiles, etc.), but they don’t hate those people … they just wish they could get the help they need.

However, isn’t it obvious that those who are rioting, tearing down statues, attacking the police, and writing the ‘F-word’ all over the buildings they torch, are unhappy, angry, pessimistic and full of hatred? Aren’t they the ones who are discriminating against others on the basis of race, religion, gender and sexual orientation?

• Battle No. 2 — Moral vs. Immoral

We all grew up knowing right from wrong, didn’t we? Tell the truth … don’t lie. Do your homework … don’t cheat. Respect your elders … don’t swear. Obey your parents, your teachers and the police … don’t steal. (Use your blinker … don’t drive slow in the passing lane.) Be kind … don’t be mean.

Are these religious tenets? Well, sort of. But they’re also just the common courtesy rules of society that allow all people to get along, nations to avoid confrontations and civilizations to flourish.

But now we’re faced with an entire segment of society that claims that there is no such thing as Right and Wrong. That there’s no such thing as ‘Truth.’ “Defund the Police!” “F-America!” “No Justice, No Peace.” Sometimes they cheat, they swear, they lie, they commit violence. They disrespect the basic tenets of a civilized society (and of law and order). Are they free to do so? I guess sometimes they are. But do I want to live in their world? No, thank you.

• Battle No. 3 — Normal vs. Aberrant

I realize that this is a dangerous issue to talk about. And, of course, we’re each ‘abnormal’ in our own weird and wacky ways: Some people actually like peas;  I like Doo-Wop; there are even people who still think bell-bottoms look good. And of course, we all need the ‘abnormal’ thinkers who become the amazing musicians, artists, writers and entrepreneurs whose out-of-the-box thinking brings innovation, creativity and wonderful enjoyment to all of our lives.

But there’s a real difference between being ‘abnormal’… and being ‘aberrant.’ And, frankly, we’re all so gun-shy to speak up about it, that we cede the stage to the vocal minority of bullies. But, at great risk, I’m going to give it a try, anyway.

In the ‘normal’ world, there are only two genders; families matter; babies shouldn’t be aborted; men and women should get married and be faithful to each other; don’t take drugs or rob people; if you want to achieve some goal, you need to work for it; everyone is created equal; all lives matter!

But there’s a small group of people out there that seems to need to fight against those basic standards at every possible turn. They believe that there are dozens of genders; that it’s an unfair ‘advantage’ that some job skills earn more than others; that abortion is a fine solution for an unwanted pregnancy; that having casual sex with anyone, of any age — or any gender — is something to be proud of;  that it’s the government’s responsibility to provide everyone with free housing, food, health care and a college degree; and that certain lives (i.e., Black, Indigenous, gay, female, illegal immigrants, whatever) are more equal than others (mostly straight white males).

Okay, now you choose which world you want to live in … and vote your choice.

• Battle No. 4 — Freedom vs. Government Control

While this ‘Battle’ appears to be the most political one listed, I think it simply mirrors the first three. A free society is one in which each person is responsible for his or her own decisions, his or her own welfare and success. Do your homework … or don’t. Get a job … or don’t. Earn a living … or don’t. Buy a car, a house, health insurance … or don’t. Each person is free to make his or her own choices …  but then will also have to bear the consequences of those choices, whether they turn out to be negative or positive, failure or success. That’s what free market capitalism is all about.  And it’s what was at the very foundation of the establishment of the United States: “Let’s overthrow the government-controlled bondage of a king — and its system in which the elites ran everything — and let’s let individual people be in charge of their own lives.”

But now, for some absolutely insane reason, there are those who want to return us to a government-controlled (Socialist/Communist/Marxist/Progressive) society, where there is no free speech, no freedom of religion, no right to bear arms, no private ownership of property, where there is no opportunity to start your own business, and where the wealth (savings) of those who have worked hard to achieve something of value is ‘redistributed’ to the government … who then gives it out to those who didn’t work as hard … in the form of free housing, free food, free education and free health care. (Just an aside: Even the slaves who built the pyramids got free housing and free food. Is that our dream?)

• Battle No. 5 — America is the Solution vs. America is the Problem

We can all readily name the greatest civilizations of all time: the Egyptians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese, the British Empire (and others, of course). But none of them can hold a candle to what the United States of America has accomplished. We overthrew a king. We ended slavery. We passed laws giving Blacks and women the right to vote. We provided opportunities for every man and woman to get an education, to get health insurance, to raise their children in the religion (or none) of their choice, and to pursue the career they wanted to. 

Our experiment with a democratic constitutional Republic was the touchstone for every other nation on Earth … and still is. Nearly every refugee throughout the world still wants to come to the United States. Mexicans want to come. Central Americans want to come. People in India want to come. As do people from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. There’s a reason why Florida’s Disney World is the world’s top tourist destination (and why Cuba or North Korea isn’t).

America is not the problem. We are not the oppressors. The fact is that the poorest 20% of Americans have a lifestyle higher than the average of all people in the world’s most affluent countries (from a 2019 study by JustFacts); and our poorest 20% are probably ranked among the richest 20% of all people, worldwide. In the U.S., even those considered to be living in poverty have subsidized housing, food stamps, health care and free education … and all of this is in addition to smart phones, cars, flat-screen TVs, and air-conditioners. Clearly, America is not the problem, and doesn’t need to be punished. It needs to be emulated.

Now, do I wish that Donald Trump had never used the ‘P-word’ a decade ago? Sure. Do I wish that the high-brow New Yorker Magazine (and nearly every hip-hop artist, comedian, and Hollywood celebrity) didn’t use the ‘F-word’ all the time? Yes. And as a Michigan grad, do I wish that I didn’t have to mention the 4-letter ‘O-word’ whenever I’m driving from Pennsylvania to Indiana? You bet. But none of those are reasons to vote one way or another.

So please reflect on the 5 key ‘Battles’ highlighted above … and keep the America (that the whole world is counting on) free and safe from these angry, immoral, aberrant, controlling, America-haters.

• Walker Johanson is a nationally-recognized strategy and marketing consultant, a long-time political commentator, and the author of “The Everyman’s Guide to knowing which way to vote.”

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