Scranton Column: Upside down
The great thing about our country is it’s resilience and capacity to absorb the upside down ideas that come flying our way and figure out how to collectively move ahead. One step in front of the other has always gotten it done before – and will in the future. The last 10 months have provided a great example of how things can get completely turned into something unexpected and difficult to process.
I spent most of my life being taught the progressive nature of our culture and the importance of moving in a direction that offers most people a better more complete sense of living in a republic. We’ve never been free, but have had the liberty to self-determine which inspires the idea that if we believe in something strongly enough – we are willing to accept the consequences of our decisions.
That concept seems to have been pushed into oblivion as our definition of liberty has taken on new ideas, causes and movements that command a disqualification of responsibility based on what is being protested. If it is something one agrees with – it’s a protest – no matter how violent. If it’s something one disagrees with – it’s a riot – no matter how peaceful. The meaning of a word is pretty important and when violence is excused in the name of perceived right or wrong, we are speeding down a narrow ideological road that doesn’t offer much in the way of consideration areas or reconsideration lanes.
In our celebration of diversity, we’ve decided that too much of anything is a great thing all the time no matter what it might be. Defining a person by their identity has always been a powerful determinant for how we see ourselves. Identity has generally been shaped by a cluster of influential people who help us see both the error and correctness of our beliefs and opinions. We generally fit into a pattern that was forged by a pretty solid belief in the tenants of our Bill of Rights and Constitution. Nobody ever said we were always right, or did things perfectly, but that we strived to make our nation a better place for those who come after us.
Lately, some have tumbled headlong into thinking, incorrectly I believe, that we can be whatever we want to be no matter what anyone says and should they disagree are misinformed, archaic, hostile, harassing, racist, phobes. For these people, objective truth is all about perception and if one wants to believe that the earth is flat – one can find like-minded people. If one wants to identify as a lion – one can find like-minded people. If one wants to completely turn their body into a piece of tattoo art – one can find like-minded people. Should one want to compete as a girl in girl’s sports and is not a biological girl – well who are you to object to how one feels about their true self?
But if you tell me that I’m wrong about planet earth based on the objective facts, or that perhaps this lion thing will be a passing phase, or that turning my whole body into a tattoo canvas might hamper my ability to make successful life choices; or that gender identification in sports is necessary to allow for the fairest competition for each competitor; then you would be squashing self-expression, are obviously narrow-minded, and should be canceled in the court of public opinion for thought crimes.
It will get turned rightside up eventually, but while many things seem upside down right now; keep a good supply of common-sense on hand to help with equilibrium.
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