America needs to take a chill pill, and by America, I mean every white, Black, blue collar, suit wearing, working, out-of-work, college attending, right of the aisle or left-winged person that has the ability to think of themselves as a citizen of these United States of America.
Forgive the country colloquialism of taking a chill pill, I did grow up on a farm, but I’ve found that sometimes my country roots offered life lessons and universal truths of which we should all be reminded of from time to time. And right now, we all need to take a deep breath and think before we speak. We need to pause before making a move. We need to cool off.
Political disagreements are as old as our country. They’re not new. Our founding fathers argued passionately about how they thought the fledgling nation should be constructed. The result was a beautiful balance of ideas that somehow perched upon a pinnacle of conservative and liberal policies.
Over the decades our country has shifted from teetering left when the proverbal stabilizing ropes of conservative leadership took office and once again turned the tides causing the country to start steering to the right again. And vice versa. We’ve always had this swapping. This constant sway like the rise and fall of the waves of the ocean. And folks, I find that beautiful.
I was raised in a very political family. I remember being a little girl visiting my grandparents and their television would play election coverage. The entire family would watch it with as much fervor as if it were an Alabama football game. Even back then, we witnessed disputes. Angry politicians would spew hate dialect directed at their opponents. The debate and the altercations would be discussed the following days and weeks at the local gathering place for morning coffee by old timers and young bucks alike. Even back then politics would come up as a topic of review in the parking lots of churches before Sunday morning service. Contentions between neighbors happened then as well. Families would have fall outs, but at Easter time, Christmas, weddings, funerals, those disputes would be set aside, and forgiveness would prevail to allow wounds to heal.
Ever since last Wednesday when protesters broke into our nation’s Capitol and disrupted the proceedings of the democratic process, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it all. What happened? Why did it happen? What changed?
We’ve had upheavals in our nation before. We’ve gone to war against each other. We’ve fought for equal rights. We’ve fought for freedoms. We’ve fought for our lives.
Some of you will remember the controversies surrounding Kennedy and Nixon. More of you will remember Carter and Reagan. Almost everyone will remember the insanity of the Clinton scandals. President George W. Bush wasn’t exempt from controversy. Being president during the horrific attack on our country on September 11, 2001, didn’t protect him from the backlash of criticism from Americans. But under his leadership is when things really began to change.
Now I may invoke some condemnation with what I’m about to say, but these are just my thoughts on the subject. As the Bush administration dealt with terrorism in distant lands and at home rooting out those who sought to destroy what we hold dear, we had a new form of influence slowly taking hold of our citizens: social media.
Now don’t get me wrong. Social media has done a lot of positive things in our lives. It’s made the world a smaller place. It’s allowed families and friends to remain close despite long distances. It’s helped raise awareness of global issues. It’s helped support small businesses. It’s allowed information to be passed quickly.
However, on the other side of the coin, it’s allowed information to be passed quickly. Yes, I meant to type those words again. Because information is vital to our way of life. Information allows us to make intelligent and informed decisions. Information is key, as they say. But, social media has allowed false information to be passed around and given it the disguise of truth. It has fanned flames of disagreement. People feel safer behind their phone or computer screens and say things they might otherwise not say. It’s made a culture that reacts instantly and harshly. It’s taken away hesitation in the worst way.
Social media has also formed “echo chambers”. A place where people who are angry with certain things can go to vent their frustrations and have feedback from people that agree. It, in a strange way, validates their anger allowing it to grow. Anyone who has the audacity to offer an explanation or differing viewpoint can be written off or dismissed by the mobs of replies and comments jumping on the bandwagon to bash opposition.
Discussions which might have taken place in person where emotions can be controlled are now playing out on highspeed WIFI with no care for repercussions. Ya’ll, this is why we are in the position that we are in today.
At some point, we have to think to ourselves, enough is enough. We must stop letting controversy and arguments drive our actions and opinions. We need to have actual dialogue to find solutions. We need to stop looking at Democrats or Republicans as enemies. They aren’t. They are just the other side of the weight that keeps our country balanced. I don’t expect arguments about politics to disappear, nor should they for that matter. Those disagreements are instrumental to growth, but they do not have to exist to the level that invokes the storming of our national buildings for pointless disruptions or rioting in the streets which results in the burning of our country’s small businesses.
It’s time to stop this madness before it goes any further. We need to stop saying things to each other online that we wouldn’t say to each other in person. We need to remember tact and restraint. We need to start using our heads to think rationally and actually work to solve our collective problems. It’s time to be Americans again. Americans that take pride in their nation and remember the words “God and Country”. It’s time for perspective. It’s time to pause, and most of all, it’s just time to take a chill pill.