By Elmer Ellsworth
We can defeat any enemy – and we have lost many doing so – each generation has paid its price for freedom.
But, fourteen years after 9/11 I feel as if as though I am living in a Nightmare — I fear we are failing miserably in protecting this Nation because we have allowed ourselves to be drowned out and divided from within.
Every day I am in awe over how incredibly similar the two sides in this fictitious struggle have become. But it is far from funny. It is painful. And our election is still over a year away.
Each side demonizes, dehumanizes, hates, laughs at and ridicules the other – joyfully calling for the elimination or domination of the other. Gleefully blaming all evils and problems on the other.
Each side spreads lies, uses idiotic unrelated events and circumstances to claim their own righteousness. Each side overlooks the guilt and ugliness among their own, but rants at the same filth on the other side. Both sides have claims of “first blood.”
It’s comical how each side says essentially the same things on different days. Each side preaches only to those who think exactly like them. There is no intellectual debate. Most of the stuff I read, I find myself asking “Do they realize how stupid their comments are?”
I fear a world where either side of the political aisles “dominates” the other. Yet, some seem to lust for that outcome. I fear that no issue – no subject – is now left “untainted” by this disease. Some seem content with playing politics on every issue – yet ironically they criticize their opponents for doing so.
Each of us justify venturing into the abyss of this ugliness for the one or two issues we feel passionately about. We feel our “convictions” and “righteousness” on the particular issue at hand makes it justified.
But one man’s joke or pointed message, is another man’s insult. The dismissal of civility appears to be accepted as a necessity. Where is the accountability?
Whether it is “Tea Party” or “Progressives”, each is far from tolerant and extremely offensive in their own way – neither can claim the moral high ground. There is nothing more comical to me than how each side believes they are the innocents and “white knights” in this political absurdity.
As Veterans, we were comfortable serving neither Party – serving only the Nation we love … and now we know that both Parties have become hijacked by the partisans in this struggle.
So, perhaps as Veterans it is time for us to lead our fellow citizens back into the light – perhaps it is time to call for an end to this. But, first we must understand why so many have failed to end this madness even when it is so apparent. It is because the primary objective of both sides is to divide us into groups and sustain the conflict. The partisans have a purpose and power as long as the debates continue. The fiercer the debates, the more power the partisans wield. If the fight ends, they lose their power, their voice, their “control.” It is this “playing field” that controls – and spoils – our politicians. And as long as there are people “liking” their media, it continues.
WE THE PEOPLE are to blame. The problem is that the METHOD and MANNER in which we choose to debate and discuss issues DOES MATTER. I am pained by this.
I have an idea for a small step, a baby step on the road towards reclaiming control of this country. This may upset some of my friends, but I feel it is time to draw a line … we are still over a year away from an election and things will only get worse if left unchallenged. Let’s make the conscious decision that METHOD and MANNER do matter and follow these simple rules.
- No name calling – no categorizing.
- Judge political candidates based ONLY on their OWN statements, actions and policies.
- No attacking a candidate for something somebody else did.
- No forwarding links or articles that you have not personally read. Let’s accept that no issue can be summarized in three sentences or some funny Meme. It may be funny, but if you start calling it “true” or “correct” than you are probably offending somebody.
- If it happened two elections ago – 10 years ago, let’s agree it probably is old news.
- No litmus tests for candidates. It is more than a little arrogant to assume that one issue is what is most important for all Americans. It’s fine to have your issue that you vote on, its not fine to expect others to share the same priorities.
- Candidates should be expected to take ONLY one Pledge – The Pledge of Allegiance to the USA, not to one party or the other.
If you cannot follow these rules, I am afraid to say that you are probably part of the problem and not part of the solution, regardless of what message you are preaching.
As Soldiers, we fought for our country, not for a political party. We agreed to live by a code and allow our Government to decide our fate. We never asked, nor questioned the politics of our brothers and sisters. No matter how muddy our boots were, there was a virtue in knowing we were above that fray.
Now, I am calling for fellow Patriots to take a similar stand. Maintain your own political views – whatever they me be – but demand that the method and manner of the debate matters. Let’s lead by example and bring some civility back to this process. And, let’s make ALL Politicians put our Nation before their Party. Let’s be part of the solution, and not stand for the problem.