There is Clash of National Vision occurring in our Country
We are witnessing a truly important event in American history. It amounts to a clash of culture or perhaps more appropriately stated, a confrontation of two diverging visions of our country.
On one side stand the liberal “Progressives.” Theirs is a world of dependency and homogeneity as we lose more and more freedom of choice and we are forced towards reliance on a central government’s regulation and control. It is founded not on the notion that all people were created equal and ought to have equal opportunity to use the talents God gave them to succeed, rather that all people are in fact “equal,” which they are not. (e.g., some are gifted with musical talent; some are intellectually brilliant, some are big and strong; some are driven and some are lazy).
For all their calls for diversity, they really intend a society in which everyone thinks alike. To overcome these real-life differences, it is government’s role to not only level the playing field, but remove any advantage or gain the individual has achieved and redistribute it to others, irrespective of their capabilities or effort. Regardless of their rhetoric, the ultimate end-game is to create a socialist society.
The other view acknowledges the inherent equality or worth of each human being, but recognizes true differences (of which ethnic and racial diversity is but a component-not the entirety). It promotes the “Individual” and achievement, without which there can be no true long-term societal advancement. This view recognizes the risk reward trade-off and celebrates success rather than punish it by removing (an ever-increasing portion of) the earned rewards and redistributing not according to one’s individual beliefs, rather the government’s criteria.
This separation has been building for decades and the past eight years of the Obama presidency has served to alienate a significant portion of the population as social mores have slid off center and diversity of ideas has been stifled. As the body-politic and political system fractured, people have been driven ever more to the extremes, leaving little room for compromise and common sense.
This schism was finally made manifest in the election and its aftermath. The people who elected Trump, ones that had been left out of the grand experiment of redistribution, as well as, those whose beliefs follow the more individualistic view, who may not have initially supported Trump, have turned cautiously optimistic. Perhaps our President-elect is not the most articulate messenger, but he is the one we have and he deserves a chance to change things.
The liberal side has had more difficulty coming to grips with an election loss they could not conceive. They are distraught if not outright apoplectic, moving from legitimate protest to outright rioting and lawlessness.
Recently, Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended the Broadway rap musical, “Hamilton,” and was confronted by a cast member at the end who used the show to make a political statement. He said, “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”
I believe that political statements are protected speech and such a public venue is a perfectly acceptable forum for such commentary, regardless of how uncomfortable it may make our elected leaders. In this, I am very critical of Trump’s petty Tweets to the contrary. In fact, I love the admonition to “work on behalf of all of us.” It embodies the ideal to which we aspire.
However, there was a somewhat worrisome component, one indicative of the split within the country. In the above quotation, he uses the term, “our” American values. Implicit therein was that the views of the speaker were somehow indicative of the American people as a whole. I take exception to such a stance.
True, the sentiment expressed may be representative of a sizeable segment of the population. Yet, it likely does not represent the entirety of the country, as we have witnessed with the outcome of the national and local elections.
In fact, this assertion, one generally promoted in the media, seems to be the baseline from which any deviation opens the door for labels now thrown out by the liberal community against any failure to follow their orthodoxy. Unfortunately, in stating that I have concerns about the liberal positions on social, economic or foreign policy, particularly as they have been practiced by the Obama Administration, I am now being pushed into a place I find extremely disquieting.
If one expresses apprehensions about how we are vetting refugees from war-torn countries in the Middle East, where radical elements are prevalent, you are xenophobic. If someone even has a concern about who may be in a restroom with their child, they are a bigot. If they express concern about our ability to secure our borders and control illegal immigration or whether it is wise or realistic to have an open-border policy, you are racist. If you question the nature of the “free” trade agreements given the obvious inequities, you are a protectionist. The list goes on.
I am a thoughtful, reasonable person, but I have such concerns and would like us to have a coherent public discussion about these and a whole range of other policies. How has it come to past that even a concern or question about, what may seem to some as fairly extreme policies, sets you into their “basket of deplorables?” I resent this!
I am duly concerned with the future of our country. I think we are in times of change, fraught with danger, but also great opportunity.
We have an opportunity to reverse the march of business-stifling regulations and begin to open the way for economic growth. We have the opportunity to halt the regressive financial penalty against success inherent in the current tax codes. We have the opportunity to create a society based on equality of opportunity and achievement.
Let there be no illusion, no set of policies will satisfy everyone. However, I am convinced that giving voice to “everyone,” regardless of the tension it creates, is in the long-run best interest of this country. That is the greatest opportunity I see unfolding.