The Culture War

Many of us are wondering what happened? We grew up with the saying don’t discuss religion or politics at social gatherings and we all pretty much got along and felt we had more in common than not. We were all basically on the same page.* But today, people will just share a tidbit and it’s like what are they talking about? Where did that come from? It’s like we’re in two different realities! Well, we’re in the middle of a culture war! It’s us versus them, and most of us didn’t or don’t even know it.

Apparently, the secular left and conservative Christians are at war, and the rest of us in the middle are just along for the ride. Politically correct coastal elites who are pro-choice, pro-gay and civil rights are seen as an assault on religious freedom, while the conservative Christians are pro-life, pro-religious liberty and are anti-gay, anti-civil rights and anti-intellectual.

The conservative Christian Right believes the government is too far left, secular and anti-Christian. This is why the Republicans are so focused on appointing conservative judges. They will be able to overrule changes proposed by those elected from the left. Since the majority of voting Americans are Democrats, Republicans have to pack the courts to override the majority. They also use this view of government to call it too big and to justify deregulation and the gutting of essential agencies, ironically, hurting that which was in place to protect them.

Somehow gun rights activists, white supremacists and generally aggrieved white males who fear being a minority in a browning America have joined forces with the religious right conservatives. Generally, they are informed by the likes of Fox News and conservative, right-wing media. I am not even sure the hosts of conservative shows actually believe in the ideology they espouse or if they’re just telling people what they want to hear while making tons of money.

This simple dichotomy informs many views and decisions; Religion-good, government and knowledge-bad. Some who have joined this group kinda just tolerate the former or substitute religion with jingoistic patriotism, but jump on the latter full-in. Together, they are an anti-government force.

This division is destroying our country and the answer is in the middle not in the extremes. Sadly, the destruction is not noticed by most, as a sense of righteousness from either extreme is blinding. We need to come to the table while not destroying it before honest debate begins. Democracy only works if we do it together.

* Footnote: When I grew up, we only had three television networks that provided the same or very similar news and to get other views you had to read a book or meet with others in person, while today there are hundreds of cable news and talk radio shows offering very divergent views 24/7. And, many don’t seem to realize that their view is extreme or slanted.

Responsible Freedom

Some ordinary people conflate personal freedom and patriotism with a totally unfettered free market economy.  Many of these ordinary people are actually victims of a deregulated free market economy in the form of stagnant wages, job losses, foreclosures, evictions, bankruptcies, skyrocketing healthcare and pharmaceutical costs and shrinking opportunity to name just a few of the effects.  They reference the Constitution of the United States as the sacred document that guarantees this supposedly unrestrained freedom.  However, the Constitution guarantees an equal opportunity for each person to pursue their vision of happiness, but also protects the general welfare of all, especially the elderly, women and children.  This indicates the need for a well thought out balance that requires an effective government not necessarily smaller government.  Profit should not come before the environment, worker and consumer safety, the law and the general welfare.  Great wealth is unattainable without the foundation supported by ordinary people, for instance, essential workers and the military.  Freedom without responsibility and accountability is unsustainable.

We actually don’t have a free market economy, we have a mixed economy as all the successful democratic nations have.  Over time, it gets pulled to the left and pulled to right, based on perceptions of the times.  We must find the balance between the pursuit of happiness and the general welfare.

LeBron James recently said, “building your community is how you change the world.”  Not hoarding all its resources for yourself….

The Indoctrinated…

Some of my acquaintances have a completely different conception of reality than me right now, even though we are very similar culturally, socioeconomically and in age.  Conversations with them are disconcerting, foreign and unbelievable.  It’s so bad that I ask myself are we even on the same planet?  It’s like they’ve been indoctrinated into a mind-altering cult far removed from reality.  I’ve been trying to figure this out, seriously, since November 2017 when I started this blog.

The first thing I have discovered about my acquaintances who have a very different and alien to me worldview is that they are avid consumers of AM radio right-wing shows and/or the Fox NEWS shows.  The following are excerpts or paraphrases from Is Fox News Finally Past the Point of No Return? by Steve Almond on and they have helped me understand others a little better

First of all, Fox News is NOT a news organization.  It produces political entertainment that appeals to those attracted to a “paranoid style” of programming.  It’s only motivation is PROFIT, certainly not facts or truth.  ( states that Fox News rates as 85% false).  Fox News is “…stoking fear and loathing for cash…  and people are buying in to the “poisonous propaganda.”

Fox News teaches that “…someone is out to get you, aging white person!  The government, the climate scientists or the Muslims or the immigrants or the feminists or the thugs (read: people of color) or the Godless abortionists or the IRS or Killary.  They are coming for your guns, for your way of life.”

“Fox deals in propaganda, stories that are intended to simplify moral action by flattening the world in to an utterly predictable binary.”

Conservatives = Good / Liberals = Bad

Whites = Victims / People of color = Perpetrators

The Wealthy = Job creation / The Poor = Moochers

“Viewers have been trained to reject facts that rank as too disturbing (climate change, income inequality, systemic racism) and instead to embrace phony scandals (death panels, Benghazi, Sharia law, etc,) in which they are forever cast as heroic victims of imagined enemies.”

While, “Actual journalism, in seeking to document the complex realities of life in the 21st century, tends to complicate moral action.”

“Fox – along with the for-profit demagogues who dominate the AM dial – laid the entire foundation for Trump’s ascent.  For two decades, these outlets have been INDOCTRINATING aging whites in a manner that would be the envy of totalitarian regime.”

“Most Americans have long since tired of Trump’s masculine insecurity, his pathetic politics of division and despair.  But so long as Fox News is around, the rise of another cruel bully is all but inevitable.”  And sadly, Impeached President Trump “…retains an approval rating of 40 percent – despite his blatant incompetence and corruption- because of his Fox News firewall.”

This Fox fueled worldview is tearing this once great United States of America apart by gutting government agencies of its expertise and the protections it offers ordinary Americans,  and putting all the country’s resources into the hands of the greedy top one percent who care nothing for the rest of us.

All the Fox News consumers I know, truly believe that they are being told the absolute truth.  They are seemingly unreachable.  They elected the most incompetent, immoral and corrupt President ever and believe that he’s doing a phenomenal job.  I don’t know how to reach them.  They discard my fact checking as liberal propaganda and call me a libtard.  As Trump destroys our government and our country we are quickly losing our standing in the world.  I hope we can recover before it is too late.


CDC Guidlines Shelved by White House?

We are in the midst of the worst pandemic in a 100 years, nearly 80,000 Americans have died with another 1.3 million confirmed infections,  and our economy is tanking to Great Depression levels.  There is no effective treatment nor vaccine and most people, other than essential workers, are staying home which is financially crushing many industries and small businesses.  The only way to save the economy and not get sick and die is to follow well thought out guidelines created by experts!

Well guess what?  The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) complied a comprehensive plan for safely returning to normal activities that would result in economic recovery.  A plan put together by panels of American experts funded by our tax dollars that is being withheld from us!

But the ridiculous plutocrats led by impeached President Trump, think they know better than the experts.  They think that the power that comes from their wealth somehow gives them the intellect to be experts in all fields.  So go get your intravenous lysol kit and get to work.

The White House shelved the guidelines until the Associated Press broke the story, only then did they quickly release portions of the guidelines.  In my opinion, the refusal to release and embrace the CDC guidelines is simply Trump’s attempt to control the narrative for political purposes.  He is willing to sacrifice your life and the lives of your loved ones to better his chances of being reelected.  That is his only motivation while the CDC is only concerned with your well-being and the well-being of your fellow human beings.  So, whom am I going to believe and follow?  Do I really need to ask this question?  I hope not…

I want to follow the guidelines I paid the experts to produce.

Value Real America

Ethereal perceptions and attitudes about what life and people should be like, fueled by portrayals in entertainment and the media, are causing us to not see things as they really are and to devalue the vast majority of Americans.  Somehow, the top one percent, those earning $400,000 per year or more, became what the average American is supposed be like and if you don’t live up to this unrealistic ideal you are somehow lazy or dumb and definitely undeserving of a comfortable life.

Back in 1980 the term “Yuppie” was coined to refer to Young Urban Professionals, usually upwardly mobile, socially liberal and fiscally conservative meaning they can do whatever they want and everyone else is on their own.  They look down on manual labor.  Somehow those without college educations and who work with their hands or have to work while standing became unworthy of a livable wage and basic benefits.  This was a change in perception that changed the way the working class was viewed and treated.  Workers are still needed, but became devalued by just a perception.

Currently, the most needed positions in America that go unfilled in the job market are home healthcare aides, retail, restaurant and hotel workers.  There are more jobs than workers looking.  During this COVID -19 pandemic we have also found that service workers have now become essential workers.  According to Representative Joe Kennedy III (D Mass), “Our futures are linked… (service workers and everyone else),” service workers are “…the people who enable the rest of us to function.”  And 40% of hardworking Americans cannot handle a $400 emergency.  This is real America.

Essential workers are essential and the top 1% cannot function without us.  Essential workers need to be valued and paid a living wage with benefits and support including healthcare, childcare, safe and affordable public transportation, affordable housing, hazard pay, sick days and paid family leave (Rev. William J. Barber II).  We should not let false perceptions justify the exploitation of essential workers.  We all share a common humanity and our health is inextricably linked.

Greedy takers who think they are better and more deserving than everyone else need to use their blessings to bless others.  And right now, “…too many people in power… are comfortable with other people’s deaths…” (Barber).  We are all valuable, essential and deserve protection from exploitation and being forced to risk dying or being unemployed!