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Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Newsroom Moment

America is NOT the greatest country on the planet.  That's right--I said it.  America is certainly the worlds best idea, but not its best country.  In an effort not to make this blog entry any longer than it already will be I won't go into the reasons why its not.  The list is simply too long.  Instead I'll harp on one: lack of unity.

See America is awesome because we have "freedom."  There's freedom of speech which allows us to say what we want, when we want with certain obvious limits--like not yelling fire in a crowded public place.  There's the freedom to practice whatever religion you want.  There's supposed freedom of the press so that the electorate (that's the people who actually vote, not everyone that's eligible) are informed when they go to make decisions.  "Freedom of the press" means no government influence.  Unfortunately here in America we have corporate influence--which may be worse than government influence--but I digress.

My point is with all these freedoms, there's one we seem to miss: the freedom to disagree.  This is often lost on the citizenry, mainly because the press acts as an instigator.  Rather than reporting the facts, the facts are often reported on and weighed in on by "experts"--people who either share one view or another to give THEIR opinion.  Soon, you have a handful of blowhards representing the "voice of the people" and by the "people" I mean the group that shares opinion X.  This leads to divisiveness, and thanks to social media--the revolution that brought democratic principals to the globe--it helps spread it like a virus.

As a result the United States is more divided now than at any other time in it's history--and we actually fought a civil war at one point.  I'd even argue that the fight never really ended.  Yeah we abolished slavery, but freed slaves were still second class citizens.  Even after Blacks were given rights by law, they weren't afforded them in practice.  Women were treated unequally even after the Civil Rights movement.  Racism is still alive and well in this country; the targets are just more diverse.  But it doesn't just stop with race and gender.

Our nation is divided on issues that are personal matters (and in some cases personal choices) that are really no one's business.  Race and gender are issues beyond our control.  You're born that way.  But where I buy a friggin chicken sandwich and what my personal beliefs are shouldn't be media fodder.  And if my thoughts and feelings on either issue are unimportant so are anyone else's no matter their fame or position.  These things just don't matter.

Now people want to legislate what they believe and make it law.  We need to ban same sex marriage because its immoral.  Says who?  God?  I'd co-sign that sentiment...except we live in a country where God and matters of state are supposed to be separate.  If you can give me some rational basis that any state or government has to ban ANYONE from marrying who the hell they please then by all means provide it.  What interest does the State have in any of your personal choices (aside from possession/use of drugs)?  Its like the ban on fois gois (sp).  The State can't MAKE people make kosher choices in food.  What makes people think the state can dictate who you can marry?

Furthermore, the state can't then force a private owned business out because the CEO (not even the owner/operator) runs his company based on religious principals.  Private organizations can do that.  The State cannot.  That's the difference.  While this private company is a business that is one of public access (i.e. it can't discriminate), that isn't even the allegation in play here.  No one has said "Chick-fil-a will deny access or employment to anyone lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered."  First of all, HOW WOULD THEY KNOW???  Yes some are obvious.  But really, being gay is NOT the same as being say Latino or Asian--you can SEE that someone is Latino or Asian.  Did anyone know Teddy Pendergrass was on the down-low?  NO--at least not until he got in that car accident while getting a hummer from a transvestite prostitute.  But you knew Teddy P was Black.

With Facebook and Twitter blowing up over such issues, they suddenly become newsworthy--to the point that now our news outlets report on them.  HOW IS THIS SHIT NEWS??  What difference does it make what anyone who does not have a direct effect on the personal lives of the citizenry believes personally???  Does it matter what President Obama thinks?  Sure to a degree.  What really matters is what our collective legislatures think, and they'll think whatever the majority wants them to in order to get elected.  But what the majority thinks about personal issues like these SHOULDN'T MATTER.  Because once the state has enough of an interest in my personal life to start to legislate it, freedom goes out the window.  Bet you lack of "freedom" will unify some folks.  It worked so well in the 1860s.

Your highness in waiting,


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