Last month, this nation celebrated its 243rd birthday. In this area and elsewhere, there were the usual fireworks, barbecues and boating, as the attitude of most of the participants were more patriotic than usual, if only for a day.
Afterward, the usual incessant political machinations and posturing for the cameras quickly cranked up again, as so-called “leaders” expectorated their sanctimonious and selective outrage about issues that had the potential to boost their individual power and/or poll standings.
What’s more, many tweets, interviews and other public statements by politicians from the president on down continued to exhibit an utter lack of class and/or comprehensibility.
One phenomenon/concept that has evolved in recent times is something called “white privilege,” which by its very name is immediately suspect as some kind of convenient totem of blame or collective guilt.
An obvious exemplar — mainly because he has reportedly associated himself with that term in a self-righteous admission of blameworthiness — is presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, a Texas politician who lost a U.S. Senate race a while back.
O’Rourke, whose on-camera gesticulations make him look like a frustrated mime, is one of several flavor-of-the-month candidates who are now fading, if polls and media sources are to be believed.
What’s more, it seems like the term “white privilege” is often treated like a political domino of sorts, dubiously toppling into more incendiary words like “white supremacy” or “racism.”
The phrase “America, Love It or Leave It” has also popped up into public view once again as a reaction to such revisionist history and invective. The current use of the phrase is being criticized from some sources as racist.
No one seems to want to acknowledge a straightforward historical fact — this nation was founded by Caucasian males who were of English lineage. The Founding Fathers meticulously crafted America’s unique and ultimately successful system of governance that, while imperfect, has been evolving in the right direction for the most part ever since its inception (slavery, women’s right to vote, etc.).
However, there have been recent rumblings advocating the demolition of statues and other sites — even Mount Rushmore and the Jefferson Memorial — because facets of those individuals’ history doesn’t conform to so-called modern-day standards in America. The so-called rationale that usually gets cited avers Thomas Jefferson owned slaves.
However, if the destruction of such landmarks was to happen, what would be the guidelines and who would set them?
Here’s another modern phenomenon: As noted here before, celebrities from the sports and entertainment fields have a disproportionate influence on contemporary American society. Or do they?
Again, let’s affirm the right of all Americans to address all sides of potentially controversial issues in an honest and hopefully thorough manner. Even if we don’t agree with certain opinions, it’s free speech.
Such rights of expression also apply to marketing and advertisements by major businesses or their declinations to sell certain items.
The definitive recent example is, of course, Nike’s decision not to market shoes emblazoned with an image of the historical Betsy Ross flag. For a lot of folks, including some residents of this community, such a move seems to come across as a little south of sanity.
Conversations with a number of folks around Tallassee indicate some of them are boycotting Nike products because of that company’s recent socio-political machinations. It won’t make much of a dent to the Nike enterprise but it’s the right of consumers to address a particular controversy via their wallets.
Considering how things have turned out after almost 2½ centuries, this country — historical warts, current warts and all — is still the best option on the planet. One wishes more people would acknowledge their gratitude for being American citizens.
UPDATE: In last week’s column, I noted eight Air Force enlisted persons had been awarded the Air Force Cross and were then upgraded to the Congressional Medal of Honor. In fact, three of the eight were upgraded from the Air Force Cross and the other five were awarded their Medals of Honor outright. I am pleased to make this distinction.