Anyone listening anymore?
The Tuesday Gazette “Dilbert” comic strip well portrayed today’s cultural dilemma.
Question: “What rational process do you use to determine who is right?”
Answer: “I label people who disagree with me ‘idiots’ and call it a day.”
Legitimate questions about policing, policy, education, racism and myriad other concerns deserve thoughtful public debate and action. But it seems rancor and outrage have replaced reason and rationality. To disagree is to be branded, persecuted and worse. Hence, many (most?) of the reasoned and rational remain silent.
The horrible events which have brought us to this inflection point represent an opportunity — if the different parties to the discussion can stop yelling and start listening to one another. At least it would give us a chance at common understanding and constructive change beyond knee jerk reactions, better optics, and old solutions which have not worked very well. Absent that, Dilbert’s characterization of us as “idiots” would seem very appropriate.
Take a long, hard look
We’ve been hearing a lot about our revered statues coming under attack and being defaced and toppled all across the country. People are saying we are losing our history when this happens. Guess what? You are right. We are. And it’s a shameful disgusting history that doesn’t need to be a visible, daily reminder of our oppression and dominance over groups of people we have mistreated for years to get to the top. There will be history books we can refer back to rather than seeing the statues — although as we know most are whitewashed to paint us in the best light possible because our egos are so fragile we cannot remember, or believe, or want to believe, that we are the bad guys in all this. To everyone who says — it wasn’t me it was our ancestors — you are right. 100%. And by defending those statues you are aligning yourselves with your ancestors. So instead of the knee-jerk reaction that is – “Oh my statues are falling how terrible” — try to walk in a Native American’s shoes. Or a black person’s shoes. Or those of the countless other minorities we have treated so terribly over the centuries. If you were any color but white and had to see those statues and what they truly represent (hatred, oppression, torture, death, inequality) on a daily basis, then maybe, just maybe, you might understand why they need to come down.
Now I understand that this is painful. We’ve been lied to for decades if not centuries. We’ve been told a truth that has been bent and twisted to make us feel better about ourselves and validate the actions of our forebears — it’s been done to assuage our humanity that what we did really wasn’t that bad. I mean, the Native Americans were savages right? We invaded their land and they had the audacity to fight for it. Here in Colorado if someone invades your house you have the right to fight for it — does that make you a savage? The black people were kidnapped, enslaved and sold to white people because we couldn’t make our new land prosperous without help. I mean heaven forbid we do the work ourselves. So when the black people fought back we were outraged. And they’ve been fighting back for centuries. And yet we are still outraged. We took them from a horrible existence in their homeland and provided them with such an amazing life here, why on Earth would they be anything but grateful for our interference? Give me a break.
So yes. Be angry. Be upset. Be frustrated. We’ve been brought up to believe lie upon lie upon lie to justify our horrific actions. That’s the sign of a weak and insecure people. I am tired of having been lied to, and tired of having believed those lies because that was what we were taught, and I refuse to live with the rose colored glasses anymore. History doesn’t have to be pretty but it has to be remembered accurately to not be repeated. So ask yourselves the question — should we lose our statues? And if you say no, then perhaps take a long, hard look at what you believe and why.
If government would act responsibly
Here we go again. The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles is increasing our license fees by 10% because the COVID-19 induced closures of DMV offices and halted some of the normal revenue collection. Where were the cost savings associated with the office closures? Did the state officials responsible for managing the budgets even consider expenditure reductions during this time…or did they simply decide to once again reach out to the “taxpayer,” or should I say “feepayer” and ask for more money. Did the state officials even consider that the feepayers were also impacted by how COVID-19 impacted incomes when implementing this new fee increase? Gov. Jared Polis has done nothing to reduce the cost of state government. The time has come where much like TABOR, we need better controls on how fees are implemented and increased. Hopefully, the next legislative session will address this concern and place a measure on the ballot either amending TABOR to include fees or implementing a new law to require voter approval. This would not be necessary if government would act responsibly to exercise the same kind of budget and expenditure controls that the private sector was forced to do with the recent pandemic.
Who is the loser here?
I seem to remember Donald Trump accusing John McCain of being a loser, his words were “I don’t call anyone a hero when they are captured”, despite McCain’s meritorious military service and many years in the Hanoi Hilton. This president who now vociferously defends the removal of Confederate generals etc. memorials, who were not only “losers” but traitors, this same man, dodged the draft with several college deferments, a phony bone spur diagnosis from his father’s podiatrist.
So who is the loser here and who is the hero?