By Brandon Hansen/Brandon is the managing editor of the Chewelah Independent and a graduate of Eastern Washington University. If you’d like to send Brandon a Letter to the Editor, shoot him an email at email@example.com.
A close family member of mine (whom I won’t name in this article because he’s our household’s prime supplier of homegrown beef so you most definitely don’t bite the hand that feeds you) recently brought up a past column that talked about Colin Kaepernick’s actions during the national anthem.
“What people don’t understand is that flag and anthem still mean a lot to a lot of people,” he said. “After the second world war, we could have taken everything over and we didn’t.”
We had a calm, measured, intelligent conversation about a hot topic that two talking heads on television would usually yell at one another over. His point, and I hope I’m explaining this right, is the reason people are so upset is because our flag and anthem are representative of a country that people still think is pretty great.
He’s absolutely correct too. The United States after WW2 was the only one with nuclear weapons, had it’s infrastructure unaffected by the war and was basically the economic super power of the planet. Had this country been more Stalin-minded, it would had been very easy to be literal kings of most of the known world. Instead the country pumped Western Europe with money and helped rebuild a shattered continent.
“People looked to us from around the world because we did that, we didn’t just try and take it over,” the family member said.
Again, very right. Compare soviet-influenced areas of the globe and US-influenced areas of the globe… and well, get back to me on which areas you would have wanted to live. They built the Berlin Wall to keep people from leaving Eastern Berlin not the other way around.
With our election right around the corner, this country needs a hug. Everybody needs a hug. We turn on our TVs and see entire demographics being labeled as this or that, political discussion has turned to talk of violence and it’s one reality vs. the other reality. People just go to the news source that tells them what they want to hear.
What I’m getting tired of is the constant theme that we’re not great anymore. Really? We’ve had hundreds of years of peaceful power exchanges between administrations, our quality of life is still miles ahead of most on the globe, we’re still a combination of cultures, peoples and viewpoints. We can freely speak of these viewpoints as well.
But what has happened is nobody is willing to budge anymore.
If you’re at a business, you wouldn’t last very long if you acted like everything had to be done exactly your way. Mini-compromises are made by people in everyday life. That’s not happening in today’s political climate. It’s this side is the devil and that side is crazy. We’re fed a special diet of fear, internet memes, outrage, pointless banter and nothing reaching the real substance of the matter.
But despite how contentious things are, we’ll still be voting on Nov. 8. There are plenty of places on the planet that can’t say that. Regardless of who you’re voting for, I’d ask people to maybe talk to somebody with a different viewpoint – courteously, look outside the box and attempt to grasp the other side and don’t get violent if an election doesn’t go your way.
Our country is still great, that flag and anthem do still mean a lot of things. If we continue to buy into the fear and hate, however, that simply won’t be the case anymore.