“A Republic, if you can keep it” – Benjamin Franklin
It finally happened.
Townhalls may never be the same.
There were lots of nice words spoken by Senators appearing in bipartisan press conferences. Not so on Twitter.
140 characters do not lend themselves to nuanced discussion.
And are we all that surprised? Plays that stage and restage the assassination of our nation’s President. Small-minded comics who look to ISIS for inspiration.
What distance we have traversed from rational discourse. We dialogue now in opinions. Quick, broken conversations. News soundbites. Tweets. Statements.
But the underlying problem is more complex.
Tweets didn’t create the problem. President Trump didn’t create the problem. The press didn’t create the problem. Obama didn’t create the problem. The shooter didn’t create the problem.
They revealed it.
The left had been emboldened with ever increasing success – so used to getting their way, they forgot about the majority of Americans. Worse yet, the Left began to assume their ideals represented all Americans. That everyone else had either converted or died off. And the media were more than complicit – they were the ringleaders.
The Left thought they had won the Culture Wars. Except they hadn’t. The opposition just went silent because they were tired of being immediately attacked and branded as fools.
Political Correctness. Same Thinking. Weaponized Compassion.
The Death of Discourse.
And then the unexpected happened. The Left found itself confronted with a real and unpredictable foe. Someone who asked those millions who had gone quiet to finally raise their voices and vote for change – real change – not an Obama slogan. Someone who was – quite literally – an Agent of Change. And millions of Americans found their voice again.
It’s why the Left lost the election. Silence is not always acquiescence.
Suddenly, the Left found their progress not only halted – but threatened by reversal. They didn’t expect it, they didn’t see it coming. And they didn’t like it.
Liberals did not go silent – they already had their voice in the media – and they used it. They looked for tactics of invalidation – they invented an entire conspiracy with Russia. (I am convinced our grandchildren will laugh at us)
But the right had found its voice once again – and had learned the painful lessons from silence. Once risen they would not be shouted back down.
And people began to see things they had not seen clearly before.
Everyone knew the press was biased – but they didn’t realize how biased. The press was not about factual reporting. It was actually a finely-tuned propaganda machine.
Everyone knew Washington was corrupt – but they didn’t realize how corrupt. The Deep-State was real – and dangerous when threatened.
Everyone knew Hollywood was liberal – but not how liberal. A place obsessed by money would sacrifice that goal if necessary – in order to push an agenda.
Conservatives knew the Left wanted to reshape America – but not to what degree. The edge towards Socialism had became a shove.
Once seen, some things cannot be unseen.
And the lines were laid down. Lines that, in reality, had been there for decades but were hard to discern amongst the shadows. Now they were revealed in their starkness. And the grey middle ground suddenly became much smaller and less defined.
This country has experienced far more turbulent times. Look no further than the Civil War which nearly proved ruinous for our country – a time so poisoned and divisive it seemed we might never recover. Even the late-1960s signified a potentially more turbulent period than what we are enduring – although for differing reasons.
But that doesn’t mean we are not involved in a struggle. Our Constitution is under attack. Our Country is under attack. But this time – unlike the last twenty-five years – the attack is seen. Americans are finally beginning to realize what is fully at stake. On both sides.
One of the biggest mistakes made by conservatives was in not seeing the true, underlying value in the newspapers of our nation. Jeff Bezos saw it when he bought the Washington Post. The value came not from its subscriber base. Its value came in reach and influence. The ability to control the public discussion with authority and purpose. The ability to mold and formulate the presentation – to dictate what Americans would be given as facts.
The ability to shape perception.
Like it or not, we are fulfilling that ancient Chinese curse – may you live in interesting times. Events and issues have risen to a head. Which is shocking when one thinks how close another Clinton came to gaining the presidency. Our Supreme Court would have been lost for generations – possibly for good. And our Constitution transformed.
Instead, we have come to turning point. There is a chance for our great nation to reclaim much of what has been lost to complacency. But the road will not be easy nor will it be short.
A Culture War is too simple a term for what is transpiring.
This is a struggle for the Soul of our Nation.
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