A lot of Americans feel uneasy about where our country is headed. Some even claim we’re steering over a cliff. It’s understandable in some cases why folks feel this way, but before we throw in the towel, we need to remember one thing: the 1960s.
CNN has been airing an impressive TV series called “The Sixties.” The first installment was about how TV came alive in that decade. Another installment was about the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The last one was about President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The next one, coming next week is about Vietnam. Others will surely cover civil rights and war protests.
What’s obvious is that today’s America is magnitudes better than what we faced in the ‘60s. In retrospect, it’s a wonder our country survived those bitter days, with so much violence and turmoil in our cities and towns. Hardly anywhere was unaffected.
Somehow our country stood through it, because we are tougher people than some give us credit for anymore. We overcame differences then, and we can again now, if enough people just see why we must.
Our country is divided politically like never before. There can’t seem to be any moderation or negotiation. It’s a sign of weakness to too many to compromise on anything. They must have their way, and not consider or accept an alternative.
We see this in Washington, D.C., but we also see it on our regular lives, where no one can seem to debate an issue without it becoming mean and vindictive. Nasty names are lobbed like hand grenades, thinking that somehow wins an argument. It doesn’t. All it does is show that someone with no evidence or legitimate facts, or ability to support his or her case, resorts to name-calling instead. It illuminates ignorance.
There was plenty of ignorance in the 1960s as well. Racism was the best example of it, but there were plenty of others as well. Blaming soldiers coming home from fighting a nasty war was just as idiotic. Somehow, though, a majority of American people could see the truth through the madness.
Are we able to do that today? Of course we can, but people must critically think for themselves and not be swayed by yammering, partisan talk show hosts and internet sites that only spew what a person wants to hear. It requires work to think critically rather than just buying in to someone else’s rhetoric.
Can we do that? Yes. Will we? We better.