He said, "You need to calm down."
He was lecturing me about my activism, my writing and speaking about the threat that I perceive to the American way of life and the world we are leaving to our children. He was suggesting I was putting my marriage, and even my life, at risk by articulating my concerns about the direction of our country and our culture.
I value input from friends and neighbors and people with opposing points of view. I try to listen to their position, and not over-react or dismiss them out of hand. I realize we all have different histories, upbringing, and experiences, so it would be foolish to think we should all think alike.
But, as I always have, when I look at the politics of the moment, I try to place the news of the day into a cul-de-sac microcosm. It makes world and national events a little less intimidating if we look at them as though they were occurring on our street, between our neighbors. So when he said, "Be very careful what you say," I was outraged!
Don't you get it? Isn't that sort of intimidation precisely what is wrong with our current state of affairs? The idea that as Americans, we have to be concerned about expressing ourselves politically is abhorrent to my sense of freedom. That is like my neighbor coming over and telling me I should take down my American flag because it annoys him.
That kind of fear and intimidation is not new to the American spirit. It is reminiscent of victims of the Cold War, the threat of Imperial Japan, of Nazi Supremacists, of Communism, of Fascism and it has no place in our culture.
What is new is the idea that we should capitulate to it.
And the fact that we are even having this conversation is why I am compelled to speak out, to try to raise awareness and maybe, change some minds. So excuse me if I choose to exercise my Americanism.
I am not the one smashing windows and destroying private property. I am not the one burning American flags, impugning military service members and attacking police officers. I am not giving away tax dollars to provide healthcare for illegal immigrants, while our veterans wait for months for the healthcare rights they risked their lives to earn.
We are all experiencing a continuous erosion of our liberty. We all have to submit to body searches when attending sporting events and concerts, or when traveling. We must supply our private health and economic data to authorities when applying for a job, or to acquire a passport. We all have to maintain an enormous wall of security around our digital footprint. We are driving on roads that have been neglected, partly because the funds for repairs have been diverted to pay for schools that are overcrowded by non American students who have to be given special treatment because they do not speak English.
Now, we all have to give serious consideration to the safety of vacationing in Mexico, or traveling to many foreign countries, to attending large public gatherings, or especially political rallies.
The existential threat of being kidnapped, beaten or killed in a terrorist event is not just a one-in-million chance. We are being intimidated and our liberty is being limited every single day. And the problem gets worse by the hour.
So I would say, "You need to calm up!"
We can choose to live out the life that we have enjoyed for six or seven decades. We have been living in the Golden Age of the World. Our generation has enjoyed extreme levels of peace and tranquility, relatively speaking, and we have enjoyed extreme financial expansion of wealth and comfort. It would be easy to just look the other way and say, "I am done. I don't have a dog in this fight."
Fine, but isn't that a little selfish? What about your children and your grandchildren? Are you OK with just tossing them under the bus of the World Wide Caliphate, the war on our lifestyle, the war that we are currently fighting with our eyes closed and both arms tied behind our back? The war that we are losing?
I am just trying to wake you up from your Golden Slumber. If I am at risk because of it, that is, in my view, a paltry price to pay when I look at the sacrifices that many of my American brothers and sisters have made and are making for the very same cause.
If you look around the globe and compare cultures, is there one you would choose to live under that is more generous, more equitable, more inclusive, more socially tolerant, more harmonious than our unique American way? Do you see than decay that our community spirit has suffered in our lifetime?
I am more concerned about Cultural Change than Climate Change.
Remember those people who jumped from 100 stories up just before the collapse of the World Trade Center towers?
Yeh, those people. If they could speak from their grave, do you think they would appreciate what I am doing, or would they tell me to 'calm down'?