When did America become such a wimp as a nation? Growing up, this country was supposed to be the honest cowboy ala John Wayne, Roy Rogers and Matt Dillon. It was the country immortalized by Jimmy Stewart in both Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It’s a Wonderful Life. America was the country where the news media didn’t fully understand Malcolm X, yet it was willing to sit down and interview him and allow him to speak openly and freely.
America was the country that we saw in those movies at school with the farmer plowing the fields and planting acre after acre of corn, wheat and barley. We were told that America feeds the world and believed it. This is the country that invented so much that the list was endless. Technology was America’s birthright and she proved it, invention after invention.
America’s past hasn’t always been a bed of roses. Scenes of water hoses being turned on civil rights protesters in the 1960s are embedded in my mind. George Wallace the former governor of Alabama standing on the front steps of the University of Alabama and saying he wasn’t going to let black folks in is indelibly etched in my mind. And when Dr. King was murdered, I can see the witnesses all pointing in the direction from which the gunfire came.
In many ways, America is a much better country than when those images I described were first formed. But along the beaten path to becoming a better country socially, we have lost our nationalistic pride. What once were the ingredients that made us a vegetable soup has become a stew so thick with self-serving gravy that each part of the mixture can never touch the other part. Worst is the fact that those who do partake of the stew enjoy it that way. The potatoes have one side, the peas the other while the meat sits in the middle, oblivious to everything.
Why am I seeing this country as such a wuss? Part of it has to do with watching the drama unfold center stage. For example, the current debacle in Washington over increasing the “debt ceiling.” Every time a radio hosts mentions how many times the ceiling was increased under the George W. Bush administration, I like to counter with a question asking why the Democrats never challenged Bush the way the Republicans are challenging Obama. When one gets beaten at their own game, stand up and take it, then figure out a way to fight back. Or we can just sit back and complain. The Democrats have proven themselves to be experts at the latter.
Our news media has morphed into major wimps. Just this week, 13-year-old Jimmell Cannon was shot by the police. The media found his photo on Facebook where he is seen throwing up gang signs, yet the reporting has been as if the kid were attacked for no reason. Yes, there are cases where the police are wrong, but all indications for this one is that young Jimmell was a wannabee who has now suffered the reality that the police have real bullets and can shoot to kill as well as maim. Why is the news afraid to report on the real story? Why are reporters not asking follow-up questions to get to the bottom of an issue, as opposed to going for the fluff?
Why is it that no one likes to have an honest discourse? Many Americans have become so wimpy on certain subjects that they are shut down by certain adjectives bandied about. Those are the words people use when they don’t want to hold an honest discussion on the subject. If one doesn’t support gay marriage, then the person is immediately labeled a homophobe. If the subject is illegal immigration and you don’t support immigration reform, then you are racist. On and on it goes.
As always, be sure to listen to the Garfield Major Show every Sunday night from 10 until midnight on WRLL 1450AM. We’ll be talking more about the wimping down/dumbing down of America.