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The Divided States of America

Be a Good Patriot & Mind Your Own Business

By Terry OsterhoutPublished 7 years ago 6 min read

Everything wrong with the world right now stems from people not minding their own business and focusing on their own lives, and trying to control others.

I am very comfortable stating that I think Donald Trump is the least qualified, most mentally unstable individual we have ever had as President. I don’t think a leader should operate and communicate on the same level as a child, and I expect their intellectual capacity to be much higher than my own (which doesn’t require much). I think he has become the ringleader to some very ugly and un-American behavior and actions.

The United States of America (which I now call the Divided States of America), was built on the promise of freedom and diversity, but the struggle to ensure that dream be available to all has been a rocky road for far too many.

Our system is broken, but perhaps that is a good thing, and will inspire a new era in American politics.

We should all be fed up and sick to death of a culture where someone asserts they are more moral than their neighbor, and that everyone should live like they do (when in fact they are usually the least morally grounded).

Abortion rights, Equality issues, Women’s rights, and Freedom of Speech issues shouldn't even be debated at this point, but like some sick broken record of your least favorite song, we are stuck on repeat and it is keeping us from being a progressive nation.

The harder the Right pushes religion on the people, the more people are going to get fed up with it. (I defend freedom of religion and freedom from religion equally.) I don’t want my public figures and politicians using their religion to create laws and bully. Church and State should be forever separate and this is not debatable either. This is not a theocracy.

I used to be a proud liberal, but now I am a liberal who thinks other liberals are going too far and fucking up our progressive trajectory. I find the Left as exhausting as the Right at this point because there is no unity of ideas in the movement. Never mind Right Vs Left, these days there is so much fighting among those we supposedly agree with that we seem to be at a stalemate indefinitely. If we don’t lighten up, live and let live, and stop judging and condemning each other every single time we make a human mistake or do something natural that is considered offensive to someone else, we are lost.

No one can say or do anything anymore without a chorus of Social Justice Warriors rising up to remind them that, by degrees, they are wrong, insensitive and offensive. No matter how sensible someone is, there is now a constant opposing view that erupts out of nowhere and it seems to be a knee-jerk contrarian desire to oppose.

Alternative “facts” rule the day, and science and reason aren’t as important to the average American, as long as those foreigners don’t settle in our country and the gays don’t marry, and the hippies don’t smoke the marijuana and run naked through the fields. WTF!?! Seriously, it feels like we just rebooted to the 60’s and we have to fight all over again for our basic social rights (don’t even get me started on the environment.)

People keep talking about the threat of another Civil War in this country (though our current President doesn’t even seem to understand what happened with the first Civil War) but a cultural Civil War has been raging for some time, leaving our country’s citizens so busy fighting each other about who can use what bathroom, that the powers that be must be marveling at how easily distracted and manipulated we can be.

It should be as simple as saying “don’t be awful to each other” but economics play a larger role and if people are struggling and suffering, it is much more difficult to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and rebuild your life. The basic, sad truth in the United States is that too many people are born into circumstances that offer very few options and little hope for “the American Dream.”

There are far too many people in power with no regard or respect for people unlike themselves. There is a painful lack of empathy from those in public positions who create policies for people they don’t understand and if we stop walking in each other’s shoes and imagining or experiencing life outside of our own comfort zones, we stop evolving.

We are better than the racists, the greedy, the power hungry. We have come too far to turn back, and we have too much to lose by pretending the progress we have made doesn’t matter.

If you can’t understand or appreciate things that are different from you and your way of thinking, at least have the courtesy to mind your own business then. We always talk about bullies and the threat they pose to our children, but I see more adult bullies these days, and it isn't a surprise where the children pick it up.

My America is a place where any unrelated adult in love can get married, marijuana is legal and the source of great economic growth and benefits to every state, art and literature are celebrated and supported, we celebrate diversity and learn from our neighbors and the cultures across the globe. My America is a place where we stop and think before we speak and act, and we care about our fellow citizen, whether we agree with them or not, because we are neighbors in a community that is part of a global community, and the health of our world relies on our respect and care for each other.

I might be naive and wildly optimistic, but as a parent, I cannot give up hope on the idea of peace as a principle for living. What kind of world I leave behind matters because I don’t just care about the planet and the creatures that inhabit it while I am alive, I care about the legacy of our civilization and the future of the generations who deserve to enjoy the freedoms we all have.

Finally, of course it is hard work to compromise and meet in the middle on things. It is hard work to try and understand your enemy or the people who represent everything you stand against, but it is our responsibility to not be lazy when it comes to decency.

Genuine patriotism comes from doing what you can to build up your country for everyone, not just for those who agree with you and your values.

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About the Creator

Terry Osterhout

Photographer, Visual-Artist and Writer. Defender of Free Speech & Expression. Married to Model, Writer & YouTuber Liz La Point. Follow me on Twitter @terry2070

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