Monthly Archives: February 2017

What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love & Understanding?

This BitesIn surveying the myriad assaults on freedom of speech and thought, there appears to be a unifying culprit: Groupthink. Borrowing from George Orwell’s 1984, the principle is simply that enormous pressure within a particular group or political party stifles independent thinking or alternative viewpoints.

One of the most honorable aspects of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is that the organization will defend the right for individuals and groups to speak their minds — regardless of how abhorrent they may be (i.e., the KKK).  This basic freedom is under assault from all quarters.

The left and right and media continue their march to the extreme fringes of discourse. They are all complicit in this disgusting trend, which feeds off controversy, fear, emotion, hyperbole, the demise of civility and power of social media. The results are as shameful as they are sickening:

  • In the nation’s capital, Sen. Elizabeth Warren if yanked off the floor for reading a statement by widow of Martin Luther King.
  • Last week in Sacramento, the Democrats did the same thing by removing Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) as she sought to deliver a speech criticizing the late Tom Hayden for his anti-war activities.
  • Panel discussions on both CNN and Fox News are nothing but forums for bias and shouting under the guise of journalism.
  • President Trump bans news outlets from news briefings in retaliation for unfavorable coverage.
  • Universities – including UC Berkeley (birthplace of the free speech movement) cancel speeches from controversial figures.
  • Protestors disrupt town halls with no intention of finding common ground.

What is happening, America?

We have become a state and nation of thin-skinned people who already have their minds made up in lockstep with their peer groups and according to their respective Groupthink labels. In this type of environment, anyone holding a different view is public enemy number one and a target for attack.

This is especially damaging to moderates, who often find themselves in a no-man’s-land that seeks to balance and find   valid elements of opposing views in an effort to reach consensus or compromise. One would think this approach would prevail because most people want solutions. Yet extreme Groupthink drowns it all out. This reality only confirms the adage that the only things in lying in the middle of the road are dead.peace-love

Enough with the labeling. Enough with the intolerance. Enough with hate.

About the only silver bullet the Blue Dog can come up with is to change our national anthem to Nick Lowe’s “(What’s so Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?” as performed by Elvis Costello.

Since this song was written by a Brit, maybe everyone can agree to this. Go ahead and laugh. Got any better ideas?

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under California Legislature, Congress, Donald Trump, Freedom of Speech, Journalism, Media, Politics

Immigrants Make America Great

dog_withboneWhile a lot of protests taking place these days appear more destructive than constructive, it is hard to argue with  today’s “A Day without Immigrants” boycott, which underscores the tremendous role immigrants play throughout our economy and daily lives.170213-milwaukee-protest-immigration-ok-1629_5619dc2b4f55c921746c3ba87f26f47f-nbcnews-ux-2880-1000

Certainly, convicted felons should be deported. And we need to secure borders like every other country in theworld. But  the vast majority of immigrants in California and throughout the United States are vital to our economy and are decent, hardworking people who simply want a better life for their families. If every immigrant or undocumented magically disappeared from our society, the nation would grind to a halt. Period.

Many immigrants are professionals. They are engineers who write the software we use on our computers and phones. They are doctors and nurses who provide medical assistance to our families. They work in government, education and social services. Immigrants also do the essential jobs most Americans shun. They clean our hotel rooms. They harvest the food we eat. They wash dishes in the restaurants where we dine. They mow our lawns. They build our homes. After Hurricane Katrina, it was immigrant labor that rebuilt New Orleans. The list goes on. It would be interesting to see what kind of impact today’s boycott had on President Trump’s resorts.

Let’s be clear: most immigrants are law abiding people who are productive and pay their taxes. They need to be appreciated, valued, protected and appreciated as integral to the fabric of American society. Today’s boycott reminds us that immigrants in fact are Americans. They should not be vilified. Rather, they deserve our respect every day of the year — not just today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Donald Trump, Immigrants, Politics