Commentary

Why Can Americans No Longer Agree to Disagree?

Charlie Daniels
By Charlie Daniels | December 28, 2015 | 11:36 AM EST

Social media (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In all my years, living through good times and bad, war, recession, periods of great advancement, social upheaval, the eradication of catastrophic diseases and the myriad of forward leaps and backward slides in this United States of America, I have never seen a time when our population was on such adversarial footing.

The problem is not just disagreement, that always has and always will exist, but it seems that in the past we were always able to find some common ground, with reasonable people on each side of an issue. Through civil discourse, and give and take, negotiations found a path both sides could live with.

I think our forefathers designed our government to make it possible for both sides of an issue to be heard, but look how far that concept has fallen, with congressional leaders not even allowing legislation they disagree with to even get to the floor for debate.

It seems, today, instead of engaging in two-sided conversations and attempts to understand each other, we tend to label and lump all those who disagree with us into categories we consider to be mentally inferior to us, considering anything they say to be out of step, off the wall or just plain stupid.

For instance, if you let it be known that you don't go along with the global warming theories, you are labeled a mental Neanderthal, unable to understand the catastrophic threat to the planet, and even though, for the last century, the apologists have vacillated between devastating heat and ice age and neither have transpired, you are considered to be a flat earth type doofus.

People from both sides of the liberal-conservative issue will resort to rancid hyperbole and insulting name-calling before they even learn each other's names, raising tempers to the point that any sensible discussion is all but impossible.

People who consider themselves our intellectual betters, those who spout ideological condescension and know beyond a shadow of a doubt what is good for us, rarely have the foresight to consider what the ramifications of their actions would be, and they consider it an insult to their superior intellect when called on it.

Then there are those who use the word "racist" to describe anyone with the nerve to criticize President Obama or believe that "all lives matter."

If you consider an unborn fetus to be a person, especially if you are a man, you are quickly told that what a woman does with her body falls under a "woman's right to choose." It’s a category that supersedes all others governing natal matters, something that is none of a man's business.

Poor me, I was unaware that a woman could become in a “family way” without the participation of a male.

The Republican presidential debates this year, especially the ones hosted by CNN, at least in my opinion, have been more incendiary than informative. The moderators have plumbed the ignition points and tried to pit candidate against candidate, resulting in petty arguments about who did what, when and to whom, each candidate trying to one up the other in exposing past mistakes and present faults. Meanwhile, the audience is left wondering if either one is worth voting for.

I don't really know what has lead to this attitude of prejudging someone and labeling their ideas irrelevant and contrary before even a word is said, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the nova explosion of social media could claim a lion's share of the blame.

Being able to hide behind an avatar and say basically anything you want to without even having to reveal your true identity or whereabouts emboldens even the faint of heart to say things they would never say to someone's face.

And you can find plenty of sides to choose and plenty of examples to follow if you're not the kind of person who thinks for themselves. So many people fall into this trap, faithfully repeating what they have heard, never mind checking the validity. They lead the conversation with slights and insults and never even get past the verbal garbage to meaningful dialogue about whatever the subject was in the first place.

It has digressed to the point that so many people are able to tell you that you're an idiot, racist, backward-thinking, bigoted misogynist, but for the life of them, they can't tell you why they feel that way.

Preconditioned ideas, without reason, are a dangerous thing.

What do you think?

Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem

God Bless America

Charlie Daniels

Charlie Daniels is a legendary American singer, song writer, guitarist, and fiddler famous for his contributions to country and southern rock music. Daniels has been active as a singer since the early 1950s. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on January 24, 2008.

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