When Was America Great?

I just finished a fantastic book called “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.

I learned many things but one thing stood out above the rest:

“The hedgehog concept”

The idea is simple, in order to achieve business success you must have one central idea that all your other ideas, thoughts, and most importantly actions come back to.

Before I go any further, I want everyone reading this to take a deep breath in and let it out, because for the first time in the history of nonamesnonumbers.com I feel as though I have to write about something I emphatically hate- politics.

I hate politics because it holds underlying beliefs of:

“It’s us vs. them”

“These are the ideas of the group and if any of your own individual beliefs stray from them you will be punished or worse- ridiculed”

Let me pull a fast one on all these idiots and rise to a position of power”

The 45th President of the United States won the previous election with a slogan we have heard so many times that you’re probably already thinking it in your head as I write this:

“Make America Great Again”

It’s simple, it’s easy to understand, it’s empowering! Right? What a great idea for it to be the hedgehog concept of our president.

I’d say it has a “Gee, I really liked the good old days of the past” vibe attached to it.

So why don’t we peel back the curtain and take a little peak at when our country was so GREAT? I know history tends to bore people with things like statistics, maps, and impeding thoughts of “Why does all this stuff that happened in the past matter when I can be on Instagram looking at what people I barely even know are doing in their lives right now?”

But I’m gonna try my best to keep your attention.

I have realized that one thing that captures the attention of my fellow Americans is bits. So let’s play a little game I came up with called: “Was America Great When __________?”

Was America great when (and don’t forget to sing in tune like they teach you in elementary school) “Colombus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred ninety two” and discovered America? 

Well Pat duh there’s a whole holiday for it every year! And to be honest? I love Colombus day! I usually go apple picking and if my sweet tooth is acting up I’ll even indulge in an apple cider donut or two- I know- I know- I’m bad! It was definitely great back then.

I’m not here to argue any points I’m simply here to fill in some- well- let’s call them gaps of information with regards to the history of our wonderful (and not to be forgotten) GREAT country.

I’ll start with a question- did it ever occur to you in school when you were being taught about the colonization of America (Land of the free- home of the brave!) that it wasn’t a barren landscape with nothing but a few critters scurrying around? That there might have been- oh I don’t know-

Other humans already living there. 

Those other humans– which for some reason I feel compelled to remind you are no biologically different from any of us now- died in masses.

The estimates go up to 100 million people. 

I beg you not to look at that number and immediately start rationalizing with thoughts like:

“But most of them died from disease!”

“But there’s no way it could’ve been 100 million people”

Well- uh- well what do you know! I liked it better when you just wrote about football”

I know this is a harsh reality for you to confront because for a long time I myself tried not to. I tried to be indifferent. I tried not to care. But I realize now that is no longer an option.

In summary of this harsh truth:

  1. We came in from another part of the world
  2. We decided that we liked this place
  3. We directly/indirectly killed almost an entire population of people.
  4. We claimed it as our place

Is this the greatness that our President refers to? Because if it is then why did he run on a campaign promise of building a wall to keep the people in our southern border’s country out? I thought we wanted to return this country to the principles that made it so GREAT! 

Was America Great When Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers were murdered before the age of 40?

Well Pat, there’s no need to be so blunt about it. Obviously those were tragic deaths that resulted out of the actions of a few lunatics. People kill people don’t you know that? America made a couple mistakes here and there I’ll admit it but I’d still say it was pretty great back then!

If I asked you to tell me what you knew from your education about the civil rights movement what would be the first thing to come to mind? I’ll put good money on one event above all others summed up with four powerful words:

“I have a dream.”

In terms of communication it is one of the best delivered speeches that has ever been recorded. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks powerfully, courageously, and creates an atmosphere that will send chills down your spine and make your arm hairs stick right up. I can only imagine the electricity he provided those in the crowd that day.

But one point remains- it was just a dream. And don’t take my word for it; take it from someone who was a little closer to the situation (21:24 is in regards to the “I have a dream speech” but I beg you to watch the whole clip)

What we think we know about today comes from our understanding of the past.

I used to think “But I know I’m not racist” until one day this summer when I was listening to a clip featuring the late great comedian Patrice O’Neal and he said something I will never forget:

“Everybody agrees racism exists- but I’ve never met a racist in my life. Why is that?”

Why is that.

If we’re being honest the reason white people don’t like to acknowledge these horrific pieces of our country’s history is because they think doing so would be an admission of guilt.

When did Pat turn into the poster child  for white guilt, lmao fuckin’ snowflake

For anyone who uses the term “white guilt” as an insult I would have to counter with one question:

“Why don’t you feel guilty?”

I ask that you think about it like this:

Our justice system is based off the assumption that for every criminal case there is a burden on the lawyers to lay out all the evidence to the jury so that they can then determine whether or not the defendant is guilty based off of what the evidence suggests.

If a prosecutor were hired to convict white people of creating institutional racism in America I like to think that they would lay out evidence such as:

-Founding their nation on the blood of millions of Native Americans

-Growing their nation’s wealth off the SLAVERY of African Americans for over 200 years

-Refusing to acknowledge some of the most disgusting acts of humanity ever committed such as PUBLIC LYNCHINGS that took place not even 100 years ago.

Image result for public lynching
Look at all the white people gathered in the town square to TAKE IN ALL THE FUN! (look closely at those faces)

Pat I know those were terrible I’m not a monster but the past is in the past! Can’t we just move on? It’s 2019 after all…

Image result for charlottesville riot pictures

 How quickly we seem to forget.

-Refusing to realize that no one moment- no matter how seemingly large or significant can solve a problem that has plagued America since day 1; racism.

Which brings me to my third and final question.

Was America Great When Obama was President?

Aha! I knew you were scared to mention the 44th President of the United States Mr. Barack Obama! Who I don’t know if you heard- is black! If all of this “The sky is falling!” philosophy is true then how can you explain how the single most powerful man in the country was black?

Again, I ask that you think differently than you normally would right now:

Have you ever noticed how most people hold political views that are very similar to their parents?

I have.

I thought long and hard about why that is and I came back to something I learned reading in a book (crazy concept I know) called hasty generalizations.

Hasty generalization? In English please?

A hasty generalization is simply the idea of applying a belief to a larger population than you should based on the evidence that you have.

For example:

“My neighbor blows their leaves onto my lawn therefore all neighbors must be selfish pricks”

“My father is a conservative and he’s a good guy therefore all conservatives must be good guys”

“The crazy person on Twitter is a liberal- therefore all crazy people are liberals”

I hope you can see that all of these examples show the idiocy of making hasty generalizations. Yes, your neighbor might be a selfish prick, but surely there must be a few good neighbors in our population of 300 million+. Yes, your father might be a good guy as well as being a conservative, but surely there has to be a bad egg in the 35% of our population who identify as conservative. Yes, there are definitely crazy liberals on Twitter but should they be viewed as the spokesperson for all liberal thinkers?

Of course not.

Yet people look at President Obama as the symbol of our overcoming of racism.

“Our President was black- therefore black people need to shut up and stop complaining about racism. If he can do it you can do it.”

We are supposed to believe that one man represents 40 million people.

Just one man; 40 million people.

You can look at the election of President Obama as a step in the right direction but you have to recognize that it was merely just that- a step.

People know Obama won but many don’t know that 59% of white people (a group that makes up 72% of our total population) voted against Obama in 2008 with some outrageously low percentages in certain southern states. Meanwhile, 73% of Asian people, 71% of Hispanic people, and 93% of African Americans voted for Obama and his hedgehog concept:

“Change we can believe in”

To hastily generalize would be to say “The numbers suggest America is racist- therefore America is racist”

We have just went over how that’s a lazy argument as a whole.

But how such an important question of whether or not that statement is true doesn’t provoke people’s desire for more evidence completely amazes and even more so- horrifies me.

One of my favorite quotes of all-time was said by former first lady of the United States Eleanor Roosevelt:

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people”

Think about that and then read it again.

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people”

And just one more time.

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people”

The dialogue that I feel encompassed by in our country right now is one that is rooted in a small minded question; what do you think about Trump? 

You want to know what putting your focus on this one man as the reason for why our country is becoming more divided does? It strokes the man’s ego that he can cause such a stir in people and more importantly it keeps us from engaging in discussion about events as they happen and not even coming close to what great minds discuss:

Ideas.

We can choose to focus on the man Donald Trump and all that we project onto him as a scapegoat for our underlying shame regarding our nation’s history or we can simply focus on the ideas that the top of our nation are projecting:

“Make America Great Again”

I ask one final question:

When was it ever great?

NNNN

P.S- I’m not trying to tell you what to think; I’m trying to tell you to think for yourself.

P.S.S-

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced”

-James Baldwin

 

 

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