Order, Chaos and Weekend Radio

My Dear Reader,

As I often do, I listen to the radio on car trips.  Sometimes its white noise, especially on the weekend, with very few talk shows grabbing my attention.  However, this past Sunday got me thinking.  I was driving my dog around the back roads of Tennessee when a chiropractic infomercial buzzed through the airwaves.  A bit of jabbering here and there about this alternative medicine, and a tearful story about his father, later, this “alternative doctor” decided to top off his airtime with an attack on the American health system.

Now, I’m not one to defend our quasi socialist system, which is near completely free market, nor completely socialist, but I am here to ponder this question and I’d like your input.  When did it become trendy to attack the United States?  I can understand criticism of any nation.  The only perfect state is the kingdom of heaven, and this fallen world is from it, as is every state created in it.  However, trends in any facet of life and history deserve to be examined, and I believe that the critics of the greatest Nation in the history of Mankind do so out of a need for popularity, not principle.

For instance, during the NFL controversy of 2017, when 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem, a great wave of criticism and praise arose.  The struggling football player suddenly became larger than life, and in an age where the President is as active in the culture as Donald Trump is, the hell storm raged throughout the NFL and the Nation as a whole.  Some correctly pointed out the obvious gaps in the culture and that this was a symptom of a divided nation.  I believe Kaepernick did what he did as a reaction to Trump himself and not necessarily the country, but he spawned a number of imitators in numerous industries who all had separate agendas.  Nick Wright, a sports host on Fox Sports 1, said this in September of 2017:

“I’m not going to engage on what the President did. I’m not going to engage on absurdity that we just ran a clip of a player quotes the President of the United States and we [Fox Sports 1] felt as though we had to bleep it.  I’m not going to engage on the fact that the day after the President was inaugurated on his favorite social media platform, Twitter, he tweeted his resolute support for peaceful, and this is as peaceful as it gets, protests.  What I will engage on is what is actually happening.  Because I cannot walk past a tv screen, news or sports without seeing this on the bottom line: NFL player protest Anthem.”

While I cannot say that I fully agree with Nicks viewpoint on the protests itself, we can agree on one central point: the protests were hijacked by various actors with desperate agendas.  For some, it was about protesting the anthem itself.  That same year, a lawyer for the Congressional Black Caucus appeared on CNN to call the National Anthem “problematic”.  Writing for the Washington Free Beacon, David Rutz explained the appearance in these words:

“CNN political commentator Angela Rye called the national anthem “problematic in and of itself” Tuesday during a discussion of President Donald Trump’s decision to disinvite the Philadelphia Eagles from the White House. “The national anthem is problematic in and of itself,” Rye said on “The Lead.” “There’s a second [sic] verse that Colin Kaepernick brought attention to that has yet to be discussed on broad platforms.””

Indeed, Kaepernick’s original vague notion of equality, whatever that means, had been turned into a talking point by a lawyer who wanted hers.  There has always been tremendous value in shock.  From Alice Cooper’s Rock and Roll act of the 1970s, to Jim Rome’s act on numerus sports stations, shock means eyes on, and eyes on means attention and money.  We cannot, therefore, eliminate the idea that these people are putting on a show for viewership.  We could leave it here, shake our heads, and keep moving forward.  But I believe the current trend of attacking all things American has deep roots in an old ideology and political philosophy.  A philosophy which will steal your potential and crush your dreams.

There is one certainty in culture and politics.  Order will always follow chaos. In the 1960s and 1970s we had a president assassinated, an unpopular war, a sexual revolution and another president impeached.  Out of this chaos came the Regan administration.  With the war on drugs came the war on Communism, a war on crime and a greater emphasis on economic advancement.  The success of these programs is too much to cover in this article, but one thing is unanimous, the order and gentle nature that Reagan brought to the table was able to defeat his considerably younger challengers.  With a 12-year hold on the presidency following the election of George Bush Sr., it became clear that following a period of chaos, a candidate who could project order could prevail to such a degree that his party gets reelected.  This tells us that there is political capital in chaos.  Think of it as an investment, if one side can put effort into one side of the equation, the result will manifest itself.

Chaos also causes an erosion of whatever hierarchy existed beforehand.  Before the Russian Empire’s collapse, the internal disorder was evident in the street battles between the imperial forces and the communists.  In this confusion, children aren’t safe, brothers tear each other and their families apart and security is at a premium.  At some point, the public will cry for peace and will be more willing to give up their own liberties for a feeling of security.

Lastly, there is great personal gain in the risk of being a radical early on, so long as your side wins.  In the Russian Empire, Joseph Stalin was an unknown, unremarkable human being.  At best he was a bully, but more reasonably he had a cult like fascination with Karl Marx.  His quick rise through the ranks of the Bolsheviks was due in large part to his ability to bruise opponents of the party.  The chaos that gave rise to the Soviet Union also let a brute like Stalin seize power in the state.  So, while here in the present we may just be bashing our nation on the radio and with words on TV, but it can quickly give way to a brake down of polite society.  We could already be in the early stages of a break down, as evidenced by the rise of Antifa and more violent acts by political radicals.  The Florida man who sent the pike bombs to CNN and Nancy Pelosi and the man who shot Steve Scalise and attempted to murder several other Republicans come to mind.  As with many radicals, these people envisioned themselves the leaders of some great revolt against the “enemy”.  At the very least, I am sure they saw themselves doing something heroic, or they would not have committed these horrific acts.

The reality is that some of us have abandoned the idea that America as a concept is great.  I am willing to admit that there are problems with this newfangled mixed economy that we have, but are we sure that we need to throw the baby out with the bath water?  This very idea of America has driven us in unison to beat back Germanic tyranny, and Soviet chains. I believe whoever is next will be beaten by us as well.  Whoever is in charge of the country, it doesn’t really matter, so long as they adhere or believe in what makes this country so great. It’s not just its inventive people, it’s the wonderful principals and the amazing potential of each one of its citizens.  I believe in you, I believe in us, but we could be on the precipice of something very dangerous here, and with the Ukraine situation rearing its ugly head, I feel as though we are at just the beginning.  So, for now it may be trendy to attack the United States on your weekend radio show, or on CNN, but remember what you are contributing to here.  Is it worth the twitter recognition to fight against liberty?  Are you sure that what follows in the wake of this chaos will be as good as the past 300 years?  Let’s think on this as the days go by and may we all be safe this week.

To your creation and potential,

Kevin Prendiville