- Ada, Oklahoma

April 9, 2014

Inflexible thought is a growing problem

Art Lawler Staff Writer

Ada — You remember the Dixie Chicks, of course. The band that told foreigners how embarrassed we were of President George Bush?

 For that, the group was smeared right off the country music map by those who felt this group shouldn’t be speaking for them or saying ugly things about George.

  Say what you want to about our presidents inside the family nation, but speak no evil of our leader on foreign soil. That message was driven home with full force — at the concert box office.

 Now, a different party holds the White House. If some country music band said in Great Britain our whole country was embarrassed by President O’Bama, would they, too, be erased from the country music map? Or any musical map.

 Or would they be embraced as “real American Patriots?”

 Just asking.

 Personally, I never had a problem with the Dixie Chicks besmirching the name of George W. Bush, and it wouldn’t bother me at all if some bands did the same overseas in regard to Obama.

 They are neither patriotic nor unpatriotic for expressing their opinions. They are Americans.

 We’ve made fun of our presidents since the beginning. Cartoonists and satirists have made a fortune at the expense of the No. 1 man. It goes with the job.

 Now, if you said something like that at a funeral, that could admittedly be offensive. But it still wouldn’t be unpatriotic in a free country.

 I’m making a point of this because I see too many Americans who can only see one side of an issue these days — their side. If you disagree, you’re unpatriotic,  unChristian and unAmerican. There seems to be a fading nimbleness of mind in the land.

 Our two political parties would have us believe that if the other party was in power, our entire moral fabric would catch on fire.

 We used to have vigorous political debates without labeling each other anti-American.

 Not anymore.

 Look at it like this. If roughly half the country is always right, and roughly half the country is always wrong, why do we have a two-party system?

 Why don’t we just have the “right party, party’ and eliminate the “wrong” party.

 It worked for years in other countries. People went to the polls and voted for the one party and candidate on the ballot while a soldier with a bayonet stood nearby.

 Taking the chance on the wrong party winning was too great a risk.

 But not in our country. We had the right to be wrong. And often-times we were wrong. But we survived our disagreements, occasionally wiser, but mostly not.

 The old Soviets solved the problem with a one-party system, usually with one candidate.

  Over the years, as we have seen recently, a lot of those who were under the Soviet umbrella stopped thinking for themselves and voted to follow their shepard, Mr. Putin, back into the comforting pastures of mindlessness.

 Even after getting their freedom, some members of the old communist party have 

struggled to make decisions, having been told for decades they’re too stupid to have an opinion not sanctioned by The Party.

 Listen to MSNBC and Fox; you’d think the other party should be put to sleep — permanently.

 Fortunately, the Dixie Chicks weren’t lined up in front of a firing squad and eliminated. Whatever their political persuasion, most would admit this is a very talented group.

 We’re much more subtle about differences in our country. We just boycotted their albums and almost put them out of business. 

 And for what? Expressng and opinion that half the U.S. agreed with?

 Our ability to look at two sides of an issue is fading. Critical thinking is viewed as “troublemaker” thinking. The troublemaker is the one listening to the wrong cable station.

 Better that we all go along to get along. Rebellious thinkers are just showing off. You can  hardly watch a news show anymore that isn’t advocating for liberal or conservative causes. 

I wouldn’t mind that so much if the pundits didn’t paint themselves into a corner, thereby forcing themselves to take the same side every time on every issue. 

Viewers might as well admit there talking heads are God, and drop to their knees in terror.

 It’s as if we’ve got cookie-cutter brains programmed with red light, green light.  You have topics listed under each light. You can not cross over and vote greenie if you’re a reddie. No split ballots.

 If you think the country would be better off if everybody was a Republican, try thinking about a country where everyone was a Democrat.

 That ought to sober you up. If you think everybody should be a Democrat, try thinking about a country where everyone is a Republican.

 Neither party, regardless of ballot-box humiliation, is likely to go away.

 It would be nice to have a president from either party that we all accepted, or at least respected.

 I’m not even sure we’re capable of that anymore. Let’s see, Obama, W., Clinton, old man Bush, Carter, Ford, Nixon? Most of the electorate has come to hate each of those presidents.

  As the Pogo people once discovered in an old cartoon, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”