GENDUSA COLUMN: Listening to the Voices of America

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, May 3, 2023

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A political writer, I am not. I have avoided diving into such perilous seas filled with sharks, but I will take my chances today and pray I don’t become prey. 

With approximately 70% of Americans not wanting a rematch of the Trump/Biden ticket in 2024, why isn’t anyone listening? Why, when most citizens desire common sense gun legislation, no one hears our pleas? Did those in power turn off their phones in Washington or choose to ignore the voices of the majority they serve? 

With approximately 41% of the population choosing neither political party but declaring to be independent voters, Washington politicians should not listen only to their base. When they continue avoiding the people’s will, dire consequences could occur for our country.

Nearly all Americans want our problems addressed constructively without threats or intimidation. Instead of passing blame, shouldn’t our leaders work together on ideas to ease our immigration, crime and other woes? We are not the benefactors of sound legislation because Congress has created and promoted a divided institution that lacks the courage to compromise and find solutions. 

When my son was in elementary school, his best friend was quite a daredevil. He could persuade anyone to participate in any hair-brained stunt he could conjure up. I realized quickly that he was a charismatic little leader who could sway sane kids into insane activities. 

“Son, here’s the deal, when your buddy decides it would be a grand idea to jump off a cliff into a river full of rocks, be sure you suggest he try it first. In other words, sometimes it is not a good idea to follow a leader.”

When influential people convince us to entertain crazy, combative ideas or conspiracies, maybe it’s not safe or wise to do so. We often find ourselves lost on a dead-end road paved with stones of ungodly behavior because we tracked the wrong navigator. 

The polarization of America is wicked, inane and driven by those who love power more than our country.  Sometimes when we recognize such behavior from our elected officials, we should take note: do not follow the leader. 

Instead, use our votes and voices to bring civility and integrity into government. 

Many of us have accepted the political leaders we have instead of demanding a better representation of who we are. We are a country full of good people, and exemplary folks should direct us. We are a nation born on the backs of soldiers who fought for our freedoms. And we have always joined hands to defeat our enemies. We should never turn on each other to destroy the spirit of America. 

A common refrain I often hear is, “Remember 9/11?” It is said by many about the lack of unification and resolve the United States once held on September 11, 2001. That day, we forgot we were different colors or didn’t remember being members of a political party. Instead, we were just a coalition of united citizens. 

On December 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan, it didn’t matter if we lived in a blue or red state; we were neighbors of like minds resolved to not let an enemy defeat us. Men and women from all counties, communities and cities joined, determined to march to battle and win. 

This is the heart of America.

Today, groups try to persuade us to go this way or that. Members of the far right to the factions on the far left are determined to overthrow each other with hate-filled rants and stubborn footholds. Their battles remind me of a game of Tug of War where no team advances. 

Haven’t we been through enough without more unspeakable behavior from folks who continually ramp up the discord, determined only to win? Oh, yes, they can appeal to the worst in us with their ire, but when they do, America loses. 

 This country was not built on hate; it was built on hope. And we do not need a war or another attack on democracy to remember that. I believe in our collective heart and intelligence to not follow those who want to guide us into a deadly abyss. 

As a member of the vast majority, I advise all who agree to raise their voices. Don’t sit around bellyaching about the state of America; make a statement. I tell my friends and family, “Call any elected federal, state, or local representative to express your views.” Only a few heed that advice. When enough voices speak, the volume becomes loud enough to be heard. So, I dip my toe into the murky water, but I refuse to join the political sharks. Did you know that they become more vicious when they feast on souls?