The main reason that this country is in deep trouble is that facts which used to be routinely instilled into public school students are no longer. I’m not even talking about how to use facts during the process of connecting dots with events and coming to cogent conclusions. I’m referring to the facts themselves–simple events and straight-forward declarative statements. For those under a certain age, the facts either do no exist, or worse–they have become mutilated into something unrecognizable, mutilated by scattered “thinking.”
Example: a certain American profession athlete decides that he will not only openly forego paying traditional respect to the American flag during the ceremonies which routinely herald the beginning of sporting events in the USA, but will openly disrespect that flag. The athlete explains his stance via Social and Mainstream Media outlets, which, of course produces an avalanche of reactions from countless sources.
Many who defend the athlete’s stance have cited the First Amendment and that is where, in my opinion, the real trouble shows itself.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
It’s a straight-forward statement about what congress—the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives combined—may not do, with respect to its reason for existence: making laws.
So, it would seem simple to conclude that the First Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with the controversial statements and actions of the athlete in question, right? Hahaha!
All too many of our fellow citizens cannot (will not?) wrap their minds around this simple bit of logic: if congress isn’t making laws about speech, religion, press, etc. then the mention of the 1A is a non sequitur where any statement is concerned or with any expressed criticism of said statement is concerned, including all of the latter regarding this athlete.
(Wait. Should I explain what a non sequitur is? Eh, look it up yourself.)
I’ve had people argue with me about this and get angry when I try to show it to them. Not only do many citizens not know this, but they don’t want to know it.
We can take this seemingly small controversy and apply it to objective knowledge itself. Call it the fruit of post-modernism. It tastes rotten and it’s probably poisonous.
I’m praying that more of us will swear off of it and I think it will happen. But it won’t be without pain.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.
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