Michael Matteo: Tyranny of the minority

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

Some may say America has never been great, but the facts refute this assertion. If America had not entered WWII, we might all be speaking German today. Innovative Americans have been responsible for many technological wonders that have made modern life far more comfortable for people all over the world. American history is filled with success stories and no one can doubt the impact America has made on the world scene. The fledgling 13 colonies evolved into a superpower because it was what its name said it was, “United.”

Unfortunately, today the country is divided and polarized, which is the antithesis of what made America a great nation and a superpower. We have become reds vs blues, liberals vs conservatives, rich vs poor, black vs white etc. Why?

When we discuss issues today, the word “radical” is used to describe factions that take unforgiving extremist positions and they are usually a small minority of an entire population of a group. Most Muslims are not radical in their approach to practicing their religion, and it’s wrong to think that anyone who is Muslim is a would-be terrorist. The same applies to all other groups, yet, the voices of a small minority seem to get the most attention.

Do a majority of Americans believe that the United States is an evil nation where systemic racism is a condition that permeates the disenfranchising of minority groups? Do a majority of Americans believe that it is reasonable to have kindergarten students choose their gender? Do a majority of Americans believe that capitalism is a bad thing? The answer to all of these questions is no. So why is there so much divisiveness?

According to a study done by More in Common in 2018, except for a tiny minority of far-left Americans, “political correctness is deeply unpopular” and 80% viewed political correctness excess as a problem. In a write-up for The Atlantic, Yascha Mounk wrote the following about the survey: “Among the general population, a full 80 percent believe that ‘political correctness is a problem in our country.’ Even young people are uncomfortable with it, including 74 percent ages 24 to 29, and 79 percent under age 24. On this particular issue, the woke are in a clear minority across all ages.”

Thus, the question remains, if an overwhelming majority of Americans feel this way, why does the country appear to be so divided?

The statistics don’t lie and reasonable Americans don’t buy into victim culture, political correctness and wokeness. However, the current trend is to give a megaphone to those who have no other purpose in life but to complain and rationalize about reasons why they are abysmal failures. Their 15 minutes of fame is predicated on a negative narrative that defers blame and points to everyone else as the source of why their lives are not better. The morally bankrupt flock to places like TikTok and go off on rants about inequity, parrot rhetoric that has been programmed into them by liberal college professors and fail to understand that accountability begins with taking a personal inventory.

This phenomenon is perpetuated by a media that realizes that sensationalism and freak shows are a selling point for ratings. It is this Jerry Springer approach to journalism that has replaced real journalism. Put the white guy who identifies as something different every day and people will tune in. Put the millionaire book pimp who tells people that systemic racism is to blame for their economic plight, and it’s not their fault that they took out $150,000 in college loans to major in gender studies and are unable to find a job that pays a living wage and the book becomes a best seller.

This mindset is further permeated by politicians whose underlying platform is divide and conquer because it keeps them from being scrutinized. They want people to vote red or blue and take full advantage of their status as either being a red or blue politician because they know how to play the system to remain in office for decades. They keep these jobs by making speeches that twist facts and cultivate class envy among liberals and conservatives.

Vice President Kamala Harris made a speech last week that compared the January 6th insurrection to Pearl Harbor and the 911 attack. Her use of hyperbole illustrates that she is either stupid or so out of touch that she is incapable of distinguishing between traumatic tragedies where thousands of Americans were killed vs an unfortunate event where one individual died and the insurrection was squashed by law enforcement. Her rhetoric about it being a real threat to American democracy would be the equivalent of saying that John Brown’s pre-Civil War attack on a federal armory, which was crushed by Union troops, put the Union at risk of anarchy. Viewing the arrest of a protestor wearing Viking garb is hardly as traumatic as viewing video of people jumping out of windows to avoid being burned to death on 911. Sadly, this is the kind of divisive rhetoric that has replaced common sense from our elected officials.

In a 2019 Gallup poll of 29,000 adults, data revealed that 37% of Americans were labeled as center-right, and described themselves as conservatives, 35% identified their political affiliation as moderate and 24% stated that they were liberal. The same poll showed that 73% of Republicans identified as conservative, 21% identified as moderate and 4% said they were liberal Republicans. On the Democratic side, the survey showed that 49% identified as liberal, 36% said they were moderate and 14% stated they were conservative. And 45% of Independents said they were moderate, 30% said they were conservative and 21% labeled themselves as liberal.

Given these percentages, it would appear that a large majority of Americans are not radical extremists at all, and most want no part of extremism on either the right or left.

There will always be different opinions about social issues, and that is the essence of a free decmocratic country. These issues should be debated and discussed in a civil manner. However, when radicals are given free passes to loot, riot and harass others because there are no consequences for these kinds of temper tantrums, we all lose. It doesn’t matter if you voted for a Democrat or a Republican when you show up at the store that you built and find it has been looted; it only matters that you are a true victim of a system that has allowed this kind of radical behavior to fester.

Most radicals are too cowardly to debate their ideas because their ideas lack merit and are indefensible. Therefore, it’s time for the majority of Americans to find common causes and insist that criminals are punished, children should not be told that they are victims or victimizers and no one will give in to the demands of extremist deviants on either the left or right. It’s time for America to stop being blue and red and unite as purple (the result when you mix blue and red.)

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Michael Matteo

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