Our country has never been so divided politically, but for those of you who think this started with President Trump, I want to present another scenario for you.
Some people seem to be born or gravitate toward conservative ideas or liberal ideas, this is the old nature vs. nurture argument. The nature belief is that some of us are born with certain innate talents and beliefs, including political beliefs. The nurture belief relies on the idea that family, friends and life experiences mold our outlook on life, including our political beliefs as well.
I tend to lean toward the nurture side of the argument, however, my children came into this world with certain talents, approaches and outlooks that do not come from my wife and I. This is just fine with me as maybe they are taking the best from both parents and are more greatly influenced right now by friends and their own life experiences than our teaching and guiding them.
I took a class in college where we learned about nature vs. nurture, which taught me about the academic approach to this dialectic philosophy, but my most impactful memory as it relates to political theories comes from a discussion I had with my father when I was in my early teens. Watergate was over and Nixon had resigned, so politics was everywhere even for a young man. My parents did not talk about which party was better or worse, but would listen and talk to us siblings about life in general.
I went to my father one time and asked him directly about the two political parties that greatly control the government and our lives. He said Democrats believe in giving a handout and Republicans believe in giving a hand up. I then knew I believed in conservative thought and began looking at the world through that lens.
My belief and life experience tell me that if you grow up in our country with a conservative-leaning outlook, then it feels as if the public square in which thoughts and ideas are discussed and debated is heavily skewed against you. You notice that most Hollywood, TV and entertainment at large do not think like you and usually portray conservatives in a negative light. It is not just entertainment, however, as you also notice that education — particularly higher education — leans massively to the left. To Utah schools’ credit, my experience with K-12 teachers is very good, and they just try and educate our children rather than indoctrinate them. Maybe the most pervasive and deadly institution to our society is the news media because they control the news flow of what people hear and believe.
Because all of these institutions heavily lean left at best and are outright advocates for the Democratic party at worst, you can see why President Trump holds them with disdain.
Let’s get back to my original thought that this did not begin with Trump. The media and its allies went after Nixon and with good reason. But media outlets learned that they can take down a conservative, particularly a conservative president, if they band together. President Reagan was called an amiable dunce and attacked viciously as was Bush 41, Bush 43, and now Trump. Trump didn’t start the collective media’s selective mistreatment of conservatives, that began about 50 years ago. With Trump, however, the mainstream media abandoned any sense of objectivity and took up the mantle of opinion journalism while advocating for liberal causes.
This is not new news for those of you who think as I do, you have felt your whole conservative life as if you would never get a fair shake from the news media, Hollywood, some parts of academia, and the deep state if you’re involved with the government like I was. If this column does not fit your narrative then welcome to our world.
I do believe that because of President Trump’s mistreatment by the news media, Hollywood, higher education academics, and the Deep State he has been battling, the silent majority has woken up. To a great extent, half the country doesn’t listen to the news media anymore. We have stopped going to movies, and not just because of COVID. We are suspicious of academia and the indoctrination of our children. Sports at all levels should also take note because the viewership of sporting events on TV has dropped correspondingly. That will be the subject of another column on another day.
This is the existential battle for the soul of our country, I don’t think conservatives are going to just roll over every time their values are challenged as many have in the past.
Now to the real reason you should care about this column. It has to start on the local level. We need to make sure our values and beliefs are heard on school boards, city councils and up from there. Please join me in this struggle to re-shape our society, but how we think. That would be nice for a change.