We live in an ailing culture. How far we have fallen from the America that De Tocqueville documented in his journeys. In many ways, I believe that the way that we live our daily lives has contributed to the toxic nature of our society. This article is about more than just an election or any one candidate. This article is about who we have become, and the dire implications that it entails.
When you look at the average American, you’ll see several disturbing trends. I admit that I see many of them in myself. Media consumes our lives. The average American watches five hours and four minutes of television
Alison and I have struggled to find content that we can watch with our kids. We default to Food Network or HGTV. Why? The news networks are 24 hours of doom and gloom, reality TV is beyond fake and full of made up drama, and almost every other show contains little more than vulgar language and content. Our society demanded that our content is explicit. We told the content creators that if people aren’t fighting, having sex, or cursing, we won’t watch.
Consider how many R-rated movies come out each year compared to G and PG. If you’d like a G or PG movie, it'll be for kids and probably animated. “Top Gun,” one of the most celebrated films of our time, released in 1986 is rated PG. It's possible for a movie to be good, enjoyed, and celebrated without being explicit.
With this state of our media, it’s unsurprising that we just went through a rough election cycle. We didn't talk about the issues; we prattled on about the people. We mock the cult of personality of repressed nations, but we're starting to look like one. We focus on the person, not the platform. The candidates indulged us and proceeded to tear each other apart.
I believe that the best path forward is mending fences and healing our culture. We'll be most successful if we carry out this task on a micro-level. My brother and I often fought growing up, and I remember on evening my father told us, “If we can’t have peace at home, how can we expect to have it in the world?” If we can’t have peace in our world, we can have it in our nation. If we can’t have peace in our nation, we can in our community. If we can’t have peace in our community, we can have it on our street. If we can’t have peace on our street, we can have it in our home. If we can’t have peace in our home, we can’t have peace.
Mending fences is a delicate, but worthwhile task. Reject the urge to spike the ball or drift towards hyperbole. Be gracious, be gentle, and be kind.