“We the People of the United States…”
by Nick Perna
Way back in the 1970s when I was a kid a record came out entitled, “Free To Be, You and Me”. It had such hit songs as, “It’s All Right to Cry” and other snowflake soliloquies. It was revolutionary in the fact that it explored gender equality issues and other sensitive topics for the first time. One of the main themes throughout the record was the importance of being unique, an individual.
The record explored what was a relatively new concept. Throughout most previous generations uniformity and sameness were generally stressed and excessive individuality was often viewed as abhorrent behavior (as in, weird). In olden times, “We” was more important than, “Me”.
To a certain extent, the, “Free To Be, You and Me”. concept was generally a good idea. Too much uniformity is a bad thing. By its very nature, uniformity is inclusive, excluding the different or unique. This can leave a small portion of the population feeling left out. It can also result in feelings of oppression with lesser represented special interest groups. The new record set about to change that.
This was generally a good thing, a change in point of view that was a long time coming but, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Gradually,” Me” has become more important than “We” in America. Me has become a dominant force in forming societal norms, political policy and decision making. Me, or small groups of Me’s (special interest groups with very small populations) have taken precedence over We, the majority of Americans.
The Me’s are on both sides of the aisle politically and literally come in every shape, color, sexual preference, religion, sex and race. They are the squeaky wheels that get all of the grease, leaving none for the We’s to use. Its important to note that the We’s also don’t represent or contain a majority of any particular race, political party, or religion either. There’s just more of them (i.e. a majority).
But the Me’s have the loudest voices. Conservative Me’s are on Fox News, liberal ones on CNN and MSNBC. They dominate social media with their causes, bombarding us with their messages. The repetitiveness and sheer volume of the Me message (s) gives a false appearance of credibility. Because of all of this coverage their voices are unfairly amplified. In other words, it seems like there are more Me’s than there actually are. They drown out the We’s.
Think of any controversial topic: Immigration, Abortion, Gun Rights, Race, Police Brutality. The Me’s have a monopoly on media coverage and, more often than not, their opinions are at the extreme far left or right politically of whatever topic they are discussing. For media it is often a case of the Me opinion being more interesting, drawing more viewers, which results in more coverage and exposure.
Take Immigration enforcement. The Me’s on the “anti” side want open borders with no control or monitoring and that undocumented immigrants be given the same rights as all Americans. The”Pro” Me’s want a wall on both the Mexican and Canadian borders and immediate deportation of all illegals. No middle ground.
So, here’s the crazy part. Most of us We’s have an opinion about this topic, for or against, one way or the other. But, generally, no where near as extreme as the Me’s do. Unfortunately, the voice of the We’s on these topics are provided by the extreme views of the Me’s. In essence, the Me’s speak for us! They are our voice….
Like a loud, boisterous buddy who steps in front of you during an argument at a bar, he hits some of the salient points but takes it way too far and says things you never would have said.
By being the loudest voice, the Me’s get what they want, even if the majority of us (the We’s) get screwed in the process.
True story: My wife and I meet for dinner at a Mongolian barbeque restaurant. We’re both working and on our 30 minute dinner breaks. For the uninitiated, Mongolian BBQ is when you stand in line, put items of meat and vegetables in a bowl, and hand them to a chef who cooks them on a big grill in front of you. The restaurant we go to is very popular with long lines so, if everything goes according to plan, we’ll have just enough time to eat.
A couple is in line in front of us with a child, about 12 years old.
“Our child has a peanut allergy. Can you prepare his meal with vegetable oil?”
The chef stops cooking. He then spends the next ten minutes completely wiping the grill clean of peanut oil. He then replaces it with vegetable oil and cooks the kid’s food. He then spends another ten minutes cleaning the grill of vegetable oil, replacing it with peanut oil. 20 minutes have passed, dinner break is nearly over….
The Me’s say, “That child deserves to enjoy yummy Mongolian BBQ as much as everyone else does”. The We’s go hungry…(or settle for fast food).
Here’s another good example. Currently less than 0.3% of Americans identify as transgender, putting them firmly in the Me category. Yet, throughout this great nation the We’s are required to add an additional set of bathrooms to the usual, “Men/Women” duo to meet this Me demand. Or, more likely, they are turning a men’s room into an all gender bathroom (in other words, the men’s room is forced to identify itself as gender neutral…)
Regardless of how you feel about the transgender population, is it fair for businesses to have to bear the expense of remodeling toilet facilities to meet an almost non-existent demand? Is a military required to completely retool it’s infrastructure to deal with this as well? Like the kid and his parents who ruined my dinner with my wife, why do the needs of the very few seem to completely outweigh the needs of the very many?
At a minimum, the Me issues should have to get in line and wait their turn like everyone else. Do rights of marijuana smokers take precedence over the ever-increasing problem of rampant mentally ill homeless people in this country? The marijuana Me’s have a loud voice on social media and dominate television channels like Vice TV (ever seen, “Weediquette”?) The homeless don’t have such a voice.
In the National Archives building sits a document. It was authored on September 17th, 1787. It starts with a simple, yet eloquent phrase:
“We the people of the United States…”
No mention of me anywhere in The Constitution.
Everyone’s opinion deserves to be heard. But no one’s voice should be drowned out by the voices of others.
Nick Perna is a Police Officer with the Redwood City Police Department in Northern California. He has spent much of his career as a gang and narcotics investigator. He is a member of a Multi-Jurisdictional SWAT Team since 2001 and is currently a Team Leader. He previously served as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has a Master’s Degree from the University Of San Francisco.
This first appeared in The Havok Journal April 19, 2019.
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