The Baby Boomer generation rebelled against the Establishment through the 1960s and became known as the "anti-establishment" generation, standing up for equality, protecting the environment, which at the time was referred to as the "ecology." We were a generation that was deeply concerned about the population explosion and predictions that America would become overpopulated, and that there would simply not be enough food to feed all of the people.
Today in 2015 – the original "anti-establishment" generation is the new Establishment. Overpopulation is not the issue it was projected to be and America isn't suffering from a lack of food – America is experiencing an obesity epidemic. Many of those who once promoted concern for the environment now denounce the dire predictions about climate change.
But the most striking contradiction between that generation then and now is the change in attitudes about equality. Today's Establishment generation was once the generation that condemned segregation and judgment based on skin color, religion or sexual orientation. Now, that generation has equated the right to judge others as a freedom of expression issue.
Today, Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) signed a religious freedom bill into law. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows individuals or businesses the right to discriminate based on religious beliefs. The popular idea of using freedom of expression as justification for discrimination seems to be abuse of the First Amendment.
Indiana may be the most recent state to grant religious freedom as legal protection for discrimination, but other states have joined this effort. States can pass laws, but any laws that are unconstitutional will ultimately be null and void and will prove to have been a waste of the taxpayers' dollars in those states.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows individuals and businesses to refuse to do business with the LGBT community, as well as Muslims, blacks, Hispanics and others.
Businesses in the free enterprise system of America benefit from doing business in America in many ways. Laws attempt to keep the marketplace safe and fair. General police protection and infrastructure are other benefits of doing business in America.
When the fight for racial equality reached a milestone in the mid-60s with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, many Americans were taught that majority opinion does not trump the rights granted to individuals. A majority in the South may have fought equal rights, but lost that fight, too, because a majority cannot vote or rule to strip individuals of their rights.
In the 1960s and 1970s the Baby Boomer generation prided itself on demands for equality. Going dancing at a gay club on Bourbon Street was common among heterosexual couples. Why has that same generation been an integral part of the crusade against gay rights? That generation has evolved into a generation that is known for opposing gay rights and judging anyone straight person who dares go to a gay bar to dance.
Frustration over the continuing losses in the battle to stop gay rights and same-sex marriage has led to desperate attempts to invoke freedom of religion as a fundamental right to discriminate against others.
This is not the America I learned about growing up and this is not the America I knew during the impressionable years of coming-of-age during the 60s. And ironically, the generation that fuels the fight against issues of equality is the generation that once proudly fought the Establishment for greater equality.
I haven't changed – have you? This is why I continue to call myself a "hostile witness to the Baby Boomer Generation." Care to join me?
When state legislatures are in session across the country this time of year, there are always comments made by lawmakers that spark controversy. State lawmakers are notorious for saying things and proposing legislation that is beyond controversial – it is often just stupid!
Maybe state lawmakers suffer from what is known as "political envy." Some seem to wish they were bigger and more important than being a state lawmaker, so they propose grandiose ideas that can range from ridiculous to truly inflammatory.
During a legislative hearing last Friday, Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers compared police in America to ISIS - he said that if he decided to carry a gun, "I'd want to shoot him [police officer] first and then ask questions later, like they say the cop ought to do."
A state senator could not possibly justify shooting a police officer before asking questions and would have a difficult time drawing any logical comparisons between police in America and the Islamic terrorists known for beheading innocent people. So, one must assume that Nebraska Senator Chambers was simply trying to get attention with his absurd comments.
Sadly, there will be those who do not consider Chambers' comments absurd and agree that American citizens are terrorized by police every day. Chambers also said, "The police are licensed to kill us – children, old people."
Today is the first day I have seen the story about Chambers' comments and interestingly, on this very day, there are two stories in the news that demonstrate why police officers have an instinct to protect themselves – and sometimes that means the use of lethal force.
In San Jose, CA, a police officer was shot and killed when he responded to a call about a man threatening to commit suicide. Upon arriving at the man's home, the police were met with rapid gunfire and 14-year veteran officer Michael Johnson was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.
There is another story in the news today about a young Wisconsin trooper who was shot and killed in a shootout with a bank robbery suspect. Both of these cases should be a reminder that law enforcement officers never know when they will be a target. When there are altercations with citizens, every police officer must consider that he or she might be shot during an encounter with a suspect.
It's easy for citizens to view video tape of confrontations with citizens and second guess whether the officer really needed to use lethal force, but at the moment of many of these encounters any officer must vigilantly assume that the citizen may be armed. That reality would set up certain actions by officers that may not be obvious to the public that only sees how the situations play out.
There are police officers who wear a badge for the wrong reasons. Some police officers totally abuse their power and position in society and no one should excuse their abusive behavior, but police officers are targets and do have a right to protect themselves as they protect all of us.
The recent high-profile confrontations between police and citizens that many say are examples of blatant police abuse did not involve officers entering a person's home or private surroundings and confronting an individual. Those cases that have attracted so much media attention resulted because of the behavioral actions of the citizens.
The Justice Department investigation that yielded no reason to file charges against Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson may not fit the script of the political agenda of some, but it does raise the issue that Michael Brown's behavior contributed to the confrontation with police in the first place.
The case of the 17-year-old from Reserve, LA, who was beaten during a physical confrontation with a Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Deputy is a perfect example of how behavior often impacts how law enforcement deals with different situations.
The 17-year-old was white. If he had been a 17-year-old black male the media would be dominated with the angle that the teenager was beaten by the deputy because he was black, rather than focus on the fact that his behavior toward police put him in that situation.
Since an investigation into that incident continues, it is unfair to completely defend or condemn the deputy's actions. There remains the question of whether the deputy beat the teen beyond a point of being able to restrain and arrest him. But one thing is for sure – the incident probably would never have happened IF the teenager had not been extremely intoxicated and appeared eager to confront police.
When Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers compared police in America to ISIS and said that police terrorize us as people daily and ISIS does not, that suggests the behavior of individuals does not contribute to confrontations with police in America.
All police are not innocent of abusing citizens – but all police are also not guilty of abusing their power when encountering belligerent citizens.
While there are exceptions – if citizens act in a civilized manner and respect police – the chances of being the victim of police brutality drops drastically.
What kind of person would call to have a pizza delivered to create an opportunity to shoot and kill the pizza delivery driver for whatever money he was carrying? When you try to answer that question, you are struck with the harsh reality that there are people in New Orleans neighborhoods do not even qualify as human.
Police responded to a shooting just before 1:00 am Tuesday morning and discovered a 36-year-old Domino's pizza delivery driver shot in his car in the 6100 block of North Roman Street. The driver, who was shot multiple times, was pronounced dead at the scene.
In September of last year, just six months ago, a Domino's delivery driver, 35-year-old Richard Yeager, was shot and killed in the 2800 block of St. Louis Street.
Police are collecting clues, looking for suspects and a motive in the shooting early this morning. There are countless murders in New Orleans throughout the year, but the idea of ambushing a delivery driver by calling to order a pizza seems particularly evil. The mentality of any person who would commit this type of crime is hiding in a body that only appears to be human.
Calculated crimes of this nature cannot be blamed on the lack of jobs or the lack of education. The human-like beings that roam neighborhoods looking for innocent prey are the result of submitting to random sexual urges with no conscience about the possible results.
In addition, the U.S. government has created a system that rewards those who have no ability to control their sexual urges. Two individuals were responsible for the sex act that brought every suspect and every murderer into the world. Individuals were also responsible for ignoring their role in raising the young individuals that became suspects or murderers. And this trend will only stop when that problem is defined AND addressed by politicians and communities.
Murders rarely occur in a vacuum and often people know who committed what crimes, and yet, there is a silence that allows the murderers to fester in neighborhoods where innocent people live.
Within the last two weeks, NOPD has partnered with Domino's for a "Get Behind the Badge" campaign, designed to promote the idea of citizens choosing to become NOPD officers. A message about joining the force is placed on pizza boxes.
Since the pizza delivery driver had little money on him at the time of his murder, it's only fair to wonder if retaliation against NOPD could have been a motive.
A 36-year-old man who was trying to earn an honest living by delivering pizzas late at night is dead because of a sense that with a gun you can take whatever you can get from others. It's an entitlement mentality.
The difference between the 36-year-old delivery driver and the person or persons who literally ambushed him for very little cash is that the delivery driver understood the fundamental concept of a civilized society that you work for what you receive in life.
The suspect(s) have been taught, directly or indirectly, by parents and society, that if you don't have what you want – you can just take it. Along with a life in the process.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz has become the first Republican to officially announce that he is a candidate for the 2016 presidential election. Between now and the end of the summer, as many as 11 other potential candidates for the Republican nomination are expected to announce their candidacies, including Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who says he will wait until June to make his announcement.
Let the political games begin! Senator Cruz has been a Tea Party favorite and ideologically aligns more with right-leaning Republicans than with moderates or the Republican Establishment. Cruz gained national attention when he was key player in the partial shut down of the federal government in 2013, but even some strong conservatives lamented that the stunt was ill-advised.
Winning the most devout base of the Republican Party could be the strength for the more conservative candidates like Senator Cruz, but Republicans want to win the White House, and that's where the debate over the party nominating a conservative or a moderate candidate gets interesting.
Many conservative Republicans argue that past candidates known to be moderate politicians, like Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney lost to the Democratic candidate because they were not conservative enough. But a closer look at history will show that Dole, McCain and Romney were pushed to the right by the Republican Party and social issues became part of the campaign. All of this was done in an effort to appease right-leaning Republicans. If each of those Republican presidential candidates had been allowed to adhere to their moderate stances on issues – they would have had a better chance of winning.
Modern political history shows that candidates for both parties with a more moderate image win the White House. Strong right-wing or left-wing candidates have not been winning the general elections.
Many argue that Ronald Reagan was a strong right-wing Republican, but the elections of 1980 and 1984 reflected a different political time and it's logical to think that if Ronald Reagan were a Republican candidate today, he would campaign as a moderate candidate. Reagan attracted so many Democratic voters that they were given a name – "Reagan Democrats."
In 1984, Reagan's Attorney General Ed Meese launched an intense investigation of pornography in America, which some felt was a political kickback to the Religious Right for supporting Reagan in his reelection. That was a sign that the Religious Right was not always totally enamored with Reagan.
The investigation on pornography was essentially a witch-hunt and some of its findings were declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
During the campaign of 84, Reagan had fallen well behind his Democratic opponent Senator Walter Mondale, but Mondale was a weak candidate and Reagan won reelection.
George W. Bush ran for president as a "compassionate conservative," suggesting a moderate stance. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both appeared as moderate Democrats during their campaigns, but arguably, both moved to the left once they were secure in office.
Contrary to the attention the right and left attract in the media, America is dominated more by moderate-thinking voters than by voters with more extreme views. However, the more moderate voters do not get the same attention from the media.
There is also a growing number of independent voters, many of whom declare their political independence out of disgust for both Republicans and Democrats.
A lot can happen with candidates and with America between now and the presidential election in November of 2016. It's too early to say anyone doesn't have a chance, but America's more recent political history has been written by the collective moderate voters and at this point, there is no reason to believe that the election of 2016 will be any different.
The Republicans routed the Democrats in the mid-term elections last November and it should be noted that social issues were not a major part of the campaigns run by Republicans.
Modern history supports the idea that Americans are usually in the mood for change after two terms in the White House, and after eight years of President Obama, the stage is set for a Republican to win in 2016. There are also signs in pop culture reminiscent of the 80s, when Reagan won two terms in office.
But if candidates like Ted Cruz, make social issues a major part of their campaigns and if the Republican nominee appears to be running for Chief of the Moral Police in America – the Democrat should win the White House.
The question remains – will the Republican Party's base support a moderate nominee in 2016?
Two more stories in the news confirm that oversensitivity continues to grow in America.
Bud Light drew immediate criticism after a St. Patrick's Day tweet was interpreted as promoting sexual assault, and a teacher in South Florida was suspended for calling a Muslim student a "raghead Taliban." The teacher's comment is inexcusable, but it's what the young student's father said that is worth noting.
On St. Patrick's Day, Bud Light sent out a tweet encouraging people to pinch anyone who is not #UpForAnything!
A few of the tweets went so far as to say Bud Light was promoting sexual assault and one said the tweet supports a rape culture in America.
When I first read the Bud Light tweet - #UpForWhatever – I thought about the traditional misbehaving that accompanies St. Patrick's Day celebrations at Parasol's, Tracey's, Finn McCool's and Pat O's in the French Quarter. It wasn't until I read the tweets interpreting it as a promotion of sexual assault that I considered that point-of-view. But I still believe that those who complained were stretching a relatively innocent tweet into a sensitive national debate. Honestly, what was your first reaction to the tweet?
The bigger question is why is something as innocent as pinching someone who is not wearing green on St. Patrick's Day now akin to sexual assault? We have lost our innocence with so many things. The onetime innocent gesture of pinching someone on St. Patty's Day is now considered sexual assault to some people.
A teacher in South Florida was suspended for saying "Here comes the raghead Taliban" as a student approached. The comment came from the student's French teacher, Maria Valdes, and she was suspended for 5 days without pay. I think Ms. Valdes should have been suspended for more than 5 days without pay and should also be grilled on proper etiquette with students. But it was the reaction of the father of the young student that caught my attention.
The student's father, Youssef Hassan Wardani, said that he would fight until his "dying breath" to make sure no other child goes through what his child went through.
I completely support and understand the father's outrage, but at some point, we should get back to teaching that "words can't hurt you." Words can be hurtful – but we, as a society, should not elevate words to the level of something that can actually hurt you.
The teacher was wrong - as many other teachers have been in their ignorant and prejudice handling of students, but the even bigger lesson to be learned is that we should not allow someone's words to hurt us. We should teach and remember ourselves that the words of another person, even a teacher, cannot and should not change who we are and the way we feel about ourselves.
The sad possibility is that the young Muslim student may encounter others – away from school – who may make a similar comment about his religious faith and the father will have no one to complain too. So, the important thing to remember is that words can't hurt us.
One of the significant changes that is leading America down the wrong path is our newfound oversensitivity. Everyone is sensitive about everything and as long as people continue to look for any opportunity to launch their rage on a comment perceived as inappropriate – Americans will continue to look for the evil in each other.
The education of America's youth should not be used in a game of political ping pong – and that's exactly what has happened to Common Core.
Today, the hotly-debated Common Core standardized tests began for students in 3rd through 8th grades in Louisiana. The test results this year will have no impact of whether students advance to the next grade, but the tests will be used to evaluate both students and teachers.
Common Core establishes a standard for all students in each grade to ensure that ALL students across America reach minimal levels of learning. Common Core is NOT a curriculum and it is not a government attempt to indoctrinate every young American student into liberalism.
Louisiana sits at, or near, the bottom of most categories in education. Change should be welcomed, but Common Core has been demonized as part of a liberal agenda under President Obama.
The need for the standards set forth in Common Core was established in the 1990s and the essence of the new initiative preceded President Obama – an inconvenient fact for those who continue to make Common Core a political issue.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has been at the forefront of the heated debate in our state. Governor Jindal was a strong support of Common Core, but it appears that as his presidential aspirations grew – his support of Common Core changed. Much criticism of Jindal's second term has focused on political action designed to attract the base of the Republican Party.
Governor Jindal did a complete flip-flop on the issue and is among those now condemning the initiative. Jindal tried to stop the exams from taking place, but a state judge blocked his efforts. But despite his aggressive opposition to Common Core, Governor Jindal said that he would not keep his kids home during the testing this week. A miniscule number of parents are preventing their children from taking the Common Core tests and the largest number comes from St. Tammany Parish.
One of the common complaints about Common Core is that it is too hard for students. Again, our state ranks at, or near, the very bottom of statistics on education. It should be obvious that all of our students need to be challenged. Some students have struggled, but some students have excelled under the Common Core initiative.
The saddest part of the debate over Common Core is that it has become a political debate. Regardless how adults feel about any president in the White House or any governor in the state house, no adults should lower the important conversation about education to a political debate.
I can't help but wonder how many parents have poisoned the minds of their kids when it comes to Common Core? Could parents have told their children not to worry about Common Core because it's bad and it doesn't matter how they perform on tests? Did some parents have heated debates with friends and family about condemning Common Core, while their children were in earshot of the conversation? Whether intentional or unintentional I have to believe that many students have a negative attitude about Common Core simply because their parents have made the debate political - and used their opposition to advance their political agendas.
The truth is – those who support or oppose Common Core do not have facts about its long term impact on America to guarantee their argument is correct. But if America ranks behind many other nations when it comes to education and if Louisiana ranks at the bottom of a nation that is lagging behind other nations, then setting new standards is imperative.
Any debate about the local or national economy inevitably includes the complaint that students from other countries are taking American jobs away from Americans and in Louisiana, students from other states are taking local jobs away from locals. In a free enterprise system, the job should go to the person who is best qualified and if that's someone from another country or another state – so be it.
There may have been a better way to implement Common Core, but it's time for America and closer to home, Louisiana to compete with the world!
Hillary Clinton is not even an official candidate to become the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party, but her strategy to become the nominee began soon after President Obama was re-elected in 2012. Over the past year, or so, Hillary has made appearance after appearance with a not-so-subtle attitude that she will not only run for president, but she will BE the next president.
Hillary Clinton's attitude on the unofficial campaign trail projected a sense of entitlement. She was a Frist Lady who was perceived to be very much a part of the presidency of her husband, Bill.
In Bill Clinton's first term, Hillary was immediately put in charge of the President's massive plan to overhaul our healthcare system, which proved to be an embarrassing bust. All along, her words and body language support the perception that she feels entitled to become America's first woman president.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 while speaking to the group celebrating Emily's List's 30th Anniversary, Ms. Clinton said with a smile, "Don't you someday want to see a woman president of the United States of America?" Her continuing tease that she might run for president seems designed to put just enough doubt in the minds of voters that when she does announce that she is officially a presidential candidate joy will ring out across the land.
Current polls support her belief that she is the anointed one to become the next President of the United States, but regardless of what the polls show now, they do not necessarily reflect the changes that America is ready to experience.
So, not so fast, Hillary!
First, the current controversy over her personal email account through a server set up at her house in New York is raising tough questions from Republicans AND some Democrats. The controversy over the Clinton emails while she was acting Secretary of State may confirm an attitude of arrogance and entitlement on her part. Arrogance and entitlement are not attractive attributes for today's politicians.
But there are other factors taking shape right now that reach beyond the growing email controversy. America, as a nation, has a subconscious desire for political change. After the Republican President Dwight Eisenhower – Democratic candidate John F. Kennedy was elected. Lyndon Johnson, who took office after the assassination of Kennedy and Republican Richard Nixon won the next election. Gerald Ford, a Republican, became president when Nixon resigned from office, but Ford lost in the election to Democrat Jimmy Carter.
Following Carter's term in the White House, Republican Ronald Reagan was elected and served two terms. Reagan's VP George H.W. Bush, another Republican was elected, but served only one term. Even though Bush led America in a victorious war against Iraq, Democrat Bill Clinton won the next election and served two terms. Next, Republican George W. Bush was elected and served two terms, followed by Democrat Barack Obama winning the election and is now serving out his 2nd and final term.
Considering the modern historical pattern for change of parties in the White House, the stage seems to be set for a Republican to win the White House in 2016. In addition to the patterned desire for change, current pop culture trends could be another sign that a Republican will become president in 2016.
There are many similarities with the pop culture trends today and those of the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan won two terms in the White House. Like in the 1980s, popular music reflects an upbeat and positive attitude throughout much of younger America and fashion trends are bringing back signs of 80s styles.
In the 80s, the Cold War between the United States and Russia provided a daily threat to the security of America. Today, the growing threat of Islamic State-related terrorism, from foreign and homegrown radicals presents a modern-day threat to our nation's security with America looking to the president for a strong strategy against the threat.
I will continue to talk about and write about the parallels I see between the 80s and today and how these common trends may be predictors for a Republican to win in 2016.
For at least the past year, I have been skeptical of Hillary's huge lead in public opinion polls and always felt that she represented everything that Americans are criticizing in the world of politics.
The status quo of ideals defended by the well-established politicians of each party ushers in the cynicism of career politicians that seek power over what is best for America. Hillary Clinton could easily be painted as an outdated political relic that does not fit America's interest in someone with fresh ideas.
There are also many controversies from when Bill was president and Hillary was Frist Lady that could be easy targets for Democratic and Republican challengers. With the expense of pay for bags to fly – even with her money – Hillary may have difficulty paying for all the baggage she will have to carry on the campaign trail. Her baggage will be filled with controversies dating back to her husband's 8 years in the White House.
Since America should be less tolerant of establishment politicians who are well entrenched in the political system – I think Hillary would be an easy target for her political opponents.
But the only way Republicans can win the presidential election in 2016 is IF they rally around and select a moderate conservative who is brave enough to reject the rhetoric of the extreme right wingers and keep social issues, like opposition of same-sex marriage, abortion, etc. out of the campaign conversations.
Remember the Republicans routed the Democrats in the 2014 mid-term elections and the controversial social issues were NOT part of most of the campaigns. Republican candidates generally ran campaigns by positioning themselves and an alternative to President Obama, who had been suffering low job approval ratings. Focusing on politics rather than campaigning as the morality police served Republicans well in the mid-term elections.
Much can happen between now and the election of 2016, but the trends in place today point toward the right Republican – not a right-wing Republican could win the White House and that would be a shocking scar on the woman who thinks she should be president!
Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress, which may one day take on new meaning now that pot is legal in Washington, D.C.!
Netanyahu was invited by the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill, and that broke political protocol. The political battle that has erupted pits Republicans against President Obama - again. The White House condemned the Republican invite as political grandstanding on the part of both the Republicans and Netanyahu, who is facing reelection in Israel. The speech began at 10:00 am New Orleans time, which would put it in prime time for voters watching in Israel.
Netanyahu first praised President Obama and Israel's long-standing relationship with the United States, but the Prime Minister proceeded to condemn the deal that is being negotiated between the West and Iran over their nuclear capabilities.
The Israeli leader said the deal, which is supported by President Obama, "doesn't block Iran's path" to building nuclear bombs, "it paves path" to the bomb. He called on the world to unite to "stop Iran's march of conquest, subjugation and terror" and reminded Congress, America and Israel that Iran's goal is to wipe out the Jewish people.
Netanyahu's speech was a powerful speech and made a strong point of criticizing the deal supported by the Obama administration saying it is dangerous to Israel and the world. It was also a powerful and effective speech for political candidate Netanyahu.
About 50 Democrats boycotted the address to Congress because Netanyahu was invited by the Republican leadership and not the White House. Whether you agree with what the Israeli Prime Minister said is not as important as the idea of expressing the dire fears of the potential nuclear deal with Iran.
The debate over who should have invited Netanyahu to address Congress is the typical petty politics that disgusts Americans. The sad reality is that if a Republican president were in the White House and Democrats gained control of Capitol Hill, Democrats would be quick to reject protocol and defend inviting a foreign leader and the message that was delivered. This is just another reminder of the hypocrisy that litters our political landscape.
Amid the political battle lines drawn over the invitation of Netanyahu is the on-going debate over whether America should support Israel to the degree it does. I still contend that Israel is our strongest ally in arguably the most unstable part of the world and it is in our best national security interest to support Israel and to act on its behalf – as long as the action also protects America's interests.
The Obama administration, as every administration, wants Israel to act in concert with the United States – but Prime Minister Netanyahu made a definite point of saying today that if Israel had to act alone against Iran – it would.
And that seemed to open the door to the possibility that Israel would not hesitate to use its military to stop Iran from gaining nuclear bombs.
What will ultimately destroy humans? Stephen Hawking says that it will not be a meteor hitting the earth or a massive earthquake or any cataclysmic natural disaster that will destroy. Hawking now believes that human aggression could “destroy us all.”
There has always been a segment of the population that is violent by their nature or their surroundings, however that segment of society is growing, but the most alarming sign that Americans are becoming more violent and aggressive lies in the increase in aggression throughout the segment of the population that does not fall into the violent/aggressive category.
Think about the times you feel aggression – someone cuts in front of you in traffic, a motorist tailgates you or you respond aggressively to a text, a tweet or a Facebook post.
Has social media made our society more aggressive? As much as I am reluctant to blame technology or media for creating aggression or violence in the real world, I think that social media has given people a vehicle by which they can manifest their aggression and even practice the art of being aggressive. It stands to reason that if we have no place to practice using the innate aggression that lives in many people, then we are unable to fine tune using the human instinct of aggression.
Texts, tweets and Facebook have become everyday methods of communicating with others and the somewhat anonymous nature of these social media outlets provides the perfect battleground for human aggression.
I witness the growing comfort level with venting hateful aggression through text messages every day I do a show on WWL. The hate-based text messages are often shocking and lead me to realize that through social media, Americans have become more aggressive.
It is rare that I do a show without hateful texts about my opinions on social and political issues or my sexual orientation – which is misunderstood by those looking for reasons to hate.
Many of the text messages spew hate and actually qualify as slander. The majority of the texts I receive while on the air are very positive, supportive and complimentary, but I have noticed that with the advent of the text message, some listeners use texts to instantly gratify their hate and aggression and feel they do in anonymously.
I have been in radio a long time and I know that negative reaction is a definite sign of success. If any radio personality or if most businesses tried to please every listener or every customer, there is a strong possibility that there would be nothing unique enough to attract the listeners or the customers necessary to be successful.
While I understand the role that negative comments play in my business, it is obvious that social media is providing that medium to immediately vent deep aggression. It is not necessary to taint this blog with some of the actual comments that some people make because your imagination can do an adequate job of figuring out the things I am talking about.
What is also interesting about some of the hateful and aggressive texts I receive is that almost all of those who express such aggression will continue to send texts through most of the show, which means they are listening! So, I guess I’m doing my job.
I hear stories about the aggressive things teenagers say to each other and there have been recent cases where the expression of hate through social media has been blamed for deaths, including suicides. Social media messages and posts have been cited as legitimate forms of modern-day bullying.
While human beings do have an instinct to be aggressive, which has been an instinct necessary for survival of the species, the immediacy and increases in aggression among those who would ordinarily not be considered part of society’s aggressive individuals is cause for alarm. And I think it’s fair to say that the nature of social media allows people to practice and sharpen their aggressive instincts.
One reason for the desire to attack others aggressively through social media may be a result of a growing sense that we have a right to never be offended by anything or anybody. There is a growing misunderstanding of basic First Amendment rights, often on the part of those who proclaim to be the most patriotic.
Teenagers should be taught – and we all need to remember – that words may be hurtful – but words can only hurt you if you allow it. We should also remember that the instinct to hate or become aggressive over the expression of an opinion that differs from your opinion is an ugly trend that defies the Constitution.
Which decade has the best music – 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s or today?
The opinion of which decade had the best music is subjective and usually related to the decade an individual was coming-of-age and developed their first emotional bond with songs.
Another reason the music of a particular decade might be declared the best is because it was a good decade, personally or professionally, or both, for an individual. The music mirrors who we are.
Music is the soundtrack of our lives and the music we each think is the best directly relates to how we view each decade of our lives.
There are things I admire about the music of each decade and I also like many of the new groups and music that is out today and believe that current music trends will produce iconic music and stars.
Of all the decades we are addressing, I am most fascinated by the 60s and the 90s. Both decades were defined by drastic changes in popular music. In the 60s, The Beatles and the British Invasion reflected a new rebellious generation that earned the label the “anti-Establishment generation.”
The 90s were also defined by a young generation that rebelled against the Establishment – ironically, that Establishment was the original anti-Establishment generation.
Music, as a medium, reflects its audience and there were social and political factors that inspired the definite rebellions of the 60s and the 90s, but that is not the subject of this blog. While it is true that every young generation rebels against the Establishment to some degree, it’s hard to argue that the dramatic changes in the genre of pop music in the 60s and 90s were inspired by a stronger than normal rebellious attitude in young America.
Each decade has its distinct sound and unique performers, but the 60s and 90s were led by the kingpins of those decades, the Beatles and Nirvana, respectively. As I studied trends in music over the years, it became obvious that the music that would define each decade was the music that become popular in the 3rd and 4th year of the decade.
The Beatles hit America in 1964 and was immediately followed by the British Invasion. The grunge, alternative sound of the 90s began to hit mainstream youth in America in 1993 and 1994.
The music that would be known as “70s music” and “80s music” also began to dominate the music charts in the 3rd and 4th year of the decade. And it was the music that was becoming popular in 2003 and 2004 that that defined the 2000s.
Today, the trend in music is well established for this decade and the “sound” today is a continuation of the music trends of 2013 and 2014.
Music does not dictate attitudes and behavior as much as it reflects the attitudes and behavior of the young population of each decade. It is the social and political issues of each decade that determine trends in music.