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By Brock Hires
Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle 

America is out of control

Has our country lost its mind?


Last updated 7/8/2020 at 9:55am

Perhaps 2020 will be best described in history books as the year a virus from China caused a global pandemic, massive riots erupted across the country, the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum, and there was an attempt to rewrite American history - all leading to what is sure to be an interesting November at the polls.

If you are like me, you've likely been trying to tune out the national media to retain a little bit of self-worth and delay the onset of manic depression. If that's the case, I'll try to catch you up to speed.

Food brands including Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben will change their names because of racial stereotypes.

I can understand how this is offensive, but Jemima is a cartoon logo. She does not actually live inside a 24-ounce bottle of sticky slime. The logo, according to Quaker, started in 1890 and was based on Nancy Green, a "storyteller, cook and missionary worker."

Meanwhile, statues across the nation are being ripped out. While the heritage and formation of America is not always glamorous, we must not erase our history, be it the good, bad or somewhere in the middle.

TV programs that feature police officers (including "COPS" and "Live PD") are being pulled off the air. Some are even calling for the removal of a popular children's cartoon, "Paw Patrol." If we really want to bridge the gap between civilians and officers of the law, wouldn't these types of programs help to show both sides of the story? Shows like "Paw Patrol" can teach children from a young age not to fear police officers.

Instead of taking the time to truly understand a movement, a group or an idea, we instantly go on the defensive. Instead of listening to "Black Lives Matter" protestors explain that the movement doesn't mean that white lives don't matter, we tune out. Instead of understanding the story and meaning behind a logo, we call for its removal. We paint with broad stokes, labeling all police officers bad because the bad ones have the spotlight at the moment.

We get it. Our nation has been cooped up as the result of a global pandemic, we are still fighting racial injustices in 2020 and it's an emotionally charged election year, creating the perfect recipe for unrest. But now is not the time for knee-jerk reactions.

As a country, we must step back from the chaos, from the 24/7 commentary and the twisted narratives brewing across the country. Now is the time to talk to our neighbors - those who have a unique perspective, those who don't share our political beliefs, those who have diverse experiences.

Before we get offended, we must listen. We cannot let the intent get lost in the chaos. We must not let layers of emotions shadow the message.

The beauty of America is that we have choices. We have the freedom to express ourselves and our values. If we don't like something, we absolutely have the freedom to protest it.

But before we raise our hackles, we must be willing to listen and learn.

- Brock Hires is managing editor of The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle. He can be reached at [email protected].


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