The Era Of Approved Dissent ⋆ Politicrossing
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The Era Of Approved Dissent

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Guns N Roses Frontman Axl Rose was found guilty of four misdemeanor counts of assault and one misdemeanor count of property damage for the role he played in instigating a riot in St. Louis in 1991. He dove headfirst off of the stage and into the crowd to attack a man with a camera and then left the stage mid-concert. This angered the crowd and sparked a rebellion. Months later, when Rose returned to the states from a European tour, he was arrested at the airport. Axl Rose came under fire again in 1992 and was accused of homophobia for having used the word “faggot” in one of his lyrics. In the late 80s and early 90s, Rose was notorious for the use of controversial lyrics, getting arrested, and being a rebel.

By the early 2000s, as Axl Rose’s star faded, rap star Eminem ascended to take his place as the new controversial lyrical artist and troublemaker. What both men had in common is that they were probably the last true mega stars to have been true rebels. Neither artist was readily associated with any cause or social movement. In fact, like Madonna most of the time, it appeared they were being controversial, just to be controversial. Some of it may have been immaturity, drug induced behavior, or the result of a toxic combination of the trappings of fame and misguided youth. Certainly marketing was part of the mix. The result was that the controversy sold records. The polarization of their songs and actions is what stood out.

In 2021, one can’t help but realize that far too many artists have replaced polarization with conformity. Take the latest “controversy” over the news that Nicki Minaj is hesitant to be vaccinated. She revealed she is waiting and doing more research and she shared a story of people who she knows who have had adverse reactions. She has every right to feel however she wants and to express herself regarding this matter in whatever way she chooses. That her very reasonable response to not getting a vaccine is controversial is laughable when compared to say… starting a riot or sending a Native American woman to accept your Oscar award as a protest the way Marlon Brando once did.

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Minaj’s tweet about the subject left those longing for the days of rock n roll and artistic rebellion a little disappointed. She wrote: “If I get vaccinated it won’t for the Met. It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now. In the meantime my loves, be safe. Wear the mask with 2 strings that grips your head & face. Not that loose one.” A missed opportunity for sure. Our increasingly conformist and authoritarian society longs for a time when artists were controversial and didn’t try to softly land their positions as Minaj does here with a nod to mask wearing. What happened to the Rage Against The Machine Mentality of “F&#Ck You I Won’ t Do What You Tell Me!” What happened to the music of liberation, the sound and lyrics of Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, James Brown? Where is the spirit of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” and NWA?

While most rational people understand that the actions and words of such artists are frequently grounded in hyperbole, and just plain offensive, most also understand that there are usually one or more kernels of truth in such works. This makes it entertaining. Some of the best art illuminates an injustice, uncomfortable truth, or articulates someone else’s hypocrisy uniquely. Until recently, it seemed rather common for an artist to lambast a national politician, a corporate figure, or law enforcement. One is hard pressed to find a recent song questioning our 20 year misadventure in Afghanistan, the militarization of the police departments, election fraud, lockdowns, social distancing, mask mandates, or forced vaccinations. We know that people, and certainly artists, have strong opinions on these matters, regardless of their position. Eric Clapton and Van Morrison recently collaborated on an anti-lockdown tune, but to little attention from the corporations. Perhaps many artists have found it easier to send a tweet than to write a clever lyric.

Today’s radio waves don’t have a Bob Dylan’s “Blowin in the Wind” or a Joan Baez protesting for social or political change. Everything just feels corporate, quadrate, as if everything we see and hear has been approved in some boardroom. The truth is, it probably has been. Dissent is quickly purged from social media and the major television networks. We are living in an age of “Approved Dissent.” If you are protesting perceived racism, sexism, or police brutality, the protest is parroted by the mainstream corporate and social media. Protest an election result, a mask mandate, or a forced vaccination and you will get very little to no air time unless it is to paint you as a deranged conspiracy theorist.

Perhaps artists have figured this out. In the year 2021, the age-old question of “does life imitate art or does art imitate life?” has been answered. As approved dissent devolves into approved art, we see art imitating life.

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A Compound National Fracture

Our 246-year experiment in representative democracy is rapidly fraying at the edges

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If Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive today, he’d be appalled at the fractionalization of our nation. No one can guarantee the USA will exist for the duration of the decade, let alone the next several years.

Our 246-year experiment in representative democracy is rapidly fraying at the edges, and not merely because of anarchists and agitators funded by one-world globalists, or because of perpetually contested elections. Big money has always been the controlling factor in Washington D.C. Today, the levels of influence peddling are unprecedented and getting worse.

Evaporating Middle Ground

Democrats and Republicans once sought to join together on critical issues for the good of the Union, at least some of the time. Today partisan politics predominates. We now approach $30 trillion in debt and $164 trillion in unfunded liabilities, equal to 492,000 per citizen, This a level that is unconscionable and represents theft of our children’s and grandchildren’s heritage. Concurrently, Communist China operates in the foreground to undermine our every institution.

The sentiment that the U.S. is a global force for good is a sentiment shared by at least half of our friends around the globe, and even begrudgingly by our enemies after the dust settled — think Germany and Japan — but the sentiment cannot be as potent when there is constant internal strife. Domestic dissension and sedition, the lobbying stranglehold, and treason has left our friends befuddled and our enemies bemused and emboldened.

Meanwhile, the world is suffering, beyond the ravages of the coronavirus and in ways that few people could have predicted. More refugees populate the earth than ever before. Human trafficking, often a euphemism for sexual slavery, is a blight on “civilized” societies. The world population is now approaching 8.0 billion people up from 5.0 billion people in 1985.

Madness in Motion

In the U.S. whether or not the libstream press will address the reality, the waves of illegal immigrants from 2008 to 2022 have strained our resources. Local and state governments are bursting at the fiscal seams, while Biden and crew keep the floodgates open.

Crime is rampant among communities with an influx of illegal aliens. A visit to the Drug Enforcement Administration website reveals the country of origin of those criminals most wanted by the D.E.A. in cities across America. Hint: Overwhelming it is Mexico.

Despite record amounts spent on education, our schools were already failing, before the current shutdowns. Minority academic underachievement has been near-constant for decades, even in the most “progressive” communities with the most “progressive-thinking” teachers. Hordes of immigrant children, primarily hailing from Latin America, further strain school districts.

Splitting along Ideological Lines

On the East Coast and the West Coast, deep pockets of liberalism prevail. In the center of the country, conservatism prevails. Communities are organizing along political divisions and feel “the other side” simply doesn’t get it: espousing policies, theories, and beliefs contrary to the best interests of our civilization.

I don’t wish to reside in a land dominated by a polarized news media, the current Senate and Congressional leaders, billionaire “progressives” bent on censorship, sell-out corporations, a two-tier justice system, and a school system designed to poison the minds of our children.

The U.S. might fracture and become two or three countries. The geography for such a partition, of course, is not convenient. How do you combine California, Oregon, and Washington, with New England and the left-leaning Mid-Atlantic States? They are joined together by ideology, while thousands of miles apart. And, if we the U.S. were to split into two nations, beyond the inconvenient geography many problems would occur from legal, political, and trade standpoints.

No Unity, No Future

In any case, we cannot continue in the current mode. The far-left is pulling away from everyone else in the nation, even from patriotic rank and file Democrat. Many people would just as soon let the rabble-rousers go: What is the point of seeking to maintain the Union with people who fervently wish to “re-educate” you?

All the above points to the reality that the U.S. as we know it could soon be irretrievable.

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Life

Finding Meaning in Daily Activities, Even Now

You are creating your life every day; every choice you make determines the quality of your life

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If you’re like me, each day you shudder to think what new, nation-destroying ploy, or blunder, the Biden administration will foist upon us next. In our own lives, nevertheless, while awaiting November 2022 and the chance to take back the Senate and House, we have the opportunity to find meaning nearly each day.

In her book, My Grandfather’s Blessings, Rachel Remen tells a story about a doctor who had to deliver a baby in the hallway of the emergency room area. He had delivered other babies but not like this. While swabbing the baby’s face, she opened her eyes and looked right at him: he was the first person she had ever seen.

This experience changed the doctor’s way of proceeding. He regarded this as sacred moment. He remembered why he chose this line of work. He felt validated. His cynicism fell away. He became more invigorated, more inspired, and started to interact with more of his patients and his co-workers. Soon, he was invited to events he had never participated in before. His whole world opened up.

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: A Compound National Fracture

Now, he seeks such moments constantly.

A Capacity that Builds

Finding meaning is a capacity that we build, like a muscle. When you first started in your current career position, finding meaning was not an issue. You were excited. There was so much you wanted to do. You had all kinds of plan. Then, years passed.

Little by little you became jaded perhaps. Why did I choose this line of work? Why can’t I find competent help? Why are customer or clients so demanding?

It is possible, even now in this time of turmoil, to reinvent yourself on the job, to rediscover what initially attracted you to this profession and what the current possibilities might be. Sometimes the re-awakening is triggered by attending a conference or convention, taking a course, reading a vital book, or spending time with a colleague or peer.

Goodbye to Yesterday

Today and the days that follow do not have to be extensions of what came before. You do not have to proceed into the future looking through a rear view mirror. A world of choices awaits, even if in the same old position you’ve been holding down for years.

Will you make new choices? And what will drive those choices?

Discovering or rediscovering meaning is about getting clear on what’s most important to you and aligning your choices with those priorities. It’s about living and working with intention instead of operating on autopilot or by default, where one day looks exactly like the next.

So, What Matters Right Now?

Start by identifying what’s most important to you …today, not what was important five, ten, or 20 years. Is it creativity, or perhaps collaboration? Maybe it’s impact or flexibility?

Next, identify what professional – and this might be different than your current profession! – and personal goals align with those priorities. What does living or working more creativity look like? If, say, collaboration matters to you, how can you incorporate more collaboration into the work you do?

From here, you’ll want to pinpoint actions or choices that support those goals. Where are your current choices in or out of alignment with what you’ve identified as most important? What new, more intentional choices can you make?

Each and Every Day

Consider this: You are creating your life every day. Every choice you make, action or inaction, determines the quality of your life. If not now, when: Making the choice to live and work with intention and in alignment is the key to cultivating a life of meaning and fulfillment.

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