Bipartisan condemnation rang out around the world at the behavior of the incumbent and the presidential candidate. Who won is uncertain. Who lost, is certain. Those loving democracy and the free expression of ideologies, we were losers.
The debate commission is considering killing the remainder of the debates. This country was founded on ability to debate. We can’t let that happen as deplorable as they were. We defeated a King and the Global British Monarchy nigh 200 years ago so we could say what we wanted without getting imprisoned or worse. Are we on the cusp of returning to a more authoritative form of government? My mind is wrought with questions, but there are several knowns that are firm.
Over the last four years, we have damaged not only long-standing relationships with our allies, but we have extended the power of the dictatorships around the world. The American Experiment, as we are known, is so named because people don’t believe that a country, self-governed could ever last. These comments are made by dictatorships and authoritarian governments that have been in power for longer than our country has existed. Are we so bold as to think that Americans have the power and the drive to do anything, even to destroy our own country? Unfortunately, we are putting on a show for the world that states just that. Democracy is weak and will eventually self-implode.
Where do we go from here? We need to redevelop a method of discourse. We need a way to communicate with one another that is not brash, but allows us to speak our thoughts and be heard. We have a tremendous tool to do this, the Internet. However, we have squandered it. I have strong feeling and a good amount of insight concerning digital communications. You have noticed the host of this article is jayctheriot.com. My name, my server, and my website. I don’t own the ISP connection and that is all that is stopping me from having the ability of complete autonomy on the Internet. Yes, the article is shared to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Those social media platforms are a means to an end for this media.
However, very few use anything but a private industry (that is, social media) to share their ideas. When they get censured, there is anger. I’ve been chastised, too… I made an awful joke that was taken down and I was warned of future severe consequences. The algorithm didn’t identify properly what I meant as a joke. Those of you that know me personally, understand why I am not a professional comedian — telling jokes is not my strong point. I’ve been a “funny” guy mainly because I’ve made fun of myself. Having, what we know now, as a life-long neurological disorder, gave me the power to make fun of myself, and easily make people laugh.
My final employ before going critical was working with almost 200 computer engineers, plus a horde of technicians. Possibly the largest conglomeration of IT people in the state of Louisiana. I was aghast to find no one that hosted webservices or even had more than gaming machines at their personal disposal. It doesn’t mean they weren’t in the workforce. I talked to many of them, but not all of them. I’ve ran personal websites since 1999. Wow. My first one was in 1995, but is was not publicly accessible. I’ve been working on personal digital communications for almost 26 years. I didn’t realize that. 1/4 a century. Sorry, I choked on my writing there for a moment. The point I abandoned, is that simple me has published information digitally for over 25 years. Anyone can do it. The hard part about setting up a website is getting the information to put up there. Insuring what you say is correct is difficult.
In the beginning I had tremendous faith in the media. During the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Building, I was able to use IRC to talk to people in OK City from my computer in Hattiesburg, MS. Their reaction was horror and chaos. I wanted to offer them comfort, but quickly realized I was over my head. A few words from them, and I recognized the devastation I first felt in 1985 for Hurricane Juan. At 12:15 am, I stepped out of my bed to ankle-deep water. By sunrise, the water was to my groin. My dad saved me from getting bit by a water moccasin. I recognized that terror in their words. I also realized that I had not dealt with the fear of devastation.
I got off the computer and cried. My first wife comforted me. But, she felt some of it too. She was there for Juan and her family pulled me to there house where I could mentally process what was going on. Undoubtedly, she could see the news reports of the infants and children either incinerated by the bomb or the reports of them and adults trapped in the rubble.
The damage then was caused by Timothy McVeigh and aided by Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier and Lori Fortier. The act forced the coining of the term Domestic Terrorist(ism). The buildings destruction was in response to the failed attempt two years earlier to administer warrants to the Branch Davidians compound in Waco, Texas. They wanted to hurt the federal government. In 1993, I was in a position in Military Intelligence which allowed me to read the daily situation reports published by Janet Reno’s office. They were in chaos, and made bad choices. David Koresh, made even worse choices and destroyed his church compound killing many with it.
The Waco incident was seen by many as the radical left verses the United States citizens rights. A far right group, took a bad situation and made it worse. The result of both actions were dead US civilians. I don’t know if that was the birth of the anger, but since then, the divide, the anger, the death tolls have risen. Out of the apparent chaos, other countries or hostile forces, take advantage of the opportunity that we hand them.
September 11, 2001, was our failure as much as it was a victory for Da’esh and the Bin Laden followers. When we don’t stand together, we fall apart. The Twin Towers fell apart, killing about 3500 civilians and two iconic buildings in the New York skyline.
When will it stop? I would like to say it will stop when we learn to respect one another as human beings, granting each other basic inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This cannot happen with a sleeping innocent is gunned down in her bed and there is no apparent response to it. This cannot happen when the news media is not held to libel and slander standards equitably. And it definitely cannot happen when our global leaders refuse to be vetted and we refuse to vet them.
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” written in an 1809 book, “The Life of Major General James Jackson,” by Thomas U.P. Charlton. It is very possible that the phrase was commonly in use before then. Strangely enough, the phrase was used in reference to the “Yazoo land fraud” situation in which several Georgia politicians were in trouble over some questionable land dealing and using their political sway go get the deal processed. Jackson made it a political issue, overturned the deal and disgraced several of his political opponents in the process.
The core ideology behind the phrase is that the populace of a democracy can never sleep, less the country fall in ruin. That’s where we are now. Falling into ruin. With the Internet, we have the ability to get high quality news and in-depth reporting faster and more verified than ever before. However, journalists across the nation are heading to the employment lines.
A subscription to a local paper was commonplace prior to the Internet. Now, we can do it without paper and faster. However, how many of us pay for our news? If we don’t, then our information if bought for us by the advertisers on that web site. Our information is sold. The producers of the site have to make money somehow. We, are the target. Our herd-intellect is at stake. Our vigilance is diminished. Our democracy is dying.
We need to save our democracy. How? Buy a local paper. Pay for your on-line news service. Go to government-hosted websites such as those that end with “.gov” or “.mil” as those are official sites. If you don’t see something you like on then, contact your elected official and have them get it corrected or correct you. If you get no response from them, you then know who not to vote for in the upcoming election.
Verify every bit of information that you feed to your mind. Read opposing viewpoints so that you may understand them. It will broaden your perspective. We are all in this country together. We should have all the same rights. With all the same rights, my opinion is no more, or less, valid than others. However, fact is fact. When you find facts, they are usually boring. Don’t give into impassioned and embattled arguments. Cut through to the facts. Then, I feel, we will become vigilant as a people once again, and can make good judgements. Reading and analyzing information has never been at its lowest or more needed.
God help us all,
Jay C. “Jazzy J” Theriot