A Nation Gone Daft

For the past week or so I have watched with bemusement the violent behavior of some of my fellow Americans who are bent on eradicating our nation’s history and obliterating some of its significant symbols, such as statues, monuments, and treasured documents.

My attitude toward the minority of Americans who creep out at night to demolish or deface statuary and other representations of America’s past that they find offensive is straightforward: they are mobs of irrational cretins.

However, I am beginning to wonder if America’s version of the Taliban is indeed a minority. There seems to be a national epidemic of GTCD (Group-Think Cerebral Disorder) in which otherwise rational human beings lose their common sense and turn into frenzied, frantic, feverish creatures who are convinced that our nation, its founders, its history, and its values are malevolent, incorrect, and deplorable.

Therefore, these iconoclasts insist, some images, historical figures, and symbols must be obliterated. The world saw it with the Bolsheviks in Russia, and we are seeing it today with the Islamic State in Syria and elsewhere.

It reminds me of an oft-repeated mantra I heard while covering the war in Vietnam. “We had to destroy the village to save it.”

I haven’t seen anything quite like this since Pol Pot, and his army of Khmer Rouge thugs took over Cambodia in 1975 and began eradicating that nation’s storied history, exterminating its culture, removing its icons, and eventually murdering anybody who it felt represented the past.

Their idea was to take Cambodia back to the middle ages and then reconstruct the nation so that it reflected the values and political beliefs of the Khmer Rouge. I spent several years chronicling the Khmer Rouge’s insane and homicidal activities.

I visited dozens of refugee camps along the Thai-Cambodian border where I heard the horror stories of “political cleansing” in which artists, musicians, writers, thespians, etc. were hacked to death by machete-wielding children infused with “absolute righteousness” conferred on them by their Khmer Rouge masters.

So far during America’s spell of national fanaticism, we have sidestepped the wholesale slaughter of the “politically deplorable” by zealots who believe they are the arbiters of moral rectitude and historical and political correctness.

But one wonders how long it will be before we see Antifa lemmings and other proselytized nihilist mobs wielding machetes against those who support free speech and who resist Group Think Cerebral Disorder.

I fear we are descending into a time of irredeemable ludicrousness when an Asian-American sportscaster named Robert Lee is removed by ESPN from broadcasting the University of Virginia vs. William & Mary football game because his name is too much like Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s.

Robert Lee & Robert E. Lee

Or how about the ill-starred horse at the University of Southern California? The horse is one-half of the university’s Trojan symbol, and his name is Traveler. Robert E. Lee’s horse was also named Traveller, though spelled with two ll’s. Consequently, said the university’s Black Student Assembly in an argument that pleads for even a modicum of logic, the USC Trojan mascot smacks of white supremacy.

USC’s Traveler

After all, the USC horse is white and so was Robert E. Lee’s horse. Racism?

How dare any of God’s creatures be born white—dogs, cats, rats, horses, and even human beings. In today’s intolerant alternative world, that appears to be prima facie racism!

Confession. I was born white. Do I feel guilty about that? Not one bit. Should I? Not at all. I never owned slaves, and I don’t know any fair-hued people today who do. So why must I be saddled perpetually with “white guilt” because of the way I was born or because of what happened on a Georgia cotton plantation two hundred years ago?

Even the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union recently ran afoul of the leftist thought police. It took substantial heat for a tweet featuring a cute little girl holding an American flag and wearing a shirt bearing the message “Free Speech.”

The ACLU was guilty of promoting “white supremacy” because the little girl is deplorably white, leftist groups shrieked. So what happened? The ACLU apologized, naturally.

I fear our nation is falling victim to a tyranny the minority.

I am not talking about a racial or ethnic minority here. I am referring to a minority composed of those with the biggest mouths, the loudest voices, and the most outrageous and contemptible ideas.

It is a minority of thugs and oafs that the media have emboldened and goaded with wall to wall coverage of every statue ripped down, every national symbol demolished, every historical figure demeaned, and yes, every university mascot maligned because of its name or color.

It is a nation in which universities are no longer bastions of free speech, where college campuses no longer encourage innovative discourse, rational reflection, and reasoned opinion. Sadly, too many have morphed into star-chamber institutions where freedom of expression is rebuked in favor of “safe spaces” and judicious dialog is only allowed when some group or faction is not “offended.”

That is the very definition of intellectual suppression and academic tyranny. If the goal is for America’s Orwellian universities to produce unenlightened androids who all think and act alike, then that aspiration is nigh.

How ridiculous and daft our country has become. Is it any wonder the rest of the world has lost confidence in us and in some cases is laughing at us?

During my lifetime I have seen our nation descend from the “Greatest Generation” that unreservedly sacrificed everything to protect our freedoms, to a nation of hateful, unenlightened, and boorish buffoons bent on destroying the very foundation of our republic as well as the values, ideals, and freedoms millions of Americans gave their lives for.

What next? A Maoist-like “Cultural Revolution” in which the past is sanitized and amended, freethinkers are imprisoned and tortured, and an oppressive clique of autocrats dictates to the majority what we can say, do, or believe?

Lord, have mercy on us.




About Ronald E. Yates

Ronald E. Yates is an award-winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy. Read More About Ron Here