It likely won’t come as a shock to anyone who’s read the different articles in this series that politics plays a front-and-center role in my life.
Every single person I’ve interviewed for this series is, in one way or another, working directly in politics or wishing to do so in the future.
This fact can have a couple of effects on the reader:
- You might roll your eyes and wish we could talk about anything else. After all, everything is about politics these days.
- Or maybe it gives you hope for the future.
So many people I talk to are absolutely terrified about the direction our country is moving.
In many ways, the country that my parents and grandparents grew up in seems to be long gone. People have always disagreed on things in this country.
You can look back to World War II and you’ll see people in this country who wanted to go to war, those who didn’t, and even those who agreed with the horrible things the Germans were doing in Europe.
You can look back even further and history and see how our country was divided on the evils of slavery as well.
Our country has always had disagreements on the big policy, social, and moral issues of any given period in time. That fact is one reason why this country is the greatest country in human history.
We’re allowed to disagree. You don’t have to agree with my faith, and I don’t have to agree with your stance on abortion. That’s an amazing thing when you think about it.
More important than us being able to disagree with each other, is our ability to question the regime.
You don’t have to search very far to hear stories of people who were ridiculed and ostracized, banished from their homes, jailed, tortured, and even killed for daring to disagree with their governments.
In the America my parents and grandparents grew up in, you were still allowed to disagree with what this country was doing.
However, it seems like that very right is being slowly (or maybe not so slowly) stripped away from us.
For months, you were not allowed to question in any way the origins of a certain plague that came to America’s shores.
You weren’t allowed to question how deadly it was, the cost of locking down the country, or the risks to certain age groups.
You most certainly were NOT allowed to question the treatment for that plague.
Just doing so would get you labeled as a crazy person and a science denier!
What makes this so scary is the fact that this wasn’t something that normal people could have disagreements on. No, it was our own government that labeled many Americans as “dangerous” for having questions about it.
That brings us to this week’s subject. Meet Sam.
Sam, in his own words, isn’t “overtly political”.
He says “Yeah I stay informed on what’s going on, but I’m just a normal guy. I just want to go to school, get a job, and raise a family in peace”.
After Sam graduated high school in 2018, his plan was to take a gap year before going to college, and then go in the spring of 2020.
We all know what happened in 2020, and therefore those plans were put on hold.
“Obviously I had to wait for a while to go to school. I really wanted to wait until all of it died down so I could go in person. I really wanted to have the full college experience” he said.
Over the course of 2020, Sam said that he noticed something that made his decision more difficult to decide whether he wanted to go to college anymore.
“It just seems like nobody is allowed to question the narrative anymore. I thought college was a place where you go to challenge all the things you thought you believed. That was where you went to have a debate, but now it just seems like you have to believe what the professors believe or else you’re some sort of bigot,” Sam says.
One of the things that Sam mentioned to me is seeing that there is a clear incentive for folks not to push back on the narratives portrayed by the government, the education institution, big tech, and the media has lit a fire in him to push back against those institutions.
Sam said, “I just feel like something has to be done. Something has to be said. If we just let them tell us what we can and can’t say, how is it going to get any better?”
Sam went on to say that seeing all across social media between the independent media outlets that are popping up, as well as more and more people like himself pushing back against the attempts to silence and discredit them, gives him a sense of optimism.
“It’s really heartening to see the young people all across this country standing up and pointing out how this is wrong. I used to consider myself somewhat of a classical liberal because there was a sense of being anti-establishment in that regard. Now, it just seems like they are the establishment” he says.
It doesn’t matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on.
One thing we can all agree on is more discourse is better than less.
It shouldn’t have to be said, but no one should fear getting kicked out of school, fear their careers could be in jeopardy, and of course, no one should fear being censored by the government for simply speaking their minds.
Unfortunately, many feel as though that’s where we’re heading right now, and some feel we’ve already reached that point.
We can only hope that the courage that individuals like Sam inspire folks across America to stand up for our founding principles of free speech and help foster a world that resembles the America our parents and grandparents grew up in, rather than the third-world dystopia many fear is coming.
Nate Butler is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News. You can find him on Twitter @realnatebutler or on Instagram @_nate_butler