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Camille Granito Mancuso: Chatterbox

All for one, etcetera

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We, meaning most of us in this nation, are very blessed (please notice I said “most”).
Like most of us, I love this country, even with all of its nuts and foibles. There’s hope for most of what’s wrong with us, if we ignore the spin and which of today’s paid mouthpieces is yelling loudest, creating the divide between us.
Last week, my husband and I traveled to a small gathering of friends. On the road, it was interesting that, regardless of what ridiculous slogan was printed on their shirts, the people we met were all nice on a one to one basis. Of course, we must admit, that decorum is conditional … like it or not.
There are Americans, very sadly, who just can’t just assume the same, safe, friendly transit many of us do. There are some people, as the news clearly displays, who need to be far more careful as to where they go and how they get there, for no reason other than what their eye shape or skin color discloses about them.
Recently, a highly educated, sincere, and very intelligent house guest of ours said something in passing that struck a major chord with me. Since her youth, as a black woman, traveling into certain areas always required a plan. “We always went in a group,” she said.
She explained they dressed a certain way, took a certain route, spoke quietly and always had a definite destination. Sad. Despite degrees from Yale, Wharton, and Harvard Law, this brilliant and amazing woman was not able to assume moving freely in certain places, more places than one would even think. Rather, it required measured caution, here in the land of her birth and that of generations before her.
Her visit and our recent road trip came together to remind me that, indeed, while most of us are accustomed to traveling freely, with nearly no exceptions, not everyone does. It creates a sad feeling and new awareness of a privilege foreign to too many of us; it reflects a mentality which many of us have never had to deal with.

Following her visit, some of the unfamiliar billboards on that road trip seemed even more profound. Indeed, whether spray painted on trailer sides and land-owner created, or professionally posted campaigns along highways and main roads, their messages became more threatening to our nation’s strength in unity.
With no regard for the actual truth, they repetitively supported or criticized public figures. One very disturbing campaign was for a local politician’s election; it offered a slogan that was not only untrue, but was playing on her constituency’s vulnerability and fear. It was clear she was massaging her fossil fuel financiers with no concern for the well-being of those whom she swore an oath to protect. The hostility created by that lack of real leadership, and the divisiveness it feeds, is personally profitable but nationally deadly.
Too much of our leadership is being influenced, daily, by the highest bidder. To win, they pick at national sores that must heal for us to be strong again as one nation, and they promulgate political misinformation, reiterating the common rhetoric that unravels our national unity. If and when any one group gets all they want in our democracy, America will face one huge national collapse from the imbalance.
We said last week, America can only prosper if we work together. We can only work together if we formulate our progress based on whole truths from both sides of every issue. Truth is imperative. Intrigue is deadly to our country existing as a strong, progressive, singular national entity. We must recognize that.
These untrue or skewed and depressing campaigns and spreading mentalities are a symptom of a condition that is killing America, and they only serve to exacerbate that condition. They aren’t based on truth, and much of the rhetoric we all hear ad nauseam every day isn’t either – and that’s the very definition of propaganda. It unravels America’s strength at the core: her people. Keeping us distraught, distracted and misinformed is imperative to the success of those who wish to excel in their own focused goals of gaining wealth and achieving power.
To maintain our position among the nations of the world, and to advance as a society, we must become a united and progressive people – that means all of us. We must remember, “Divide and conquer,” and stop it now. Without unity, we are done for.


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