Author: Campbell, Bruce

Happy Birthday, America!

What a lucky man I am to be writing the Welcome Column for the CBA on the 4th of July! And what a lucky man I am to be writing the Welcome Column for the CBA on the 4th of July in an election year!

National election years in this country can become very, very tedious by the nation’s birthday. We are constantly bombarded with hyperbole about how each candidate loves this country more than any other candidate. The incumbent candidates will tell us how wonderful the country is since they took office, and how much work there is left to be done.

The challenging candidates have it tougher, of course. Not only do they have to convince us that the country is in a sorry state, how close we are the brink of unspeakable disaster, and but also how they alone possess the wherewithal, the experience, the imagination and the endorsement of the almighty that will be necessary to save this great nation.

What I really find tiresome is the constant vilification of “the other side”. Democrats would have you believe that destroying the country is front and center on the Republicans’ agenda, and what do you know? Republicans claim that destroying our precious Way of Life is the primary driver of the Democratic party.

Folks, let me step in here, and try and sidestep the verbal vitriol and point some things I have learned:

Nobody running for president has the destruction of the country in mind. You may disagree, vehemently, with a candidate’s plan for running the country, but you are NOT at cross purposes, and it’s important to remember that. Your main disagreement is with strategies and tactics, that's all. If you can put the demonization on hold, you can have healthy discussions with other reasonable people whose viewpoint is different than yours. Which leads to my next point:

Reasonable, intelligent people can have wildly divergent viewpoints. Not agreeing with you does not make a person stupid or unreasonable. When you resort to insults, you have already lost the power to persuade – you’re just making noise.

The worst day in America is better than the best day in most of the rest of the world. We have a wonderful country, with an amazing system of government that makes it hard to get things done, but also makes it nearly impossible for one president to ruin the country. Get some perspective. Yes, the stakes are high, and you should care, and you should be passionate. But moving out of the country because a law you disagree with passed, or the person you don’t like got elected is shortsighted and hasty.

What other people call bluegrass may not be the same thing you call bluegrass. Who elected you the king of musical genres anyway? If folks are tapping their toes to a band that claims to be playing bluegrass, and you know it isn’t, hold your tongue and let the folks have their fun. If you’re having trouble showing them what bluegrass is, then show them how friendly and inclusive bluegrass people are. Bluegrass experts aren’t made overnight!

Have a great Independence Day everyone! Remember, this country was founded by rebels and revolutionaries – and visionaries. And they can be hard to recognize sometimes, and hard to ignore, or even tolerate at other times.

Posted:  7/4/2012

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