Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Divide So Distracting

To pee or not to pee. That is the question. When it comes to the transgender issue, I think it is more complicated than people are realizing. Transgender people have been using their sexual identity bathrooms for years, and most of us just did not know it. The problem I have is with the showers and locker rooms, especially in schools. But that is not what this column is about.

I remember not too long ago a video that was released of the at-bat of a baseball player who, it was said, was walked on only three balls. The video of the at-bat is short, but it caused plenty of controversy, even with non-baseball fans. Why was the video so controversial? Because even with clear video evidence, people were split on how many pitches were actually thrown during the at-bat. If Americans cannot watch the same video and come to the same conclusions, then how can we possibly agree on anything?

I have come to the conclusion that this country loves to be divided on any topic that comes up. When a new issue comes up, no matter how trivial, the entire country instantly takes sides. But it is more than just people taking sides. It is people digging in and completely ignoring logic and facts just to sustain their side. Compromise and debate are gone and have been replaced by irresponsible twisting of facts and a loss of common sense.

Americans love to fight, and they love to fight mostly with each other. The problem is that nothing weakens a country more than in-fighting, and this country is extremely weak right now.

While Americans love to fight, we choose to fight over the most trivial issues. Did you guys read the story about Kim Jong-Un announcing that he has nukes capable of reaching the United States? I think his nukes are more of a danger to his own country than ours, but it should be a concern. Meanwhile, everyone is arguing about bathroom privileges.

Did you guys read that Vlad Putin is so pissed at our military that he is threatening to move his military into place to physically threaten NATO? Or were you too busy arguing about the bad parenting that resulted in the death of a gorilla born into captivity? The gorilla story is a tragedy, there is no doubt. But is it a tragedy that requires days of fervent debate while Vlad is moving his tanks into position? No, it isn't.

Why is this country incapable of having discussions on topics like where people pee and what to do about negligent parents? These are topics that require discussion and compromise. The only thing heated debates accomplish is to make the gaps wider between all sides. Should the mother in Cincinnati be held accountable for the death of the gorilla. I'm not sure, because all I ever see is screaming on all sides. I mean, why not ask questions? Didn't anyone see the little guy climbing into the habitat and not say something? How was a three year old able to get into the habitat in the first place? Sure, the mother should have been more attentive, but aren't there other factors at play? According to the discourse going on right now, no.

We learn when we ask questions. We devolve when every topic is reduced to two sides having a shouting match. While our enemies are preying on the potential weakness of our current leader, people in the South are passing laws that discriminate against others for who they are. That does not sound very Christian to me. It also does not sound like a priority.

While the New York State government is spending time approving the official state snack, family court cases are being decided by unfair rubber stamps. While Americans are protesting the fate of where they will be allowed to pee, Russia is still trying to put the Soviet Union band back together. And if you try to point out these bigger issues as being more important than where people pee, you are told that your views on everything are wrong.

Social media has destroyed this country, and we will find out in November just how bad the damage really is. Instead of educating Americans on how world politics really works, social media has divided the country up into factions that will never see eye-to-eye.

United we stand, divided we fall. That was a saying that used to refer to the whole country. Now people use it to refer to their own stances on the issues that distract us. The only truth is that if we do not find a way to get united again, then we could be heading down the long road to disaster.

George N Root III is a Lockport resident who likes debate, but not confrontation. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at