We have real problems in this country. We have a highly-transmittable, deadly virus ravaging our population. We have businesses closed, people out of work, and schools on furlough, and we are months away from a cure. It’s likely we’ll see another bigger, deadlier outbreak before the end of the year.
We have systemic racism and cultural bias in this country. The kind of deep-seeded hatred that peaceful protest cannot snuff out. When Colin Kaepernick took a knee in the NFL, the media, the league, and the President denounced him. They said he had no right to bring politics into the game. But it’s not politics to want equality. To want justice.
We are a systemized country and we worship standardization. We have a one-size-fits-most approach to schools, government, and retail. Even the workday 8-to-5 is an outdated industrial standard. Schools remain on an agrarian calendar. There’s a Lowe’s Kohls Walmart shopping center in every mid-sized town.
During the pandemic, we were repeatedly told that we needed a national response – a single solution – to the problem. Melinda Gates even mocked our 50 homegrown approaches as if states taking responsibility for themselves were a bad thing.
I reject central planning. The earliest memory I have of this personal truth is a discussion around whether or not the U.S. Congress should concern itself with the amount of lead in pencils. A high school boyfriend and I were discussing the likelihood of someone purchasing a pencil in one state, traveling to another, stabbing someone with that pencil, and the victim dying of lead poisoning as a result.
Ridiculous, I know.
But other things are more ridiculous now. Determining how South Carolina should handle its COVID-19 outbreak based on what’s happening in New York City is ridiculous. Not only is our population significantly more rural than NYC, but our cities are much less dense and we have fewer hospitals.
Treating Columbia like Minneapolis by calling in armed militia is ridiculous. Each day since Saturday, our peaceful protests have disbanded amiably. Those individuals who stayed in the streets to loot and vandalize were apprehended by police. Law and order has not been abandoned here.
The riots over the weekend are the voices of the unheard. This country is coming apart at the seams because our politicians have sown discord for decades. We could blame President Trump but really, all he did was fan the flames. Our politicians profit when we are divided. They win reelection uncontested, they pass laws that benefit their campaign contributors, and they try to legislate us into compliance with their one-size-fits-most policies.
But you cannot legislate our way out of this.
The politicians are powerless. The tools they have are ineffective. Because we have to change. We have to do better. We have to care more, do more, say more, and act right. We have to show solidarity with our fellow Americans and end discrimination in all of the systems that perpetuate it, not just the justice system.
There is a lot of work to do and we have to be willing to do it. We can no longer accept that one size fits most and the ones who don’t fit are left behind. Our standard approach to everything must be questioned. Make businesses, managers, educators, and government work harder. We are the system and we have to change. We have to show compassion for the downtrodden, the weak. We have to imagine that it’s us with the boot on our neck. Because it is.
I became a Libertarian because I lost faith in government at the national level. Like our country’s founders, I recognized that all governance should be local. But we have to take local seriously. We have to run for office, support local leadership, and take back self-governance.
If we don’t, the national power, the central planners, the federalists, will send their troops into our state and make us.