Our Dire Need For Nation-Building

There is a clear and present danger to everyone in our society when we embrace and promote this divisive team atmosphere, with the mentality of “owning” another person.

Our news cycles have been… increasingly turbulent, over the past few years. One of the higher-profile issues of the day is the potential use of the political apparatus, and worse public office, to target Americans.

There is a growing, and real danger, in this latest episode. It is the fear and anxiety it creates in the American public. It’s rumored that the full unchecked power of political factions is being used to target a former vice president.

But that rumor of the unsavory and un-American behavior doesn’t stop there, as it expands to a smear campaign against a whistleblowing citizen. Whistleblowers are uniquely American, and they’re also individuals awarded the privilege of protection in exchange for performing their civic duty.

To millions of Americans, from civil servants to soldiers, this injects additional stressors into everyday life. Fear and anxiety in the workplace will easily smolder unchecked as it morphs into more serious manifestations like paranoia and anger. I’m an Army veteran with Post Traumatic Stress, and while I’ve spent years learning to cope with anxiety, its destructive cycle is a recognizable foe to me.

When cornered with no defensive options, animals like badgers are known to become unstable and unpredictable. Do we expect the average citizen to feel any less cornered or defenseless? We saw it play out with Cesar Sayoc, whose attorneys wrote: “In this darkness, Mr. Sayoc found light in Donald J. Trump.”

We’re seeing it more and more as violence escalates across the country. Our children are in danger, yet lawmakers are driven to inaction over the fear of losing donors and votes to opponents. As the world’s superpower, we’re expected to be a unified force revered across the globe.

Yet the world watches us as our leaders proudly taunt the public with a graveyard of unpassed bills. These leaders pit us against ourselves as political rivals, to the point that upstanding citizens  — whistleblowers — are now caught in the crossfire. Their lives will be ruined so that our political class can retain their titles. We’ve devolved into an “own the lib” society, and while it’s satirical for some, our politicians are relying on it for their livelihood.

We no longer have civil discussions, every topic is a debate on where you stand and why you’re wrong. Even as the new school season started, our conversation is a debate, and it’s own or be owned. Add to that a constant argument that our great democracy would be a safer democracy if we embraced the open-carry of legal weapons, and it’s easy to see we’re failing our very own children being ushered off to “safe” school zones. We’re destroying our country.

I’ll say it once again, because it’s vital and important. There is a clear and present danger to everyone in our society when we embrace and promote this divisive team atmosphere, with the mentality of “owning” another person. The current presidential campaign is built on this. It’s built on turning every American into a victor or victim, and we’re helpless cattle until this ends.

It starts with a change. As a former service member, proud to have represented America abroad as a defender of freedom and as a nation-builder, I’m comfortable calling it a regime change. I use the term regime change because we need to combine new leadership with sweeping reform. We need to weed out this “own the libs” apparatus encroaching upon our government. We need to confront the frat house cry-babies insisting on injecting an attitude of juvenile, collegiate rivalry into our governance. Otherwise, the danger I mentioned, the danger of smoldering unstable anxiety will remain.

Once rid of the divisive “own the libs” tactics being employed, we need to go back to nation-building. This time… at home, not abroad.

Previously Published on Medium