I’ve seen a lot of words used to lump a whole lot of folks into one category in America based upon their political views or cultural leanings.
A popular one with right-wingers is “lib-tard” to describe anyone who views are anywhere to the left of Ann Coulter — which would include everyone from Bernie Sanders to Jesus to Richard Nixon, none of whom are conservative enough in today’s America. (See chart below)
Folks on the left like to throw out words like fascist to describe today’s right-wingers who seem anti-immigrant, ultra-nationalist and OK with discrediting the media if it counters the propaganda their regime prefers, now even cheering physically attacking the media. And while a lot of fascist principles may apply — including giving so much power to corporations and adoration for a single leader — we haven’t quite followed in Hitler’s footsteps.
But there’s a new term that both sides — and those seven of us left in America’s middle — like to throw around: snowflake. It doesn’t sound so menacing. I mean, it takes an awful lot of snowflakes to cause a problem unless you’re an Atlantan trying to drive in an accumulation of more than two snowflakes.
Unfortunately, when you hear the term snowflake today, you don’t think of Frosty the Snowman, snowball fights or Bing Crosby singing holiday songs. You now equate the term snowflake with whiny people who melt when confronted with opposing viewpoints.
Folks on the right’s favorite target to call snowflakes are college students — or as their foes likely refer to them, “kollege stoodents.” They are convinced that if you walk onto a campus of 25,000 students, 24,998 of them are huddled in some safe room where they don’t have to hear conservative viewpoints, while the other two students are falsely accusing some poor drunken frat boy of assault. Continue reading
Whether you chant “Build the wall!,” support sanctuary cities or lie anywhere in between on the issue of illegal immigration, you have to know that there’s no simple fix or magic bullet that solves most problems, especially one this complicated.
But no matter where you stand on this issue, here’s something we likely can all agree on: If folks are perfectly happy at home — wherever that may be — they probably will not want to leave. They certainly wouldn’t want to embark upon a treacherous journey full of unknowns to sneak into the United States if their home is safe and they enjoy a comfortable life with security and hope for their children.
Time and time again, I’ve seen families move from shacks to decent homes through my work with The Fuller Center for Housing. And I’ve met people like my friend Ana (pictured above), who discovered a world of new opportunities and joy at home after partnering to build a decent house. In fact, my assistant Jessica (who speaks Spanish, while I merely know how to order in a Mexican restaurant) talked with a woman in El Salvador who completely scrapped her plans to sneak into the U.S. after getting a decent home. You can read about it here.
Years ago, Ana was moving from various rented rooms to another, battling crooked landlords and selling school supplies on the streets of Lima, Peru, while trying to raise her three children. On a hope and a prayer, she boarded a bus for La Florida, Peru, where The Fuller Center is building a healthy, thriving community. Not only did she wind up partnering with us to build a home for her children, but she began working for The Fuller Center and then was elected mayor of the town. Now, she is a government official working nonstop to better the lives of Peruvians. Continue reading
We can disagree on politics. We can disagree on building a wall or tearing down Obamacare. We can even disagree as to whether CNN is a fake news outlet. (Well, actually, no we can’t. It’s not.)
But we absolutely cannot disagree on which of the first families — the one leaving the White House or the one coming into it — has more class, decency and the kind of family values that so many evangelicals and others purport to espouse. The Obamas have handled unprecedented and unjustified disrespect with a grace that I’m not sure any other presidential family — Democrat, Republican or Whig — could have mustered. Donald Trump can’t even handle an SNL joke.
What’s most striking about the photo collage that I created above is the double-standard at play. Can you imagine the vitriolic hatred that would be spewed had the Obamas been pictured in the exact same way that the Trumps are as they were coming in to the White House? Flip-flop the roles in the photos, and the Trumps would be seen as restoring decency to the White House from a disgusting, trashy family. The problem is that even without flip-flopping the photos, many Trumpists still see decency being restored.
But that’s the kind of double-standards the Obamas have faced all along. It comes from the same people who thanked President Bush for “keeping us safe” but would have called for Obama’s head had 9/11 happened on his watch. I didn’t blame Bush then or now for 9/11, but you know that Obama would have been dragged out of D.C. by pitchfork-toting right-wing nutjobs and actual fake news consumers had it occurred under him. These are the same folks who would have hurled the worst kind of insults at Michelle Obama — perhaps the coolest first lady ever — if she had posed for the kinds of photo shoots Melania Trump has done.
I guess those kinds of folks look at this picture and see a “privileged” Obama family juxtaposed with simple, decent folks who relate to common Americans, a family led by a man who scratched and clawed and wisely bankruptcied and smartly tax-dodged his way to the top starting with a mere $1 million loan from daddy and a third wife who fell in love with Donald Trump for his charm and good orange looks.
Fact is: If you can put politics aside and still prefer the family on the left over the family on the right, fake news is not your biggest problem — that, my lost friend, would be delusion.
For years, I’ve given my readers a sneak preview into the coming year. And, based on analyses provided by Russian intelligence agents, I’ve yet to be wrong about anything. Ever.
My 2017 year in preview was published Tuesday by the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, but if you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t — or can’t — read. So, for your listening pleasure, I’ve asked the Margaritahill Times audio department to provide a podcast version of the 2017 year in preview. You can hear it below:
I’ve got a crazy idea for a new television network. Bear with me because it’s kinda out there, like Ted Turner out there. But here’s my idea:
I think we need a 24-hour cable news network — all news, all the time. When something happens in the world, you can go to that channel to learn more about it. And, vice versa, if you’re not sure what important news is happening in the world, you can turn to that channel and learn what that might be.
What’s that you say? We already have 24-hour news channels? Oh, I beg to differ.
We used to have 24-hour news channels. Now, we have 24-hour punditry — on Fox News, on CNN and I assume on MSNBC, which I don’t watch. Everything now is a discussion and staging of right vs. left on every issue.
“Welcome to CNN Tonight, I’m Don Lemon. Tonight, Donald Trump has dinner with Mitt Romney. He had a grilled chicken sandwich and a kosher dill pickle. To my left is Fred Finklestein, who supports Vlassic Kosher Dills, and to my right is Sally Saltheimer, a Heinz Zesty Dill backer.” Continue reading
When I started working at the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in 1997, our newsroom had a beautiful view of the Chattahoochee River — a view that would later be blocked by a Synovus parking garage. One day, while a few newsroom staffers were gazing out a window toward the river and wishing they had normal 9-to-5 jobs, they noticed an unusual amount of folks flocking to the river.
It seems folks had come to see the baby killer whale that had swum all the way up the river, only to get stuck near the Eagle & Phenix Dam (which was blown up a few years ago to make way for the stunning whitewater that now flows there). Sure enough, there it was bobbing up and down. It was bobbing up and down, of course, because it was inflated plastic. It turned out to be a publicity stunt, and I guess it worked.
When I see folks post and share all kinds of incorrect information on social media, even more so during this crazy election season, I’m reminded that folks have always been gullible — it’s just that gullibility seems to be the norm and accepted and excused these days. Continue reading
For the record, I’m not a Democrat or a Republican. I doubt I’ll ever be either one. I was a bit of an unofficial young Republican in my youth, swayed by the idealism of Ronald Reagan. Now, I’m an independent swayed by the idealism of Bernie Sanders. While I find myself against many items on the GOP agenda, I also find myself repulsed by the Democratic Party’s shenanigans throughout this primary season.
I’m not a #BernieOrBust guy, though. As much as I disdain Hillary Clinton’s pandering to anyone who can help her get elected, I’m more disgusted by Donald Trump’s pandering to America’s lowest-common-denominators of thinking. So, I’ll be voting for Hillary this fall, just not enthusiastically.
I do believe this is the end of the Republican Party as we know it. After Trump loses the general election, the establishment will either push out the right-wingers, or they’ll flee the right-wingers and let them have the Republican Party. Of course, it may run counter to their instincts, but forming a smaller, more moderate group of former Republicans in a new party would make them the ultimate power brokers in D.C. Nothing would get done without their support from the middle. Continue reading
If you're the kind of person who has a sense of humor, is not easily offended, enjoys resurrecting memories of the good ol' days, misses your grandma's cooking and wants to make the world a little better while having a good time along the way, you're in the right place.
I'm a proud Southerner, even though I buck a lot of Southern stereotypes. Some might consider my perspective to be "out of the box," but I prefer to think of myself as the kind of guy who crushes the box and plays with the bubble wrap. In short, I like to toss rocks and make ripples in the pond. If unique perspectives rattle you or you don't have time to have a little fun in this crazy world, then you're probably in the wrong place.
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Chris Johnson is a multi-award-winning columnist for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, although his real job is in communications — writing, video, publishing, photography, social media, websites and all that jazz. A native of delightfully small Oglethorpe, Ga., he now lives in Perry, Ga., with his wife Shellie. They have three children.