Recently I purchased the 4 DVD set of Billy Jack movies. For those of you younger generations the name and character of "Billy Jack" may not phase you but for my generation the character symbolized the essence of what freedom means as an American. Billy Jack was cool and hip. He wanted to do his own thing and encouraged you to do your own thing as well. He fought prejudice at all levels of society but he hated violence and only used violence as a means of self-defense or for justice when the system broke down. The films spanned the sixties and seventies and dealt with the very real issues America faced at the time - racial and sexual prejudices, political corruption, the stigma of a questionable war and societies intolerance of any movement deemed radical by society. Sound familiar? As I watched those movies I became aware of how much the world we live in today is the same as the world of that time. Only now the vile rhetoric and violence seems much more instantaneous due to the internet, smart phones and satellite TV.
Today in America we spread vicious cartoons and photos via Facebook of issues we each deem to be a radical departure from what we believe the world should be. The America founded in the 1700's on the basis of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness no longer exists. We are labeled liberal or conservative and to each group the other group is not to be tolerated and their voice is to be shut down and silenced. Tolerance is no longer a bastion of a free American democracy and has become not just a dirty word but a filthy word. We no longer have the assurance of freedom of speech in America. The liberal left hatefully assault the conservative right for wanting to be fiscally responsible in government, and for being intolerant of sexual ideologies while the right also eschews intolerance of the left for the liberals abasement of biblical principles and their desire to obliterate the border between the US and Mexico.