The American Dossier: American Idolism vs. American Idealism

Did you ever hear of the phrase “To err is human”?

It is an old proverb from world history expressing the idea that forgiveness is a worthy response to human failings often heard in its fuller form, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.”

In 2021, diversity and inclusion are a worthy set of long-term goals. But like anything, the implementation needs to be thought through. What ever happened to the principle of civility and agreeing to disagree?

Unless you embrace the hip required ideology of cancel culture, systemic racism, and critical race theory, you are non-persona grata and off the island. Worse yet, we have been conditioned by the mainstream media to only acknowledge what they deem to be absolute, whether it be their understanding of the agenda of the critical race theory or QAnon pundits. There is simply no longer the ability (or in most cases) a desire to have a dialogue or conversation about the topic.

One (if not the most important) issue facing the country today is the inability to have respectful and productive conversations with other people that have a different point of view. As a result, it pushes us to associate with like-minded people, seeping the divide that already exists in this country.

One would think that the advances in technology with the internet, smart devices, and social media, that we would be a more tolerant society when it comes to differences of opinion. Instead, we have become quick to cancel and condemn for the sake of expediency and lack of respect for others. Rather than using technology for improving dialogue, we have become a society that outs one another for the sake of popularity on social media.

We must ask ourselves, why embracing toppling down statues and canceling such things as Columbus Day are occurring without fully understanding or discussing history? There is very little room to have an open/honest conversation about it. Today if one tries, they are labeled racist or worse.

Because we think something is not “inclusive” or perceived to have a “racist” agenda, are we best serving our youth and future generations? Unfortunately, ignorance and arrogance have taken shape by both sides of the coin.

By now you may have heard of  scandal on the popular TV show, “American Idol.”

This season was focused on entertainment and diversity with a dash of spirituality as many of the millennial age artists sang songs that were more Christian Contemporary, and there seemed to be a sense of unity and diversion among the young contestants.

It was surprising and refreshing to see a generation that is often stereotyped as lost and empty giving personal witness to their life experiences and to a higher power, especially presented by such a mainstream media as “American Idol.”

With swift judgment and instant cancellation, one of the top five, a 15-year-old contestant, has been vanished from the competition due to finding a video on Facebook from three years ago that was perceived to be endorsing the KKK. Social media has been empowered to be judge and jury without trial or explanation, granted the evidence found on social media may seem credible.

With a flick of a switch, he has been ostracized without having the benefit of being a 12-year-old child at the time.

For the sake of prime time and commercial revenue, we are cast into a drama of fear, uncertainty, and doubt at the expense of a child. This is not an attempt to dismiss the principle of truth and consequences. In all honesty, we are a society overly focused on shiny things rather than taking time to mentor our youth, whether liberal or conservative. This is another article for another time.

In retrospect to the damning nature of the video, “American Idol” judge and music legend of over 40 years, Lionel Richie, perhaps gave balanced perspective from  a stance of forgiveness.

“A lot of times…we grow up and we make mistakes, and we look at our life behind us many times and we say, ‘God, what was I thinking about when I did that?’ This was one of those situations where we kind of give him a big hug from the three of us.”

One of the benefits of diversity and inclusion should be the ability to forgive and have open discussions on factual history and understanding why such an action was wrong.

Arguably, one of the most important groups in the U.S., promoting diversity and inclusion, is in schools K-12 and higher education institutions. These are in fact, some of the least diverse institutions in the U.S. Why, you ask? A complete lack of political diversity.

The current trend in society is all too focused on preaching diversity and inclusion, minus the responsibility of teaching true facts about our history and consequences. Whether it be the President or “American Idol,” they are incredibly important in developing our youth to think critically with the ability to look at an issue from all sides, understand all sides of the argument, and then make their own conclusion.

Our schools and teachers are tasked with teaching our youth to develop critical thinking abilities, not to become puppets of a personal agenda, political theory, or financial gain.

Compounding this problem is the complete lack of political diversity in our K-12 school and higher education. It is shocking.

A headmaster at a local private school in PA said 96% of his faculty are liberal and vote democratic. Bloomberg, at Harvard’s 2014 commencement, said that close to 96% of the Ivy League faculty and employees voted for Obama in the 2012 election. He also said there was more disagreement among the old Soviet Politburo than in the Ivy League faculty lounge.

The lack of political diversity in our education institutions has huge long-term implications on our youth and our country. Many of our teachers strive to rise above their political views in teaching their students, but more and more stories have emerged that teacher’s ideology play an important factor in what they teach.

More importantly, as their uniform ideology takes hold and becomes the culture of these institutions the desire to teach critical thinking has decreased significantly.

It should not be surprising at all if small-to-medium sized departments, university panels, or leadership committees cannot find a single conservative faculty representative at all.

As reported in a 2017 article in The Orlando Sentinel, the percentage of academics who identified as conservative in the past two decades were around 15%, a decrease from the Obama years. In the social sciences, the percentage of professors identifying as conservative plummets to an abysmal 4%. Over the same period, the proportion of self-identified liberals grew significantly.

The Washington Post reported on research, conducted by Verdant Labs using political-contribution data, on the Democrat-Republican divide based on job type.

While not unsurprising that among actors and actresses there are 90 Democrats for every 10 Republicans, teachers are actually as liberal or even more so than those in acting.

The report showed that among English teachers, there are 97 Democrats for every three Republicans. The proportion is even more one-sided among health teachers, with 99 Democrats for every one Republican.

While there are slightly more Republicans among math and science teachers, among high school teachers overall, there are 87 Democrats for every 13 Republicans.

It is important to understand the influence of schools of education, which train prospective teachers, on the political and ideological leanings of teachers.

As a result, the students that have not learned to think critically on their own have been influenced by their teachers in terms of what and how they should think.

Until we see political diversity in our schools and universities, one could say our education system is severely broken. Opinion without knowledge and fact of understanding our history is not negatable.

Why should a 15-year-old child become a poster child of the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who simply embrace labeling with words rather than having a teaching moment using dialogue?

In closing, let’s further ponder the idiom. “To err is human.” The originator, poet Alexander Pope, was trying to convey in 1711 that while anyone can make a mistake, we should aspire to do as God does, that is, show mercy and forgive.

Check Also

Power, Poverty, & Politics Podcast — Are California Voters Waking Up To the Truth?

In this episode of Star Parker’s Power, Poverty, & Politics podcast, she asks: is the …