“You aren’t going to get the job… You’re going to go to prison… They’re going to kill me!”

All of the self talk that has more than likely happened at least once in our lives. I myself can apply a few memories to those voices, but like anyone I know, I have thought those same lines more times than I have memories of.  If someone took a look at my life any one of those things above could come to reality. Thankfully, reality and the state of our technology does not allow anyone, myself included, from doing that. But we are trying. The circular firing squads and litmus test takers, the hellbent, and great thinkers, are all about lifting rocks and sifting dirt. The almost rabid need for information, insights, and motivations has reached a crescendo, welcome to New Salem 2020.


The period that marked a high point of paranoia and injustice is once again knocking on the doors of a new millenium. There’s a big wrinkle in the sheets right now, a large part of the dialogue that is happening is clinging to something other than a stable bed. In the runup to this next campaign trail the weapons are out and well used, and setting another round of precedents that folks may or may not be aware they are solidifying. Who is going to judge you? Not now, but tomorrow, for all of your yesterdays? With our actions these last few years the precedent is set, and it is dangerous and short sighted.

In 1692-93 over 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft, and twenty were executed, which is the number of candidates we have now. The application of dubious thought practices and paranoia affected the populace of Salem back then, and unsurprisingly the same kind of injustice and paranoia is attached currently to these trials. Twenty executions happened in Salem, and that many are now slated for the same fate through friendly fire. It would be funny if not so sad that in the race to examine the past of candidates, folks cannot see the past repeating itself, the recent past especially. This rush to be informed and popular, right and right now is taking its toll on the progressive fronts, the Salem Syndrome.

I have already heard too old, too white, too male, too female, too gay, not gay enough, too far left, not far enough left. Those are piled onto personal opinions and run amuck dips into the past to find some point that today would be horrific if stated a certain way. They voted, they touched, they didn’t touch, they cried, they showed sympathy, they didn’t show empathy, they offended my sensibilities. I am no math major, but I can already tell you that those first few sentences add up to a lot more combinations than twenty. This is progressive politics today, this is the circular firing squad that always wonders why there is nobody left at the end of the ceremonies. Who needs enemies when I have friends like this? It is a phrase that keeps coming to mind.

The sad truth is, younger people don’t know what really happened in the past without some perspective. The other sad truth is, older folks don’t know what is happening in the present without some perspective either. At a time when the need for each other’s wisdom is at its highest, it is being turned away from and resented, ignored, or made to look different than what it really is. The reason we use that rule in justice, in honorable journalism, and in life is easy, a jury of your peers is needed to place things in proper context. Without that context, that experience, then the information is subjective and under the whim of any idea that comes to mind. In using the social norms and context of today on past events the problem would seem obvious if it were written out like that; It isn’t though and we have to use discertion from the past to make sense of today.

The living of life is full of mistakes, both known and unknown. If we are to be judges at all in this exercise of civilized culture, then the lessons must be learned from the past, even the distant past. This New Salem mentality, with its twenty executions is a difficult thing to witness. Even more difficult when it is family committing the injustices. I have lived my life and made mistakes, so who am I to judge? I have had all of those thoughts that started out this piece running through my head, so I must not be a saint. It was those mistakes though, those lessons that became apparent. When something becomes apparent, it means it’s meant to guide you is the way I look at it. So, I am better because of those faults, because of those mistakes, and because I could and did learn from my past. So who am I to judge?

The burning stakes are now lit and one by one the twenty will be lit aflame. The matches added by family and friends alike, too certain that they are doing the right thing. A fear that’s unknown is a fear at its best, will often hide behind certainty.





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