A book I recently read called Sapiens includes a statement that humans were better off as Hunter/Gatherers than the resulting mess civilization has produced. I decided I could make a weekly newspaper column from that information. Nothing controversial there, so I expounded on that subject in my witty, homespun way.

A lady quickly responded, taking issue with my musings. She accused me of posing as a “good ole’ country boy” while supporting socialism. She suggested my hidden beliefs were against the founders’ intention and claimed I’d disappointed her.

Caveman reading SapiensDeciding to ignore my instincts and reply, I first stated my good old boy cred, born on my parents’ bed, picked cotton, and frequented outdoor restrooms. I then reminded her that many current good old boys aren’t too supportive of our founder’s principles.

I added that socialism had become scary thanks to Fox News, and my column had no political meaning. I then said she had disappointed me by making everything about politics. I assumed that was that.

Within a day, another email arrived from the lady, turning up the heat. She demoted me from socialist to the ultimate conservative evildoer; a liberal. She also mentioned that her father had been a WWII fighter pilot and if he were alive he would give me a good talking to.

I endured a restless weekend thinking of my response. My dad was also in WWII; a gunnery sergeant in the Pacific that fought against Japanese soldiers in his sleep until his last breath.

We battled each other in the Sixties during my teenage years, while the world around us was disintegrating. When my first son was born, we made peace.

I decided there was nothing worth arguing over important enough to threaten our relationship. I’m sure he did the same. He died at 82. Neither of us had to deal with any regrets. Just emptiness.

My father grew up in a segregated world and changed much during his lifetime. I haven’t considered him much during this latest political divide in America. It wasn’t relevant. I know he wouldn’t watch Fox News, or be swayed by racist sentiment. I’m positive he’d be completely embarrassed by our current president for two reasons, if nothing else.

During the presidential campaign, a supporter gave Trump his Purple Heart. Donald not only accepted it but bragged onstage that night about “not having to do anything” to get it. When he canceled a trip to the American soldiers’ cemetery during Veteran’s Day weekend because the weather was bad, I wasn’t surprised.

The other issue for my father would be Trump’s complete disregard for truth. Dad considered lying to be the ultimate personal sin. I can’t imagine him supporting someone that didn’t hold honesty sacred.

I eventually decided to ignore the woman’s latest volley. No one listens to anything contradicting previous held beliefs anymore. Any reply by me would have resulted in her doubling down. I don’t need to hear any more of that.

But it is sad. Grown people, good people, are being manipulated by long held fears, evolutionary tribalism, and identity politics, warping history to suit their own beliefs. The belief that Liberals are against the Founding Fathers’ ideals is especially ridiculous. And now that my father has been brought into this, I can’t imagine those soldiers, our Greatest Generation, fighting to protect what currently comes from the White House. I hope we find a way out of this idiocy.

I’m running out of benign material.

Image credit: Caveman reading Sapiens is a composite illustration created by LikeTheDew.com; the base image of "Caveman Sitting Outdoors Using Stone Tablet with Touchscreen" was created by PeskyMonkey and licensed by LikeTheDew.com at IStockPhoto.com; the book cover of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari is a promotional image.
Mike Cox

Mike Cox

Mike Cox currently writes a weekly column in South Carolina for the Columbia Star called "It's Not a Criticism, It's an Observation." He is trying to grow old as gracefully as possible without condemning the current generation in charge to doom. Each day this task gets harder as the overwhelming evidence mounts. He currently has two published books; Finding Daddy Cox, and October Saturdays. His columns have won three South Carolina Press Association awards since 2003. Mike has three sons and two grandchildren and lives in Irmo, Sc, just outside of Columbia.