I have been mentally chewing on an idea for a couple of days. It started with a video from the O. You remember, don’t you, the one who introduced us to0 zero, don’t you? Yes, that same one had a video posted of part of the show where a celebrity was having discussion on their personal life, identity, etc. It struck me as I have considered potty training from many years back and have a theory about that activity. When a baby is born, that child is under the effects and direction of the parent. It occurred to me that potty training is the first time that the child is in total control of an activity for which the parents seek a certain behavior. That behavior is defined by the prevailing behavior of the adults as a whole – the culture. The method of training differs according to the individuals in question, their trending behaviors in case of the child, and prevailing preferences in the case of the adult. Whichever method chosen, the end result is a person who behaves similar to the other adults in the area. Methods to do this include instruction, repetition, modeling, reward, shame, and punishment. Once one gets older, those methods tend to become more limited as the abilities and privileges of the person increase. Businesses have the ability to fire employees who don’t behave according to expectations, and fellow adults can use training, modelling, criticism, and shame to discourage behavior that is not desired. Check out this video of O doing an interview. Note that when homosexuality is presented, it is accepted and the questioning pushes the idea of recognition. After all, everyone knows that you’re born that way. Aren’t you? ( I won’t go there on this post, but know it’s a choice and lifestyle condemned by God.) The questioning is set to present this point of view and substantiate the talking points. All is well. Not too many seconds post, the interviewee veers into forbidden territory. How dare she state she is just an American! That is forbidden, and note the tenor, body language and verbiage coming from O. This is to 1) stop the idea from being supported any further, 2)shame the interviewee for speaking in that fashion, 3) alert anyone else that this is the response you will receive if you dare cross the concept that we are not just Americans. Isn’t this the adult version of potty training? This is what you say, how you are to behave, and ultimately what you are to think in this particular situation. Veer from this draws punishment, substantiate the party line allows praise.
What I see happening here is the development of a tribal mentality and further departure from the melting pot I was taught in grade school. We used to have a country proud of its many cultural backgrounds allowing the best of each culture to melt into the whole we called the United States. Though there were differences in individuals, we had a general basic concept that laws were there to be followed, representatives were there to represent, and we were good at what we did. I grew up in a Christian based household where there was a definite work ethic – if you want to eat, you must work. That concept was well known. Government assistance was available, but it was almost a shame to have to take it – not any more. The further implication of this exchange is the formation of separate tribes within America, each with its own values and desires and competition against the rest. There is no cohesive America in this. “I just want to be known as an American,” is shot down and unacceptable. With this kind of training across the country, there is no more American culture. To what tribe do you belong?