Contemporary Cassandra, Deep South, conservative, Christian, patriotic veteran
He Was Right
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Four years ago, I read a newspaper column entitled “Contemporary Cassandra” in which the author made predictions about American politics, and compared himself to prophetess Cassandra of Greek mythology, who was ostracized because she made predictions that everyone scoffed at, but that always came true.
Because I view politics from the perspective of a Deep South, conservative, Christian, patriotic veteran, I thought the author’s prognostications might become reality. He prophesied on issues ranging from the freedom-destroying encroachment of an ever-enlarging central government, the betrayal of global allies — especially in the Middle East, the implementation of economy-crippling socialized medicine, promotion of abortion, exaltation of homosexuality, wealth redistribution, and gun control.
Shortly thereafter, I discovered that my attitude toward the columnist was not within the mainstream way of thinking, and therefore egregiously biased. Fiery letters to the editor by readers better informed than myself lambasted both the author and the newspaper. One reader called the column “… deeply offensive, insulting, and even unpatriotic…” and continued, “This is the sort of racist and obnoxious insult to journalism that typified much of the Mississippi press during the civil rights era.”
“It’s embarrassing to have such backward, ignorant views run in our paper,” one lady wrote. Another reader, possessed of prescience nonpareil, predicted that the columnist would be “bitterly disappointed by the failure of his prophecies to materialize.” With great foresight, she went on to say, “I predict that … millions of intelligent, hard-working, frustrated Americans … will work with the … leaders to promote an America on the side of equality and justice.”
Fortunately, in keeping with modern media’s efforts never to compromise objectivity, the newspaper published a few letters supporting the columnist. One lady said he is “ … an intelligent, patriotic American, who is just exercising his right to free speech.” Another reader stated that the columnist is “ … extremely well-read. He is a master of the written word.”
After reading these letters, I decided to enter the fray on the side of the embattled newspaper columnist, and wrote a letter to the editor. However, not being much of a hand with pen and pencil, my letter was not published. And rightfully so, I suppose; it smacked of ultra rightwing, sensationalistic Tea Party rhetoric.
I began experiencing an existential moment, and questioned my entrenched ideology. I began to think that perhaps comments by some of my liberal, secular progressive associates — who never tire of castigating me for being close-minded, prejudiced and ignorant — might contain an element of truth.
I made a vow to myself: Never try to be a prophet, for if you do, you’ll become a social pariah, as the columnist did. Just go along and get along; don’t rock the boat; leave prophesying to those whose skills in that area have been sharpened by years of experience; don’t be a contemporary Cassandra.
But then I compared the columnist’s predictions with the reality of the sorry state of current American politics, and retracted the vow. After all, he was right.