WATWB — Getting Back to Normal?


I had hoped, probably somewhat naively, that with President Biden’s win in a free and fair election, we in the U.S. could get back to a more normal, less dramatic way of speaking, transacting, cooperating, and interacting with each other, that hate speech would go by the wayside, and that people would look upon each other fondly again as we all ditched our malicious and spiteful rhetoric for a bright new way, or at least a return to the old, less vitriolic way, a fresh start, as it were.  

As I said —  naive.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve given up hope for that sparkly future for America.  This is, after all, one of the greatest experiments in self-rule ever conducted and sometimes people lose faith in the political creed or fall into despair when the pendulum swings too far right or left and no longer makes sense to them.

Yet one thing we should all be able to agree on is that we will make no forward motion unless we all tone down the hate speech.  To that end, I offer you this brief by Madiha Afzal, a David M. Rubenstein Fellow — Foreign Policy, Center for Middle East Policy, Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology at Brookings.  The Brookings Institution is a non-profit think tank dedicated to independent research which addresses some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Twenty years after terrorists carried out the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. seems to be winning the war on terror abroad, but our own soil is a wholly different headache.  Like Ireland in the last third of the 20th century, America suddenly has homegrown terrorists of its own, something that many of us never saw coming, and it’s terrifying, especially when members of Congress are spewing their own hate speech.

Afzal argues that we need to restructure how we think about extremism and employ a top-down approach to combating it through education and the transferring of critical-thinking skills to combat the cultism that accompanies terrorism.  If the events of the last few months, culminating in the January 6, 2021 raid on the U.S. capitol, a raid spurred on by fake news and alternative facts — such as the totally erroneous claim that President Biden stole the election — have demonstrated anything, it’s that we have much more work to do at home.  

Reading Afzal’s brief is a start in that direction.  She proposes a global U.N. agreement, led by the U.S., in which countries design and roll out educational systems geared to fight extremism.  According to Afzal, “[t]he positive externalities of focusing on education would extend beyond their effect on extremism: This would also counter disinformation campaigns and the phenomenon of fake news, and the effect on attitudes could in turn have far-reaching effects on various forms of violence.”

For the sake of all, not just the U.S., but the world, we can’t push this any farther under the rug than we already have, otherwise, we’ll have to climb over the mountain of our own failures just to cross the living room.  Time to get smarter.

It’s the last Friday of the month.  Time to share your good news on the We Are the World Blogfest — #WATWB — a monthly good news trip around the world.  May we all be energized and rejuvenated by such news.  If you’re interested in joining our Blog Hop, the guidelines are as follows:

1. Keep your post to below 500 words;

2. Link to a human news story on the last Friday of each month that demonstrates love, kindness, humanity, support, open-mindedness, all the good stuff, but no proselytizing, preaching or inconsiderateness toward others;

3. Post on the last Friday of the month in sharing the good news.  No story is too big or small;

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar and help spread the word on social media using the #WATWB hashtag;

5. Read and comment on others’ posts, play nice, and make friends;

6. To sign up, add your link to the WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list.  https://www.linkytools.com/basic_link_entry_form.aspx?id=277138

This month’s cohosts are:

SylviaMcGrath https://www.professorowlsbookcorner.wordpress.com/

Simon Falk https://simonfalk28.wordpress.com/

Shilpa Garg http://shilpaagarg.com/

Mary Giese https://maryjmelange.wordpress.com/

Belinda Witzenhausen https://bwitzenhausen.wordpress.com/

As always, thanks for reading.

pam lazos 1.29.21

About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to WATWB — Getting Back to Normal?

  1. Yes! We must all take a step back from our own words and take heart. This is something I’ve talked about with my students when it comes to community literacy–we need to stop and listen to ALL perspectives because people usually feel as they do for a reason. The validity of those reasons may be in question, but we first have to know what those reasons are before we can find the common ground on which we can all move forward. It’s gotten tough at times with cops and BLM activists in the same class, but when we pause to remember we ALL want our communities to be safe and thrive, that means treating one another as human individuals instead of a category. So far, so good. 🙂


  2. da-AL says:

    too true. & you are generous to offer this ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Annika Perry says:

    The vitriol from the top down in America these past four years has confounded any rationale – and most of all that it seems to be lapped up by a proportion of the population intent and almost hungry for civil disobedience. The storming of the Capitol was like watching a movie and it seems a most surreal moment of many such these past months. I hope all the initiatives bear fruit … change is possible. Having grown up in England during the troubles in Ireland, when even bombings and death on the mainland was sadly a common occurrence, I thought peace would never come to the area. The changes are remarkable, fragile yet holding steady. The population could not take any more violence, living in fear and helped push this through. Change is possible, the new presidency is in its infancy and hopefully, new attitudes will soon prevail. A thought-provoking post, Pam!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. theburningheart says:

    In reality things had brewed for a long time, until stuff start coming out of the pot, a high time to turn off the heat, the vitriol it’s just the consequence, of living the pot on the stove unattended, for too long.
    Best wishes Pam. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Ally Bean says:

    “critical-thinking skills to combat the cultism that accompanies terrorism”

    I like the sound of and idea behind those words. Hoping to see that very thing happen in this country soon. Very soon

    Liked by 1 person

  6. simonfalk28 says:

    Pam, similar things could be said about hate speech in public life in Australia too, only that the tone and volume is lesser here. But the political discourse is often immature, and, in another forum would be considered a disrespect of persons.
    Thanks for sharing this on our WATWB and beyond. We have a dream, that one day people will offer free speech in a way that respects other people and is energised from a passion for truth and justice. Not a speech fuelled by hate.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hi Pam. I don’t think it was being naive, I felt the same as you and it made perfect sense. But this problem has been building for a very long time and will take time to reverse. I’m hoping that once we get this pandemic under control and people get back to work and life gets back to feeling normal that people will get busy living again and start being more normal. But I totally agree with Afzal’s brief that we have to restructure and educate. We start with children and they will lead the way.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. hilarymb says:

    Hi Pam – a time to think too … and thus temper our words and thoughts … I just sincerely hope we can learn to look at the other side of the coin – we need leaders who lead. We can start by setting examples … as you do here … we can also read more and thus learn more. I don’t know if you’ve read Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime … the way it’s set out fascinates me, as well as telling his story – makes one think … and I felt like I was living back there in the 1980s. Stay safe and by setting our own examples we’ll influence others … and thank you for introducing us to Madiha Afzal … all the best – Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Thanks, Hilary. Trevor Noah’s book is on my list. I do love his show and want to know what he has to say about his life and particularly racism. Thanks for reminding me to step it up. Hoping for a world 🌎 where people decide to come to their senses rather than continue to fight about the nonsensical. 💕🥰


  9. Suzanne R says:

    From your pen and paper to God’s ear. I will never give up hope.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. It will all come right. The only way is up xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Hold the line.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Susan Scott says:

    Pam, an excellent brief by Madiha Afzal, thanks for it. I’ll check out the other links provided – later. But education is the name of the game, here, there everywhere. Hers is a good start. Schools, colleges, universities, libraries, homes, communities can also play a huge and meaningful role. Yep, I’m watching what goes on in the US and it ain’t the prettiest of pictures. A Hill to Climb. We’ve got mountains to scale here … so my thoughts are with you, as the moon ascends in the sky this fine balmy night here in SA. Have a good weekend. Keep on fighting the good fight. Take care, xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Thank you, Susan. I take heart knowing there are like-minded others around the world working toward a more peaceful and verdant world, one with less political strife. Thank the heavens for my blogging community!🌎❤️🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pam, I still hold onto hope that saner minds will prevail, but, I must admit, the situation of distrust among our representatives in the current administration is not looking good. Thanks for sharing Madiha Afzal’s report, “A global effort to counter extremism through education.” Even such work may get nowhere when we consider that the Republicans have assigned a QAnon supporter to the House education committee. The crazy drama on Capitol Hill is not over yet.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. my friend, you have along way to come back from I’d say. So never give up hope xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 3 people

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