Friday, February 3, 2017

Hodgepodge Ramblings from a Salmagundi Mind

Hodgepodge can be defined as   “a confused mixture” or  a “jumble.”  Synonyms of hodgepodge include words like mismatch, goulash, hash, potpourri, etc.   The USA is a hodgepodge nation—a salmagundi (a salad of chopped meats, anchovies, eggs, and vegetables arranged in rows for contrast and dressed with a salad dressing).  The United States always has been and always will be a potpourri of religion, race, culture, etc.  Instead of naming this land we call home, America, we might have been more definitive and certainly more “politically correct” if we had named it Hodgepodge or Salmagundi.

Not only is my beloved country a hodgepodge, but I find my own thinking to be a hodgepodge as well.  For example, I am a strong advocate of the First Amendment, which includes many unique freedoms in this land of Hodgepodge,  including the right to peaceably assemble and to express grievances.  That same amendment also provides for the freedom of speech.  Salmagundi!!  Hodgepodge!! This means a Breitbart News editor has the right to speak at an event in Berkeley and students have a right to protest that speaker.  It means the KKK, the NAACP, the Knights of Columbus, the Baptists (all 300-plus types) and the Masons have a right to speak and to protest. Those who suggest that one side can’t protest or the other side can’t speak endanger our democratic system. Maybe I’m just a grumpy old man, but I believe that when we all begin to think alike or read from the same page (lose our hodgepodgeness) we are in deep trouble.  So don’t call me a “chronic protester” or a “hysterical crybaby” who cries and screams about everything, or unpatriotic, or an “opponent” or a “loser” or as “overrated” just because I don’t agree with you.  I cannot cash-in my deepest beliefs and climb on your particular bandwagon, because I believe in the land of Hodgepodge or Salmagundi.

Hodgepodge has even taken over the truth—we now have “alternative truth”  (MSNBC, CNN, FOX, etc.).  I know what Ms Conway meant when she used that term.  Don’t you?  We see things differently and from our own perspective.  Eye-witnesses to any event have different stories of the incident.  However, there remains TRUTH and FACTS and it is imperative in our land of Hodgepodge or Salmagundi, that we seek it, find it, and declare it.  That includes all “sides” of the mixture, for truth rises above the potpourri that we are.  This imperative to express truth includes the media of all “sides” to do the same.  Facts matter.  Truth matters.  In this hodgepodge of truth-sayers, we must be extremely diligent.

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