By Dr. Jim Ferguson

Many years ago a sizable group of Americans were identified as the Silent Majority. I wonder what happened to these people. Did they change their conservative philosophy and morph into something else? Did they all die? I don’t think they were deported and now reside clandestinely in “sanctuary cities.” Perhaps they are still present among us, but are afraid to speak up in opposition to the politically correct crowd who are, actually, the shock troops of the liberal-progressive-Democrat party (LPD). These “totalitarians” demand you accept their group-think. And if you don’t, you will be marked for destruction.

I would have chosen different words than those Donald Trump used, but his comments regarding illegal aliens, now called undocumented immigrants, pale in comparison to the malfeasance of Obama and his refusal to enforce the law and the borders of our country. Please realize that a country without a border is not a country. And survey after survey shows that the majority of Americans are opposed to Obama’s open border policy. Even Sen. Diane Feinstein, the LPD from California, has jumped on the band wagon and recently decried “sanctuary cities” like San Francisco where a young woman was recently murdered by a criminal illegal alien. Could the majority of Americans who oppose releasing alien felons onto the streets in sanctuary cities be the remnants of the silent majority?

In more recent times another populist movement arose in opposition to destructive government policies of the LPD. It became known as the TEA Party and I guess it still exists because it is still pilloried by the left. I wonder how many actually know that the movement’s acronym comes from Taxed Enough Already, and these law abiding citizens rose in opposition to “big” government, high taxes and the welfare state. Some in the leftist media even portrayed these Americans as Nazis, and our President referred to them derisively as “bitter, clingers to guns and religion.” I never heard our erstwhile President comment similarly about the Occupy Wall Street rabble.

Perhaps the TEA Party doesn’t represent Americans or a majority of citizens. After all, some Americans want to pay more taxes. Examples are the volunteers signing up for the pilot program in Oregon where motorists will be taxed on the number of miles they drive. And former New Jersey Governor and Democrat Presidential candidate, Martin O’Malley, actually tried to get legislation passed to tax rainfall in his state.

Recently, a Knoxville talk-radio station aired a program and asked whether someone’s bumper sticker might dissuade you from providing roadside assistance. The moderator’s question made me think of a story I wrote several years ago. During a commute home from work one evening, along Knoxville’s version of NASCAR known as Alcoa Highway, I was aggressively passed by two women as we all jostled for road position. Apparently, they took umbrage that I had moved my truck into the left lane, briefly slowing their progress towards Blount County. Perhaps they didn’t realize the road to my home was just ahead and I was preparing to turn left off of Alcoa Highway. Perhaps it was my “It’s Not Working” bumper sticker that raised their insulting middle fingers to me.

Snap opinions of people are often wrong, though we’ve all been guilty of this. I remember driving into Bratislava, Slovakia, once and glancing into the window of a man’s apartment in a building next to the busy highway. In an instant, I saw the sterile Soviet building, the sparse room illuminated by a single light bulb dangling from the ceiling and the “lonely” man standing naked at his stove cooking supper. I couldn’t help making a similar snap judgement of the women who drove angrily around me and flipped me the bird. Their bumper stickers led me to think they were a “couple,” and even though we were citizens of the same country and almost neighbors, I suspected we would have little else in common. Another “tattoo” on the gal’s car’s bumper troubles me to this day. It read, “I Never Used My Civil Liberties, Anyway.” Think about it, folks.

A recent Rasmussen poll revealed that 29% of Americans couldn’t name any of the Rights (civil liberties) in the First Amendment to our Constitution. Perhaps the “gals” on the highway are among the “low-information” crowd who knows and cares little about our country’s government or its laws. I suspect our Burundi friends who legally achieved their American citizenship know more about the Constitution than the oblivious crowd.

The German phrase, zeitgeist, has been added to our English lexicon. It means the mood of an era, such as The Roaring Twenties. Complacency must be added to entitlement as descriptors of our post-modern, 21st century American ethos. The zeitgeist of 18th century America was far different. The fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence pledged their “lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor” to America’s freedom from the tyranny of Great Britain and King George. Many of these signers lost fortunes, family members and some lost their lives in the Revolutionary War. It was so tough at times that Ben Franklin told these signators that they must, “Hang together or we will assuredly all hang separately.”

One definition of liberty is “freedom from arbitrary or despotic control.” To me this implies regaining something that was once absent or lost. Perhaps the Alcoa Highway gals and the complacent bunch have grown up in a land of freedom and know nothing of its absence.

A friend of mine used to live in Massachusetts and keep bees. He taught me that bees ball up in the winter, with those on the outside striving to move to the warmth and food in the center, while the complacent bees in the center are soon forced outward into the cold. When I heard this story I thought of America today.

I don’t blame Central Americans or other foreigners for trying to come here. However, I was trained that a drowning person will also drown you if you ignore the rules (laws) of safety and rescue.