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Senator Tom Brewer
My two top priorities for the next legislative session continue to be immorally high property taxes and big wind energy companies trampling the property rights of their neighbors. I’ll be working with constituents and introducing bills in the next session that continue to address these and other issues. The success or failure of a bill depends a great deal on how much is done with it right now, over the interim between sessions. The property tax solution is just too big and too complicated to wait until the session has started to begin working with Senators and building support. I am a member of Sen. Groene’s working group of 10 senators to start this process this summer.
As I pondered the issues we’ll take up next session, another nagging concern of mine kept popping up in my thoughts. I see examples of it every day and it saddens and worries me. I’m talking about the gradual but relentless destruction of the American Civil Society. I think most folks would agree that the generation of Americans who grew up during the Depression and fought World War II were far more involved in community life than the generations that have followed them. There are exceptions of course and I don’t want to tar everyone with this broad brush, but the passing of this generation sure appears to me to be an important factor in the decline of our civic life today.
I read a study called the General Social Survey (GSS) which has been done every year for the past twenty years. The GSS said that regardless of education or gender there was a drop of over 25% in membership in clubs and civic organizations like the PTA or the Eagles Club or the VFW. Since 1974 the report also showed a drop of roughly 30% in “social trust” of political authorities and many social institutions. The local bowling league, company-sponsored softball teams, hobby clubs all declined. Church attendance has fell over 40% since I was growing up. Sen. Mike Lee from Utah said, “The destruction of community life is a spiritual crisis for millions of our fellow citizens.”
Why is this? Lee argues that at least in part, American communities are growing weaker because the federal government has grown so much. It has expanded into offering programs that used to be ran by churches or charitable civic organizations. As we’ve all seen countless times, big government programs are no substitute for civic involvement, and in the process the foundations of our communities have begun to crumble, but there is more to this.
Nowadays, we’re confronted all the time with the “Social Justice Warriors” who are often a breed of radical leftists that are intolerant and hate-filled angry people bent on dismantling the American social compact and the civil society. They promote “progressive” ideologies taught at universities as we’ve seen. Where they see “different” they see “injustice” whether there actually is any or not. There doesn’t have to be any “actual” discrimination; all that matters is how they “feel.” A man holding the door for a woman, for example, is a “micro aggression” implying you think she is weak and helpless. Asking someone where they are from implies you’re xenophobic. Using the personal pronoun “he or him” when addressing a biological male who wants to be known as a female is actually against the law in California now. They control speech and dialog in our society through the media and popular culture’s use of “political correctness.” They don’t want equality under the law (Nebraska’s Motto) they want special treatment and special privileges for their favorite groups often at the expense of other people’s rights, and if you resist them, you’re called a Nazi or some other disparaging label. What was once considered disgusting and shameful is now normal and accepted, and if you dare to reject it you’re called a bigot for your trouble.
Our dialog has coarsened so much. People are losing the ability to disagree without being disagreeable. The hypocrisy on public display is breathtaking. Celebrities routinely use profanity on live television directed at our President. Had a tiny fraction of the open, public hatred of President Trump happened to President Obama, there would have been riots in the streets.
I don’t know how to write a bill that fixes this alarming trend. I’m just thankful much of the damage to American civil society has not reached the Nebraska Sandhills. The people in my district are decent, upright citizens who vote in record numbers and were taught manners and morals growing up. Yet again, I’m reminded how lucky I am to represent them.
Please contact my office with any comments, questions or concerns. Email me at; firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail a letter to; Sen. Tom Brewer, Room #1202, P.O. Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509 or call us at (402) 471-2628.