Over the years, I’ve done a fair amount of traveling, both in uniform as a U.S. Marine and on my own accord, and although this may sound a little too much like a meme you might find on Tumblr, those experiences have indeed granted me a bit of perspective.   No, it wasn’t about the deeper meaning of life, nor did I experience some grandiose coming to Jesus moment as I watched the sunset over Egypt, or its rise over Honduras… The most significant thing I gleaned throughout my years or racking up frequent flier miles is that there are genuine and legitimate threats in this world; people who wish to do you harm, groups established on the common values of barbarism, places where hate is the single most prominent driving force for change.

What I learned, is that there are bad guys out there, and more importantly, some of them are really good at it.

This job requires keeping an ear to the digital ground, so to speak, and keeping tabs on things like social media trends, because like it or not, social media now dictates much of how the news gets reported.  I might have something I feel is really important to say about how the U.S. military is nearing the end of its second month without a budget while service members die in incidents brought about by a lack of training and poorly maintained equipment, but because that piece doesn’t tie into today’s social media outrage, I watch those stories wither away in obscurity.  Budgets are too boring, the issues are too complex, and shit, did you hear about Matt Lauer?

White Nationalists, ANTIFA, sexual predators and lunatics – they aren’t most Americans, but for some reason, most Americans have found themselves embroiled in debate with one another regarding each.  These groups are nothing more than vocal minorities that have usurped the American dialogue.  We should cast these people and their ignorant beliefs aside, and start having conversations with each other, rather than the straw men we’ve assembled to benefit our rhetorical arguments. The more we assume all Americans fall into one of these categories, the further we get from making any sort of progress, and the longer we ignore significant external threats that don’t cease just because we’re focused on Louis C.K. masturbating.