There is this one guy named Bill O Reilly, a Fox channel newscaster who likes to talk about politics, nationalism and the current issues in America in his show; The O Reilly Factor. I’m not really following him (actually I didn’t even know him) until I saw him as a guest in The Oprah Show where here, they will confront him in a more calm environment, which is rare for him to be in one, as he is well known for being very emotional and loves confrontation.
So in this episode, he was asked about his book Culture Warrior which Oprah and many of the audience had already read (and obviously I haven’t!), and from what I understand from Oprah’s explanation, the book actually divides Americans into two groups: the Traditionalist and the Secular-Progressive, and these two groups are having a war, in the present, as we speak. (Official website: http://www.billoreilly.com/culturewarrior)
How can you know whether one is a traditionalist or a secular-progressive? This book explains that in America, there are those who embrace traditional values that have been inherited since the ancestors’ era while the secular-progressives are the people who always want to change America into somewhat “secular” in O Reilly’s point of view.
When Oprah asks her guest her first question, she was actually asking for many others who are rumbling with the same question in their head while reading the book; ”Do you think, is there a group between these two groups?”. He casually answers: No. When you are an American, you must fall into either of these groups.
Naturally, when you ARE American, you will be interested in the topic because it talks about YOU. But here, as a Malaysian which has nothing to do with who Americans are, I’m stuck in front of the TV, following the discussion that is getting hotter. Even though technically I AM an American (I was born and lived for a year in Louisiana), that first year of my life doesn’t really make much impression that I have to felt so absorbed as an American. Anyway, the point is I was drawn to that episode.
It’s not O Reilly or Oprah that captured me, but the audience or can I say the representatives of the Americans. A lot of questions were raise in that show, making me see how open and wide the minds of Americans. The discussion that later on started to look like some debate, had led me to the fact that Americans do analyze. Maybe not all, but they wants to know the truth and once they are confident with it, they stood up for it. That’s what I admire about Americans. They voices out based on evidence and facts and not like some people who cared so much about what people think and let the truth be buried.
Fact: Opening minds is educating.
This is IPEM, not only a media to write your poetic piece or describing things that are beautiful, but most important is to voice out. If one good thing we can apply from the Americans is this: to have as much (real) information as you can, analyze them and let people know what you think, and maybe they also have their share on it. This is how information is processed, by understanding the details, simplifies and explains them in the way people can easily absorb. So if you can see, this is actually educating both, the reader and the informer himself; YOU.
-IMAN NAILAH 2009-