Heat Seeking Missile
Have you ever seen a heat seeking missile in-flight as it flies toward its target? The nose of the missile shifts back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and-forth; slightly moving to the right, recalibrating to move slightly to the left, recalibrating to move slightly back to the right, recalibrating to move slightly back to the left. It continues this back-and-forth, this right and left dance until it finally locks in on the target, and strikes. Through all the subtle movements left and right, the missile is always progressing toward its target. It may move slightly off the course at times, but it always recovers, and never loses sight of the ultimate goal.
Our country used to be like a heat seeking missile. There was a philosophical, political, societal target out there in the distance, in the form of ideals like, freedom, justice, equality, civil rights, and our country, like the missile, was always progressing toward that target. We would have an election, and our country would move slightly to the right. And then we would have another election, re-calibrate and move slightly to the left; we would have another election, re-calibrate and move slightly back to the right. We would continue these subtle philosophical, political, societal adjustments right to left, right to left, always with both eyes, right and left, on the agreed upon target, progressing toward freedom, justice, equality, civil rights.
This left-right battle worked effectively for our country for hundreds of years. The United Stated made great progress toward the goals set forth by our founders, in our founding documents, striving each day to create that more perfect Union. Even through our failures in this regard, we have led the world in the advancement of freedom, justice, equality, and civil rights.
And through our trajectory through time, and the back-and-forth struggle that played itself out on a daily basis, the left needed the right, and the right needed the left. We kept each other on the correct path. There was tension and bad blood at times, but both sides needed the other. There’s a reason why people have two eyes. You cannot see an object with the proper depth and perspective without a fully functioning left and right eye. If you only see out of one eye, you’re myopic. If you only govern through one ideological lens, you’re politically myopic.
Every heat seeking missile utilizes all of its sensors. That’s what it’s doing on the path to its target; it is allowing all of its sensors to be engaged, to have input in determining its course to its goal. What would happen if one of the sensors shut down, or one sensor over-powered the others? The missile would lurch drastically off course, fly in the wrong direction, and completely miss its target. All the sensors must be firing at all times on all sides of the missile. And the back-and-forth dance must be synchronized, not antagonistic.
This is why free flowing debate is vital for the growth of our country, the broadening of our souls. And shutting down debate is so damaging to our country and ourselves, stunting our collective and individual development. The censoring of speech, the canceling of individuals, the shutting down of debate is like shutting down sensors on the missile; it will fly drastically off course. It can’t not because there is no counter balance to keep it in line, to help it fly straight. Many times, your fiercest enemy is your greatest ally. He brings the best out of you while shining a mirror on the worst parts of you.
If the heat seeking missile suddenly stopped in midflight, and took a hard turn away from its target, we would conclude that something went terribly wrong. One of the key sensors must have been shut down because the missile is flying in the wrong direction.
America has suddenly taken a sharp left-hand turn, flying way off target, no longer moving in the direction of freedom, justice, equality, civil rights, but towards the false promises of censorship, social justice, equity, group rights. And whether the people leading us are working under a misguided sense of benevolence, or a clear purpose of malevolence is immaterial. We are no longer progressing toward the vision of our founders, but the visions of Marx, Mao, Stalin, and others who propagated an ideology that has promulgated totalitarianism and oppression worldwide, tearing dozens of countries to shreds, and murdering hundreds of millions of people.
That is the end result of the myopia created when one side is shut down, canceled, censored. There is no counter-balance, no way to correct the course. That’s why totalitarianism, whether in the guise of fascism or communism, always ends with bodies bags stacked a mile high. There is no counter force to knock them off their deadly path.
We have started down that path. And slowly but surely the levers needed to right the course are being shut down, dismantled, invalidated by those blindly intent on continuing down this course like a driver stubbornly refusing to stop and ask directions while his car hurtles toward the edge of a cliff. We are being led by a fanatical myopia that has only one destination, destruction. We must do everything in our power to knock our country back on the right course, aiming for the right target because once we head over that cliff, all that is left for us is a fiery grave.
Judd Garrett is a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He is a frequent contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.