FRANKLIN, Tennessee — What has happened to America?
That was the question posed by Omar Hamada on Saturday at the Tennessee Eagle Forum Conference.
“Lately you’ve probably been asking the same thing to yourselves that I’ve been asking,” Hamada said. How did we get to the point that we are right now?”
Like many in his audience at the Embassy Suites hotel, who welcomed his analysis, Hamada believes the problems stem from turning our backs on God and not doing enough to combat the influence of liberalism.
Hamada, a decorated Army veteran, physician and Middle Tennessee business executive in the health care field, said the modern philosophy of liberalism is the biggest threat in the world and in the U.S. today, bigger even than the threat of ISIS. Not one to mince words, he described liberalism as “a malignancy, a scourge and a death knell.”
“It is destructive, it is evil, it is antithetical to everything we stand for and believe in as Christians and as conservatives,” said Hamada, who was born in Tallahassee, Florida, of Lebanese immigrant parents.
Hamada said liberalism was unleashed in the 1960s, yet there were still bonds that held the country together. People stood for the national anthem and children prayed in school. The culture wars intensified in the 1990s and liberalism began to increasingly take over the nation, he said. Conservatives began to adopt the ideology to try to pacify liberals and hold onto power. And it’s only getting worse.
“Over this past decade we’ve been in what seems to be a complete free fall,” Hamada said. “It’s like we’ve lost our ever-loving minds – completely.”
Today’s challenges include the rise of the “snowflake” generation and the toxic environment in which political opponents are out to destroy each other, Hamada said.
Young people today are steadfast in promoting their own ideas about what’s wrong with society. They fault humans for causing climate change and shame men and white Christians, he said. But they have tantrums when they are exposed to views they disagree with and “retreat into their safe spaces where they can play house, cuddle with teddy bears, craft with Play-Doh and have hug parties.”
“How did this happen? I hate to say it but we did it to ourselves,” Hamada said. “We overprotected our children. We buffered and protected them from hard work and from emotional pain. We wanted to provide them safe spaces in which to grow free of pain and challenge. But what we’ve created is a generation of emotionally inept kids, and they will be our leaders in another decade.”
Hamada said this isn’t true of every young person, and that he sees signs that the generation that follows will have mental toughness. He also said that older adults – whether liberal, conservative or libertarian – are also to blame for today’s strife.
Technology has allowed us to retreat behind screens that don’t talk back and don’t force us to contend with competing views, he said. As a result, we no longer seek deep relationships with others as often as we should. In addition, people are turning to addictions as a form of escape.
Conservatives need to be better at promoting civility instead of engaging in the politics of personal destruction, Hamada said. When liberals resort to name-calling and shaming, conservatives shouldn’t stoop to doing the same. “We must rise above and engage maturely and intellectually. We have no choice, unless we want to hasten the end of our republic.”
Christian conservatives should recognize they need to show love to everyone, he said.
“Though I hate the worldview of liberalism, I love liberals,” Hamada said. “I have friends and family who are liberals.”
Hamada recommended two books to read, including “Crucial Conversations,” a book written by corporate consultants but whose advice can be applied to various relationships. He also recommended “God & Government,” a book by Chuck Colson. In addition, he recommended a podcast by Ravi Zacharias called “Let My People Think.”