We all have a lot of frustration fueling us right now. We’re being led by politicians who’ve made it crystal clear that their interests are being driven solely by the bottom line, regardless of the human cost, and we’re feeling powerless do to anything to change it. We’re seeing the masses manipulated by mind games, the biggest of their manipulators being placed on pedestals while they feed the people overstuffed propaganda. We’re seeing unrest over issues that should’ve been put to rest decades ago.
Here in the U.S., we’ve become a country divided because we’ve let propaganda—right and left both—spin uncontrolled, and what began as a few whirlwinds has grown into fleets of tornadoes, left unchecked, now tearing across the land. As war threatens to break out on an international level, so too does civil war threaten the United States. This is because we’ve all allowed emotion to infiltrate areas where we should be merely calmly disagreeing. But that’s what spin is designed to do: agitate people. So now, instead of arguing over policy, we’re arguing over issues that are deeply personal and only superficially related to the policies attached to them.
The meme machine got the war started, but we all helped to make it grow. We’ve all fed it, and we’ve watched the divide grow with it. We’ve grown angry, not just at our politicians, but at one another. Everything has become so black and white, the lines drawn deep into the sand. Those of us with any continued passion for the world are left wondering how long it will be until we’re just too tired to care anymore. The daily battles have become exhausting, even when you don’t personally engage, and the memes do nothing but preach to their respective choirs. They don’t change minds; they fortify them. Sharing one does nothing to help your cause, but will most inevitably bring you conflict.
I’ve been having a hard time not sharing recent news articles. I’ve mostly succeeded in leaving alone even what I feel to be the most relevant articles. I want to invite discussion, but I’m even more fearful of opening up a debate that will lead to nothing but added frustration. Let’s face it, no matter who is “right” in all this, every one of us has become so emotionally attached to our issues that motivated reasoning absolutely must be driving the debates on both sides. As right as I believe I am in my stances, my reasoning could be just as ridiculous as I believe the opposing side’s to be. That’s how motivated reasoning works, and it always looks ridiculous from the outside.
Unfortunately, this motivated reasoning has become so strong that neither the extreme right nor the extreme left is going to be able to concede. So how do we overcome this? Can we overcome this? If we’re going to find a way, it will likely need to begin with all Americans all taking a step back. We need to be reading and watching world news, and from a variety of countries—outside of the U.S. propaganda machine. What does the rest of the world think about all of this? If we restrict ourselves to partisan news sources, we’re each only continuing to grope blindly at separate pieces of the elephant in that pitch-dark room.
Even if you’re right and the world is going to descend into chaos if things don’t change they way you see fit, you’re wasting your time and energy screaming about it on social media, and you’re contributing to the divide. If you’re serious about your views, live by your convictions. Vote, and encourage others also to vote. Write your representatives, letting them know where you and the people in your community stand, reminding them who their true constituents are. Work to have legislation introduced to remove the money from politics. Support businesses that back your ideals, and make sure you’re informed when it comes to which corporations, if any, deserve your business.
And if your views do not match with the majority of the world’s, perhaps you should consider the possibility that you’re the one in need of a change in perspective. What does the outside picture see that you’re unable to? It’s okay to be wrong—as long as you do something to fix the mistake. Take a long, hard look at what the rest of the world is saying. Are you even listening?