Republican or democrats. Liberal or conservative. It wasn’t long ago these were just words used to describe one small aspect of our lives. Politics were not as important to a person’s overall character. Our sports teams divided us more than a ballot ever did, but only on game day. Now, these are used as insults, as a new form of hate and bigotry. Gone are the days where people hate each other for things like race or religion. Now there is a war of mostly words perpetuated by the extreme on each side, causing a nation who was always divided politically to be on the verge of fracturing for the first time since the Civil War.
What divides us is an illusion…
Made up by men in their confusion. Words from Ziggy Marley, admittedly speaking of religion but relevant here nonetheless. The world has become a closer place overall, with most of it connected from our pockets. Technically, not much has changed in the past 30 years except how we interact. We must first realize that a person’s values are usually related to the environment they are raised in. A person in Chicago has a different set of values from someone in Eldon, Missouri. Or basically any urban to rural environment, but our needs remain mostly the same. The problem is now we interact with each other on a daily basis without ever understanding this. We judge others on their opinions with no real knowledge of where these opinions come from. Then we accept opinions as fact.
Newt Gingrich summed up the problem fairly simply at the RNC. We live in a society where feeling are considered just as, if not more valid, than actual facts. The bigger issue is he did not view this as a negative, but a positive. The political environment has used emotion, mainly fear, to control the narrative. The choose to push people further by playing into how they feel, rather than reassuring them with facts. The other side relies too heavily on facts, but forgets they are dealing with people. These issues were always there, but in the past they were found in different music and some comedians. Now, we elected a reality star as President and act surprised when our political landscape resembles a circus. It’s really up to us people to fix this, we cannot count on another to repair the damage we caused.
Remember, we talked about morally bankrupting the American dream. Did you pay attention?
Divided we stand, together we fall
The world has become a much closer place. We can get instant news from across the globe. Speak to people from all different nations. This should have brought the world closer together. Instead, now we have everyone looking to control speech and, as a result, thought. The rise of the 24 hour news network put an end to actual journalism, each network competing to get the scoop, but instead of hours, now they have minutes or even seconds. Fact checking is for later, get the story out there. The first stories control the narrative. There are many things people considered facts just because it was news. Honestly, we should be still getting our news from the printed press. Sure, journalists do have their bias, but at least they take time to research.
On the other side we have social media. The endless onslaught of memes and hate posts. We are all connecting in ways we never dreamed possible, but it tends to drive us apart. People think our national motto is In God We Trust and forget E Pluribus Unum, out of many, one. We focus on the differences and forget what makes us the same. We focus on God, and fight over which one. We judge each other daily on how we dress, how we eat and what we believe. Everyone seems to want to be in everyone else’s business. But who we are is basically a culmination of our own experiences. We can’t force that on others. Everyone wants to be a Twitter or Facebook activist without ever leaving their own house and joining the real world. We trap ourselves in the tech that should be bringing us closer together. Instead of learning about different ideals, we just attack them. It’s the point where words like liberal and conservative become hateful slurs and not a brief description of political belief. Those views are only a small part of who we are as people. If we can move past the superficial, we may just find we have a lot more in common than we think.
A Bright New Future
Maybe it’s time we stop trusting our future to our current leaders and become the next generation of politicians. Move past complaining and actually be the change our future wants to see. Get out there, start with local and state, become leaders of our own destiny. Stop suggesting we vote in more entertainers like Kid Rock and Oprah. Move past career politicians who only support their doners. If we want to actually make this country great again, we need to rise up out of our chairs and do it ourselves. The future can be bright, but only if we light the way.