WARNING: The subject matter of this post is political in nature. However, the intent is to identify and acknowledge a possible problem that has exacerbated the present political and social divide in our country, post election.
I’m writing over the weekend after the American Presidential Election. What a crazy week!
For those following this blog, you already know that neither candidate impressed me. Instead of voting for a candidate, my wife Tami and I voted for a party platform that best supported our values and morays. Also, it would be an understatement to say that we were flabbergasted by the immediate returns on Tuesday night, much like the rest of the country.
What has followed has been completely and utterly ugly. There have been:
- Incessant crying and whining by Millennials
- Leveraging by employees on their companies to have excused absences from work because the President-elect won and that hurt them emotionally
- A border watch (Canada) for celebrities who vowed to leave the country should the President-Elect win
- Biased media choking on air, in disbelief over election results
- Wailing and gnashing of teeth on both sides
- The name calling on both sides of two entire voting bases of Americans
- True stories of people treating one another poorly
- Fabricated stories of people treating one another poorly
- More humorous political attacks on voters via social media
- More vicious political attacks on voters via social media
- Just as many conspiracy theories as before the election via social media
Ah yes, social media. Facebook is an interesting example. I have a number of friends on this media platform that would be on the opposite side of my political spectrum. I like that because they are nice people and if I’m wise I can learn from their perspective.
And I have.
One of these friends very recently posted about a good number of instances where Trump followers were doing horrific things to followers of Clinton – whom my friend voted for. I didn’t see any of those things on my feed, but EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE…which reminded me of how social media can work.
For those of us on Facebook, we have friends who establish part of our “feed” content. But we also have an “independent” feed, separate from our friends that is based an an algorithm of our perceived likes and dislikes. Every time we click on a link, there is a digital note kept on the subject matter. What follows is our reception of special information to keep us interested in staying on this social platform, so that the owners can make more money off of advertising. This is a problem because we only see one perspective on things. It is also a problem because a good portion of this information is a collection of half-truth and outright nonsense to keep us engaged. Yes, that’s right – you heard it here first. Facebook is NOT a good source of news.
Okay, maybe not first…
Here’s the point. We get the “news” that we want, whether it is true or not. Further, a Trump supporter and a Clinton supporter likely receive radically opposite feeds. After 30 minutes on Facebook both sides of the political fence are thoroughly disgusted with the other and their “criminal acts,” further exacerbating the political divide in our country. Add to this an unbalanced mainstream media, we come to the realization that the fault is really that of American people like you and I. I submit that to a considerable respect we’ve faked ourselves out, duping ourselves into believing a flawed hyperbole of what is actually true about one another. And that is not only ugly, but uncommonly sad. Instead of dialogue too many of us have resorted to being controlled by our emotions as we check into another round of indoctrination by our media sources.
The Bible tells us to love one another and to make every effort to live in peace with everyone. That’s good advice for anybody. But it’s a difficult pill to swallow, even for the Christ follower who is caught up in this media web we’ve weaved, allowing our emotions to control us. However, regardless of who we are can we agree that we’ve all been called to something greater than this, something that leads us to peace instead of destroying one another?
Think of a time in your life when your emotions betrayed you, leading you to make a bad decision. How did you regain control of your emotions to right your life? In regard to social media, what is your purpose in using it? Can you handle what it does to you/us? How hard is it to not respond to subjects you know will lead you to a dark place? How shall we then live?