Welcome to the United States of Echo Chambers
"And you may ask your self, what is this country I live in? And you may ask yourself, my god how did I get here?" This Talking Heads reference seems so relevant in America today. Each week another White House stroke of the pen and people take to social media to react in stilted partisan politics speak, most of their talking points regurgitated from what they heard on cable tv. Sounds familiar? It’s because it is exactly what the president does. Even those that are vehemently against him - literally act just like him on social media. How is this helping the world. The simple answer is it’s not, so stop.
Every week I post on social media often questions that I hope will facilitate dialogue but then it always happens some either far left or far right person starts calling people names like communist, you should live in another country or (if you are far left) you’re a racist and misogynist if you support this president. It never ever fails.
And I usually have to step in and remind them I’m not gonna stand for that shit so knock it off. With the internet we’ve been given this tremendous gift but we are using it like a bunch of 2 years olds, screaming at others who disagree with us and calling them names when they refuse to see things our way.
The truth is we’re on a dangerous speedway and soon the extremists on both sides of the isle will tear the already worn seam that is holding the country together. According to Bill Fulton, a former FBI confidential informant, one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. Fulton went undercover and blew the lid off a far right extremist group that took up arms. Fulton expressed major concern on a podcast on Fox News Radio, that too many americans are starting to support extremist behavior , especially if it lines up with their ideology. He said it exists on both sides with the Antifa movement growing stronger on the left.
"And you may find yourself , Living in a shotgun shack, And you may find yourself , In another part of the world. And you may ask yourself, well How did I get here?" We started living in our own echo chambers.
The solution we need to start talking to each, we need to reach out to people who are political opposites and not only start talking but also start listening. I was forced to do this when I started working for Fox News three years ago, and slowly i began to let my guard down and start listening to another point of view, it didn’t change my politics, however it did change me. I began to listen more and approach those with differing political viewpoints to hear them.
I realized many conservatives were not racist, bigoted, misogynists, as a liberal that point was pounded into my head. I recently sat down with high school friends who are very pro-Trump, and we chatted and it was a good chat, I was interested in her point of view, and I hope to have more of these talks. That is what we all should do.
Marc Erlbaum pointed me to others who are doing this as well, Joan Blades, one of the founders of MoveOn.org, and John Gables, a former staff member of the administrations of both George Bush and Mitch McConnell. Together these politically polar opposites have come together to help facilitate dialogues across the country.
Blades founded LivingRoomConversations.org, which as you might’ve guessed facilitates conversations between people across the country of differing values. While Gable founded Allsides.com, a news outlet that curates stories on various sides of every issue.
What I’m saying is you have a say in the way this goes, but the way out is not by digging in your heels and screaming Russiagate, or damn commy, every time someone disagrees with you.
"And you may ask yourself, Am I right? Am I wrong? And you may say yourself, “My God! What have I done?"
It’s up to you, it can be the same as it ever was or something completely different, it’s your call. It’s once in a lifetime.