We live in a time when we are constantly manipulated by the world around us. From the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep, we are bombarded by content that is supposed to influence our behavior, our ideology, and our politics. If you are right leaning, left leaning, center, independent, extreme, there is a bubble, or echo chamber for you.
Our politics have mirrored sports. We pick our teams. We root for our teams. We want our rivals to lose. There re mascots, and 24/7 commentary. Radio shows for each team exist to disparage rivals and blindly support their team. Nowadays, people are actually buying hats and shirts, and sometimes underwear supporting their team. It's not healthy.
I have watched our country become more and more divisive over the half century I have been alive. I asked myself Why? All the time. The first thing I notice is that fear is used – mostly by the right – to manipulate their base. For example: "They're coming for your guns." "They stole the election." "Sharia Law is coming." "Immigrants are stealing your jobs." "They are taking away your freedoms." And so on, and so on. I see it on the left too. Cancel Culture is alive and well. We don't give people second chances anymore, we immediately want to tear them down because they didn't become "woke" fast enough.
Politics are now simplified to memes, tweets, and headlines. Most people don't do the homework, they only seek out the information that will support their belief or ideology – even if it isn't true. Due to this, people are misinformed by the politicians who want to manipulate them for personal gain. Science is now political.
Climate Change, Elections, Vaccines, and even the shape of the earth are being challenged as lies or a conspiracy. Why? Well, that is a longer blog post, but the short of it is: People want to feel special, they want to feel comfortable, and they don't like change.
The problem with this is that when you scare people, manipulate them, or if you frame the opposition as the enemy or monster coming to destroy them, people will respond violently. Or, in the case of The Shelter Series, destroy our country.
So the next time you see someone throw misinformation your way, don't insult them, don't dismiss them, instead, talk to them and get to know them. Through this, maybe they will listen to reason. Individual issues are where are debates should live, not towards a whole group of people.
If you want to read about how an authoritarian leader successfully takes over the country, then pick up The Shelter Series today. Available on Amazon.