Pat's View: Weaponizing partisanship
By Patrick Robinson
The blending of facts and opinion has been part of human communication from the beginning. Rumors, especially in politics are part of the fabric. This isn’t hard to understand. Through upbringing, personal experience and even as some studies suggest DNA, we come to our political beliefs and mostly, stick by them. Though it’s also true that the idealism of youth often gives way to the pragmatism of more conservative beliefs as we age.
In the years before the internet the pace of news meant we had time to think, weigh, and even correct our personal expression. Up until 1986 we had codified into our national media something called the Fairness Doctrine in which equal time was provided to both sides of a debate. A vestige of this still remains in the State of the Union address the President delivers annually to Congress. The opposing political party has a chance to provide a response.
That time we once had is now a fading memory. With social media, plus other online forums, not to mention cable news and hyper partisan talk radio people seek the flavor they like. They watch Fox News or MSNBC, or One America or CNN. They hang on the words of Donald Trump or Joe Biden or literally enjoy the suffering of those they have come to hate.
The big piece that’s missing? Genuine empathy. We now see it as weakness. Feeling for another person is for losers. Right?
So.. here’s something you may not like. If you have a political opponent… and I don’t care if it’s Bernie Sanders or Lauren Bohbert, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
Stop hating. Stop it.
Your hatred, and I understand the motivation, clouds your mind.
It leads to an overabundance of assumptions and grouping of people and circumstances that may or may not be accurate. It has zero effect on those you hate. But it does affect you with toxic thoughts.
We are a nation of laws (or try to be) precisely for this reason. We don’t hang witches anymore.
All of which leads me to this.
We must stop weaponizing partisanship. I’m telling you that the nature of politics in America today is
largely driven by a need for profits. Anytime you are stirred to participate in a debate online, or watch your favorite news show you have to understand that you like it because they tell you what you want to hear and then try to sell advertising because you were drawn to it. How long would you stay if they really presented a dispassionate set of views from both sides? Boring.. right?
If you cannot see that you are being manipulated then there’s nothing more to be said and this nation is heading toward its ultimate demise.
The only way to prevent that is to wake up.
Stop hating. Rely on facts alone.