We, as Americans, would like to think that our days of darkness are over, but they aren't. I'm shocked at a number of people who tell me, "I don't believe that," after I tell them a fact. Just the other day, I compared the tax rates of two states, one Democratic and one Republican. The Democratic state has a lower state tax rate. The person I told said that she didn't believe me, to which I replied: "I'll send you my source."
Though the tax codes of two states may not seem like a fact that someone must believe, it actually contributes to the stereotypes of Democrat majority states having higher tax rates than red states. That's just not true. I don't just see this in terms of taxation or economics. I see it with science, with medicine, with religion, and with silly things aimed at polarization. I've watched a video with my own eyes of our President saying something, yet when I share this with another person they won't listen unless I have the video pulled up. Still, they may or may not believe me.
How did we become a nation of people who don't know the difference between saying, "I believe," and stating a fact?
The Huffington Post ran a piece on America's slow descent into a country of scientific skeptics in January of 2017. The author seemed to come to the conclusion that instead of being scientifically minded, Americans argue about topics more like lawyers. We will say anything to anyone as long as it means being right.
It doesn't matter what the scientific consensus about climate change is, what the medical definition of life is, or whether or not vaccines are actually bad for you. Americans will argue. No one has a skeptic mind anymore, though we are the skeptic of concepts and of certain people.
Our concept of our own constitutional values is entirely individualistic as well. Americans are like that one kid in the candy shop who wants his snickers and he's going to cry to his mother until he gets it. Individuals who have never cared about the flag, the NFL or police brutality suddenly have an opinion on last weekends NFL protests. It's as if my fellow Americans have picked the "side" they deem to be "coolest" without putting any actual thought in the messages that they're sending out.
If a conservative's speech gets canceled, pundits cry "free speech" and "censorship." If a Football player performs a completely legal action to protest for a more progressive idea, then conservatives will call for the censorship of that individual. Then, the other side will start to defend free speech. In the end, both sides are wrong about free speech. We can say whatever we want within a legal realm. It's everyone's right to boycott the NFL, but that doesn't mean it's going to change anything. Turning your attention to the actual problem behind the argument will change things. I didn't comment on the NFL spectacle because I've never watched American football, nor am I a person of color or a veteran (like most of the people I see commenting on the protest). It is not my place and I recognize that.
Americans need to start to recognize their own place in the machine. Change begins with you. If you don't like hypocrisy then quell your own before you reach for the keyboard to berate someone else's actions. I'm shocked that I still see people blaming the other side.
Has it ever occurred to any of you that a lack of constructive dialog and demogoguery caused these issues in the first place?