Thoughts on Political Process, Social Media, and Polarization of the Masses… and about Fear of Change. This has been boiling up inside as I read more about both “sides” of both the #noDPL Standing Rock protests against the oil pipeline as well as the occupation of the #Malheur wildlife refuge in Oregon by the Bundy family and militia. Although I still don’t agree with the occupation of the Malheur wildlife refuge by the Bundys, reading some of the stories about the trial and things that have been said have made me a little more understanding than I used to be. It reminds me once again that the truth is often somewhere between the extremes we hear. I’m also blown away by the incompetence of the Oregon prosecutors who blew the case, regardless of my opinion on whether they’re guilty or not. It seems like the whole crazy experience does a lot to confirm some of the Bundys primary complaints of incompetent government. I personally think there’s a lot to learn from this whole situation.
I know I have many friends who will just immediately lash out that what the Bundys did was horrible and wrong and I have other friends who will immediately defend the Bundys regardless of their methods. That seems to be pretty much the mood of the country right now, lash out without thinking or reading or learning more. Lash out to defend what you wish to believe, because you don’t want things to be any different than what you’ve always believed. It’s uncomfortable to see things any differently than what you’re used to. There is actually a lot of fear involved, fear that maybe you weren’t as justifiably angry as you thought. Fear of change; of governmental control; of militia taking over the country. Fear that someone’s going to see you with egg on your face and then that makes you terribly angry.
20 or 100 years from now people will be studying what happened at this time., And they will be amazed at how quickly things got out of control and how bullheaded people were.
So, before you cry out with your explanations of why it was obviously one way or the other, stop and think. Facebook and social media have become so incredibly overreactive to what is in front of us. People have been encouraged to make quick short passionate comments, or derisive comments. The way Facebook operates is to reinforce what ever your apparent belief is based on the things you like and share. They stop showing you the other side of the coin. This process causes more and greater division and less common sense. This becomes incredibly apparent during a political process of any sort.
The other side of the coin here is that Facebook also allows us to show what’s really happening during events and anywhere in the country with our live videos and observations and photos; to show things the media never shows anymore because they’re owned by big corporations and have vested interests. So Facebook can also be a grassroots tool of great impact. News used to be non biased, with journalists searching out the truth. Now it is an entertainment circus aimed at increasing ratings. Levelheaded people on Social media have the ability to get real information out there to the world in ways that have never before possible. However that falls apart when all people do is attack each other.
So in the words of the immortal Youngbloods song, “Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together try to love one another right now”