How Narrow Thinking Has Become

We’re going on month 6 of Covid-19 I think and it’s been a ride, a rollercoaster ride of human emotions and political nonsense. Pretty much everything that’s wrong with American politics has reared its ugly head to new heights. Absurdity is the norm and keeping any sense of balance during all of this has been very difficult to achieve.

So far the worst realization during all of this has been how fickle people are and how easily they pivot from one reaction to the next. At first, for about 10 days, most Americans were on board in protecting each other and praising health care workers and scientists for working so hard to defeat the virus and save lives.

Then the conspiracy theories came out of the woodwork, or actually somebody’s basement. Such ridiculous made up accusations included that the virus is fake, Democrats orchestrated it with the help of the Chinese, face masks don’t really work and cause carbon dioxide poisoning, mandated masks wearing was training women to become Muslims, a vaccine was being developed so that Bill Gates could embed microchips into people and control them, and on and on. The sad thing is people really believe a lot of this garbage.

How can two sides possibly reason with each other when one side can’t even acknowledge truth no matter how much evidence supports it?

This isn’t to say that I’m excluding the left from behaving is irrational ways. Supporting abortion up until birth is heinous. Allowing violent mobs to take over cities is wrong. Okay, maybe some of the money earmarked for the police would be better spent trying to improve communities but to completely get rid of law enforcement is just plain stupid.

And why are both sides so wacky? Why are we so quick to accept any lie or bad behavior as long as it comes from our side of the aisle?

Well, I think part of it is competition and the need to feel like we’re part of a tribe. If the star quarterback of your favorite football team is a rapist, wife beating jerk, you’ll probably look the other way as long as he helps your team win.

Other contributing factors are social media and biased news reporting. We all live in media bubbles where we pick and choose where we get our news from. Most of us aren’t going to like watching news that challenges our beliefs or political ideologies.

It’s easy to unfriend those people who think differently, even if it’s own own family we’ll have to awkwardly face one day. Just change the channel when a news story isn’t flattering of your political hero. Only visit websites that reinforce your own thinking and you’ll always feel super smart.

Personally, I think we were far better informed when we consumed much less “news”. When I was growing up there were only three TV channels (four if you counte PBS) and most people only watched a half an hour of their local news from a local news station and a half an hour of world news with Peter Jennings, or Walter Cronkite or whoever.

We were consuming the same news and the news wasn’t nearly as biased or just plain downright fake as it is today.

People also read their local newspapers which kept them better informed of their own communities. Local news helped people feel connected to their own communities and neighbors.

Those things still exists, just barely, but a lot of us are getting our news from elsewhere. Instead, we’re regularly consuming something that is kinda like that Bill Gates chip because what we’ve digested into our systems is now controlling us. Our emotional and intellectual DNA of sorts has been manipulated to become a consumer of that which feeds us, even if what feeds us is complete trash or total lies.

So how do we know what is true? Where should we get our information? A good rule of thumb is if the news you’re watching doesn’t challenge your beliefs or make you a little uncomfortable you’re probably not getting the full story. If the outlet you receive your news from is mostly commentary like MSNBC or FoxNews, you can bet that you’re getting a tiny sliver of the truth because it’s coming from a very narrow point of view.

If you want less biased news try the Associated Press, NPR, or PBS. And for goodness sakes don’t believe everything you see shared on Facebook.

Basically, just use common sense and think for yourself. Take some science classes or read some science books and learn how difficult it is to get any hypothesis, theory or law accepted by the scientific community. There has to be evidence, mountains and mountains of it before it’s accepted.

More than anything, don’t let your political beliefs become your god or moral compass. And don’t think you’re always right unless you’re me. 😉

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