Don't get me wrong, protest, questioning authority, freedom of speech and debate are all signs of an engaged populace, a healthy democracy. But that isn't what we are seeing these days. What we are starting to see is very unhealthy. Vilification, hatred, racism, personal attacks, ignorance, intolerance, and bigotry. It's a slippery slope we are on. Easy to get sucked in to the negativity and hate of the "other side," whichever it may be. Most Americans are plugged into media sources which specialize in fueling our emotions and furthering our prejudices, rendering us passionately pissed off but not necessarily better informed. It's like we're getting high on hate.
How to stop this trashy trend? How to transform the social environment into something more constructive and positive?
What we listen to, read, watch, forward on email, post on Facebook, how we think and talk about what's going on in our country....Is it hate-based? Does it bash the other side? If it is (and so much of it is, let's be honest) then it's poisoning our minds and hearts, dumbing us down, leaving us distracted, polarized, and ineffective as citizens.
We are the sum of our parts. Each of us matters. What we consume, what we produce matters. So, unplug from those sources of sensationalism and theatrics. Seek substance and thoughtful analysis. It is possible to disagree without attacking each other. It is possible to come together and talk with like-minded people and not bash the other side. Let's keep it constructive.
By doing so, we can begin to transform ourselves into truly informed, effective citizens capable of coming together for our Common Good. I would even offer that it is our obligation to do so.