Before you start reading this, get up and go look in the mirror. The person staring back at you is living in one of the most unprecedented and tumultuous times in American history. We are facing some of the most pressing issues in recent memory: children are being brutally murdered, our forests are burning, the economy is in constant flux. One would think that due to the life-threatening implications that are related to a majority of these issues, those who have the power to do something about them would devote every breathing second of their careers to solving these deeply concerning issues. Yet, we live in a time where the lawmakers of this country are as polarized as they have ever been.
An example of this is the response to 16-year-old climate change activist, Greta Thunberg’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly. Instead of celebrating her for her courage and commitment to make a difference, many mocked and demeaned her, with some even making fun of her mental illness. It astonishes me that we have reached a point in America to publicly humiliate a child who just wants to help people. Yet, instances like this are now the norm in this country. Partisanship is at an all-time high, and the political chasm that has erupted continues to widen every day we stay complicit in allowing hate to be routine conversational verbiage. Social media has also turned into a platform where disdainful and harmful information can be spread. Whether it be from the president, a far right or left political group, or even your own mother and post that puts down someone or some idea just contributes to the problem. In today’s society, hate breeds hate, and the slope we are on has provided no skis or snowboards to stop our descent; in fact, it seems as though we are plunging down a black diamond mountain in a sled with Lysol covering the bottom, further increasing our speed. In this case, social media is Lysol, the instrument that has fueled so much controversy.
When President Trump sent out a tweet stating his impeachment would cause a “Civil War like fracture” within the country, much backlash was received. While many opposed, I found some truth. The civil war has already begun, yet it is not what one would consider a true war. This war has been conducted online for years, with each tweet and Instagram post adding to the fire. In fact, this is a cold war. This country has undergone so much polarization, it’s hard to still call us the United States of America. At the end of the day, politics has turned into a coliseum-like game, with both sides doing their best to outdo and embarrass their opponent. The ultimate goal of this game is to completely degrade and dehumanize one’s foe, and there seems to be no limit to what one will do to further their interests. If the American people wanted to watch a game, they could buy a ticket and enjoy themselves at the stadium. However, if our country fails to reunite, fails to triumph over the ubiquitous hate present in society, there’s no telling the price we may pay.