How bad is the polarization really?

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Bilbo Baggins ― J.R.R. TolkienThe Lord of the Rings

You cannot but think and believe that our world is crumbling. When looking at the various news stations. We see riots, burning, screaming people, guns, parades, and not to forget the journalists painting a bleak picture of the current climate.

Not to forget the politicians moving away from mudslinging but heading straight for the pile of rocks instead – more in-your-face damage. Forget about putting on the boxing gloves. Each side accuses each other of severe crimes, treason, deep state, Russian connection, and xx-gates are coming out of the woodwork.

This is a political shitshow, and does not lack entertainment … just free beer and popcorn (no salt, of course).

Adding fuel to the fire, never disappointing the audience with starting new fires, the social media platforms have stepped up their political game and censoring. User walls are flooded with chaos images, nasty quotes, hostile videos, and other propaganda not seen since the 1930s and in some Eastern Europe and Asia regions. They are stirring up emotions of either side of the political aisle. That seems to be the sole purpose. Create havoc, and chaos seems to be their mission.

Our news media have gone into full conspiracy and propaganda mode, spewing lies, hate, and increases the concern that a civil war is looming. All networks are equally poor at reporting independent journalism, and this has spread across the pond to Europe, where news stations are transmitting a one-side reporting.

People are no longer able to distinguish between facts or fiction, as it is so muddled these days, and we are being force-fed what to think.

After watching the news, viewers and the public believe that the country is fully polarized and can longer talk civilly. That violence will ensue if you utter a certain opinion on any given topic … even sports events.

I wonder if it is even safe to go shopping, visit the gas station, buy supplies at the local farmer’s market, or just a stroll to Home Depot. From what I see in the news, people end up in verbal abuse, fistfights, and hanging on to cars’ bumpers. It is bloody insane out there.

Will I get attacked for driving a pick-up truck, wear a t-shirt with a logo or image, or order a meat sandwich?

Is the polarization real?

From a layman perspective, the polarization is full-blown and we are in civil war mode. Families, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and the fringes of your social network are no longer able to have polite conversations. Everything is a hostile encounter!

However, when I change from pajamas to regular clothes and head into the community, I’m greeted with a completely different perspective.

The world is not burning. My neighbors are not imitating Rooftop Koreans. Shops are not boarded up. Roads are not blocked. It is not the alternate future as Marty McFly experienced.

Contrary to the images and messages we are bombarded with from our social media walls and the news, the world, and my community seem to be doing well.

I pull into the gas station and greet other patrons with a “hey dude!” and receive acknowledging nods back and smiles.

I walk around in Home Depot, nodding to neighbors, and all kinds of people from my community, different ethnic backgrounds, various religions, a color palette of nations, and political beliefs. They all smile back at me, and they all go about their business.

I do not see the polarization that we are told exist. Perhaps it is because we live far away from the big cities. But I like to believe it is because people are not as hostile as portrayed in the media. We are a decent bunch of misfits on this planet, and we all know to treat each other with respect – no matter background, color, religion, and political affiliation.

It gives me hope that the polarization is not as severe. We will get through this shitshow!

It is also highlighted that people use social media platforms to utter beliefs and messages they only want to utter from their obscure social media profile’s safety and anonymity. People are excellent at being experts on all kinds of topics, without having a degree or experience in that field.

Social media platforms allow people to express opinions and views that aim to hurt or upset the viewer, and they can easily block any negative or opposing views. They find comfort in like-minded social trolls and believe they belong to a powerful community, virtually. They all become journalists, and millions can see their opinions.

Suddenly it is no longer a question of interacting and contributing with constructive inputs. It is merely a race for likes and comments. People seek gratification in their online fame. That is what is causing online hatred and division. And then the news fuel these “journalists” by bringing some of these social media “celebrities” and “political warriors” on the news.

It proliferates the problems we are having in society.

It fuels the polarization theory.

If you do not get enough likes for a post, then you change the wording and imagery for the next post, raising the shock factor—all for the sole purpose of generating likes.

The villains in this game are the politicians, social media giants, and celebrities – and of course, the groups causing violence and damages.

We, the people, who populate the country in the suburbs and countryside, are actually doing well. There’s no fighting. We continue with our lives, and we respect each other. That is what life is about, and that is what gives me hope for the future.

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