United States politics has always been a game of Blue team vs. Red team, but the degree of polarization only started to become apparent to me when Donald Trump took office.
With a larger land area than the sum of the 27 countries in the European Union, the sharp polarization within the USA comes as no surprise. It is one of the biggest, richest, and yet youngest countries in the world, only 244 years old.
My opinion of American politics in the age of information, or disinformation, is that the division seems to be increasing due to our digital echo chambers. Sites like 4chan, an anonymous forum where right-wing extremists and conspiracists love to spread hate and false information, or even Facebook and Instagram, can be used as harmful mystification machines by having false information and propaganda being spread by people who have no clue of politics or political theory but have extreme confidence that their opinions are correct.
Ironically, in the age of information, we’re all living in our own narrative bubble, supported by our echo-chambers and amplified by the digital algorithms that show us what we like and validate our point of view. The people who share our echo chambers receive the same kind of information we do, and so we talk to them because they too, can validate our point of view. We’re smart, you see? We’re woke because we know the truth.
MEEP! False. You are not woke if you only talk to people who share your narrative bubble. As a matter of fact, you are quite the opposite. You are… slept.
The country is already divided to such a degree that we need to have open conversations with people who have different views. Not only to understand the opposite side but maybe even teach someone a thing or two. We can’t forget that America is a haven for crazy uneducated people such as Creationists who reject science and the theory of evolution, Flat Earthers who believe the Earth is truly flat, QAnon conspiracists who believe the world is run by Satan-worshiping sex-trafficking pedophiles disguised as democratic politicians, and just plain ol’ racists.
We need an educated population to make educated political decisions. And for this, we need to talk to each other and spread real information, facts, and examples of things we could be doing better. We need to inform ourselves and each other on the history of the world, geography, diverse cultures, examples of failed and successful policies and politics, and learn from these. When uneducated people tell us they are afraid of Biden because he’s a socialist, and in their heads, Socialism = Communism = Fidel Castro’s dictatorship, instead of giving up on that conversation, we should teach them about the reality of Biden being the most right-wing-leaning democratic candidate in the USA, about the theory of communism vs. the failed communist dictatorships in Latin America, and about all the successful socialist democracies that exist today such as France, Iceland, Portugal, the Netherlands, Italy.
The truth is that if you’re deleting people off Facebook and Instagram because they don’t share your political views, you’re not as woke as you think you are. Instead of seeing these people as ill-minded or cold-hearted, we should see them as uneducated people who just need a push and an open conversation with someone outside of their narrative bubble. So instead of pushing them away, let’s give them that educational push.