The Divided States of America
The Divided States of America. An ironic and seemingly inevitable conclusion to our country. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The sentiment of coming together will never be received by those who are certain their side is good and that the other is evil or hellbent on tearing the nation apart. But for those who believe that differences of opinion aren’t only healthy for a country but absolutely necessary, I have a challenge for you. The same challenge I impose on myself, albeit with varying success, whenever something controversial hits the airwaves: Learn the other side of the argument. Avoid the opinions of mainstream mediums that echo party norms. Research and find sources who challenge the status quo, sources you can learn to trust as honest human beings who make you think critically and who avoid spoon-feeding partisan pudding. Keep it always in mind that there are no monsters – only people trying to reconcile their upbringings with the media that surrounds them as they work to form good-intentioned opinions on how to improve the lives of their families, themselves, and their country.
We are in need of healing, but no politician or news anchor is going to do it for us. We have to heal this country ourselves. Grassroots medics. We must become wary of what we consume with the realization that malleability to externalities is part of the human condition. We need to treat our neighbors with respect, even if they’re on the opposite side of the aisle. We must resist the urge towards outrage that radiates from so many headlines with nuclear virality. Learn from each other and improve yourself in the process.
I am very, very far from actualizing these ideals, but they are the goals I will strive for in this new year and for all new years to come. I hope you will join me.
I’ll be spending more of my time thinking about how I can make a tangible and beneficial impact to the healing process, starting with two news sources posted below that helped me personally in understanding the opinions of both parties on myriad topics, often tempering my reactions to ongoing events with a deeper clarity. I am not pushing these as the best or most honest news sources of all time, only as examples of bipartisan news for those curious or as a starting ground for someone already looking for such mediums. Above all, it is important that we trust the means through which we construct our realities. If you have trusted sources with similar intentions as these please send them my way!
1. Flipside: a daily e-mail newsletter that covers one recent national event at a time, presenting journalist opinions from left and right that are curated to give the best argument and stay within factual confines. I was skeptical of this platform at first but learned to trust it after several occasions of reading testimonies that altered my existing view or gave it a much-needed nuance.
2. Rising: a 1-hour daily news segment on The Hill that features both a left and rightwing anchor who are incredibly knowledgeable and refused to do any show that didn’t have such a bipartisan format. Their honesty, respect for one another, and determination to get both sides of the argument presented earned my trust quickly after finding their segment a few months ago. Plus this is easily digestible for those accustomed to watching the news.
Let's all get along yo!