As many of you know, it's an election year! The air is filled with excitement and strain as we all try to cram our political views down each other's throats. Yet something is amiss this election year. The excitement for voting for your candidate of choice has turned into fear that if you don't a much worse option will take their place. It's not even really about what your political party stands for anymore, it's mostly just because the other seems to be that much worse.
Well, I'm here to give you some great news folks! None of them are good choices! You already knew that though. So why are our politics so FUBAR right now? That's not an easy question to answer. However, I do have an idea as to why our political climate is so volatile right now. Like so many things in life, it has to do with the internet.
Yes the internet, a series of tubes that can be both wonderful and horrific at the same time, has a lot to do with why everyone is so afraid of this election. There's more to it than that obviously, but it's a big influence in how we vote and what we believe. John Oliver recently did a piece on Scientific Studies, and why they're all the rage right now. In this wonderful piece of journalism he notes that even TV pundits acknowledge it's more about picking and choosing which ones you want to believe in.
It's not really about what's true and what's not. It's about spinning data in favor of things that people would like to believe. Like a glass of wine equaling an hour at the gym. Despite the epic facepalm at the thought that people actually believed that junk, it got me thinking. Isn't that how the digital age has been working for some time? Any Joe Shmoe can fire up a blog and start saying things like that.
Give them enough popularity or make them seem official and people will believe just about anything. The free exchange of information over the internet has backfired on us in a major way. It's not really making people smarter anymore. It's making them stupider. Why? Because we don't teach a scientific approach to life. And by that I mean have a healthy sense of doubt about the information you're being fed unless there's substantial evidence for the claim.
On to the politics part. We are truly afraid of our options right now. Most people I talk to about their candidate of choice really are more about the "It's not the other" mentality. There isn't much talk about platforms, or what our alternatives could be beyond the two major parties(because there are alternatives you know). There isn't even much mention of the idea that maybe we can be fed up with our government like it is and call for some major changes.
Oh wait, that's a sentiment that's growing every year. I don't particularly take a stance either way on the elections, since I don't particularly like trying to beat my head against a wall telling people how stupid it is to rely on someone else that much to fix the problems you believe should be fixed. Either way, I can honestly say one thing: The internet is wonderful. But we need to be teaching how to take information we find online with a grain of salt.
Especially considering most of our media outlets aren't really about honest journalism anymore. They're more about sensationalizing everything to make it look important. Then you have native advertising articles as well which I don't have much faith in people to be able to tell the difference. Call me bitter, but I know I'm not the only one. In fact, I'm pretty sure we're all fed up with this process on some level.
The good news is when the crap hits the fan I have faith that people will, after a short period of rioting and losing their minds, pick their lives back up and do their best to keep society going. Not for any reason other than that we all love our way of life in America and we don't want to give that up just because a bunch of dingbats are running the show.