Publisher’s Perspective: The American Civil(ity) War (Opinion)
What. The. Hell. I swear, I ask myself that same question every single day. Maybe in a different tone, or using more aggressive words, but the core of the question is still the same.
Are we happy with anything nowadays? I kid you not, I could post something as innocent as, “I love Tahoe sunsets,” and someone would inevitably chime in with something like, “They would be better if there wasn’t smoke,” or tourists, or Lime scooters, or whatever – you get the point.
When did we forget how to be nice to one another and gain the right to be as ornery and condescending as we wanted to? I get it. This is America and we can say whatever we want. Okay, sure, but at the end of the day, at what cost?
I realize there’s a sliding scale when it comes to a differing of opinion. There’s far left, and far right and everything in between and even beyond. But even in the middle, people you’ve known for years, possibly even family members have turned a corner and we are finding ourselves directly in the middle of a civility war.
Perhaps the pandemic exacerbated what was already rolling downhill for a while now. If that’s the case, this election has only turned that into a free fall on steroids.
What happens when the outcome is final? If you think it will magically get better, give me a one-way ticket to the dreamland you’re living in. In all seriousness, there’s a slight fear towards what is brewing. It’s an unknown at this point, but if you’re reading through the tealeaves, you can see that massive snowball is heading for a cliff.
People are angry. And if they’re feeding that anger through reading material on the Internet, they need to realize that the more they read, the deeper the hole the algorithm puts them in. It thinks it’s being helpful – giving them more of what they are consuming – but it’s like sugar. At some point it’s detrimental.
Look, this country was founded on a difference of opinion – I’m not saying we should be holding hands and singing Kumbaya about everything. But there’s a difference between conflicting opinions and conflict. They do not need to go hand in hand. We should be reminding ourselves of this every day. You can disagree without vile jabs and degrading remarks.
There’s a fine line between being passionate and being pompous. Think about the last remarks you made. Which side of the line did you walk on? Did you need to say it the way you did? Did it make you feel good? Was it at somebody’s expense?
Perhaps the worst question to ask is: who loses in all of this?
The answer is our children. What type of environment are we raising them in where this type of communication is okay? What straw house foundation are we building for them to navigate? We’re paving communication roads with landmines.
A while back I wrote a food column where I mentioned a tasty dish also being healthy was a win because you could indulge and not feel as guilty. One of the comments told me to move to Russia. So yeah, I’ll anticipate at least one response like that to this column, but it won’t be without shaking my head and saying the same thing I started this column with.
I don’t want to seem overly negative, but there’s probably no way to walk this back. On average it takes about two weeks to form a habit. We are well past the point of no return.
However, if we can change one or two instances of our own behavior each day, perhaps we can slow the downward progression because in about a month we’ll get an announcement about a new president – some will cheer, some will be infuriated.
Regardless, none of us will be happy with every decision that is made as it relates to our families, this country and us. Some decisions will anger us to the point of lashing out. Sometimes that is what’s needed. But the main thing to take away is that it doesn’t need to be all the time.
Above all else, the people that really need to win this election are we the people; and we the people starts with coming together.
Publisher Rob Galloway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-542-8046.
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