Social separation based on political leanings.
They can be hazardous, because if we maintain our news sources and our information based on what our friends share, our perspective on reality will be altered further in the direction of our left/right or authoritarian/libertarian scalars.
Ideally, we need to engage in discussion with people on the subjects of politics and events and actions that can and should be taken. Healthy, robust, discussion broadens our minds and expands our options for solutions. That’s the conventional wisdom and has applied for most of my life.
If I may throw “Free Will” into the post, I would like to say that for anyone, their political leanings are not necessarily of their choosing. People tend to think that where they lay on the grid politically is based on logical reasoning, of course. Any position that we hold is based on our own interpretation of facts and trends and how they intersect with our values. Our values are based on our upbringing, on our teachings, on our view of where we fit within the Hobbes-Locke-Rousseau philosophies on governance. What we think is based on a variety of factors and perception is skewed by our realities and social interactions.
This does not mean that there are multiple realities, of course, but multiple interpretations of reality. This is why those answers that are obvious to me are whack to you. This is what makes cross-spectrum discussions difficult and the larger problem is the sourcing of facts.
My difficulty is in choosing whether or not to engage with people who don’t source their facts. I am deeply interested in discussions with conservatives who share the same respect for sourced and reliable facts. I am impatient and unable to have reasoned discussions with people who choose to source their facts based on conspiratorial or slanted news sites.
An alarming number of people are choosing their media based on their political persuasions; sites that fit their own narratives and in place of the mainstream media. The mainstream media are hated and mistrusted as being slanted either right or left and not reporting The Truth to The Sheeple. We use conspiracy sources because they feed our egos, help us to believe that “We are Woke” to reality that few others can see.
Quite honestly, the media have been complicit in this mistrust and I would admit that it is only fair to accept that the print and internet based web media are up against harsh economic realities. Making money and profit are serious challenges for the media and they are relying on outside sources for their reportage. The news services such as Reuters and the Associated Press are replacing local reporters. In the national news our television media and cable media are failing spectacularly. They are reporting and broadcasting opinion in place of investigative reporting. CNN and Fox are competing for the same audience, it seems. They are looking to attract the white conservative Trump voter.
During the election cycle, the networks invited ever expanding panels of Trump surrogates and liberal journalists to offset the conservatives (less so on Fox, of course.) People talked over each other on how to interpret the news, yet the networks presented very little reporting on the issues that should have been used to help people decide. There was non-stop coverage of Clinton’s email and the Clinton Foundation as “how to interpret,” but very little actual reporting on the facts. There was very little investigation into Trump’s many conflicts of interest that would destroy the political careers of any other presidential candidate. The media surrendered in this election and provided what the people wanted in order to maintain their ratings (and pay the bills.)
We were excited, at least, during the first week in November, that the election would soon be over and the news would return to normal. Normal being a relative function of reality, of course. We expected that Fox would continue beating its Clinton drum against the new president-elect, but for the rest of it we thought that we would be able to discuss issues with friends again and let the rancor of the election be behind us.
We didn’t expect that Trump would win. We thought that people would see through him in the states such as Florida, Ohio, Michigan and perhaps even in Arizona, clearly enough that even conservatives would not be able to vote for him.
Trump won and nothing has changed. We are still at each other’s throats. Democrats are blaming each other, and there are even those who are admonishing the Democrats for “not speaking to the white working class.” It’s not a good situation.
Here’s the quandary:
We can’t solve the rancorous problem if we remain in our bubbles, but it is very difficult to step outside of them realizing that we are going to argue based on facts gathered from biased sources. I don’t mean “slanted.” I mean biased, that the actual news are not factual. I don’t know how to talk to or discuss the situation with a person who treats The Drudge Report, or Breitbart News Network, or Alex Jones, or Wikileaks, or Glenn Greenwald,c or Polticususa or Alternet as trusted sources of news from whence they can take the facts as reported.
How can I have a reasonable discussion with a person who thinks that Trump actually won the popular vote as well as the electoral college? How can I have a reasonable discussion with someone who thinks that Hillary Clinton was the most corrupt individual to have ever run for president? How can I share sourced facts with someone as the basis of discussion when they dismiss videos of Donald Trump calling for violent treatment of protesters as “liberal media lies?”
I find that I can’t do it civilly. I don’t like being mean to people, but I lack the resources to remain civil to people whose reality is shaped by what to me is obvious garbage. To not be someone that I don’t like, I avoid those discussions.
And I find my “bubble” shrinking.