I have begun many articles for this blog over the past month. All of them were, in my opinion, worth writing. I felt it imperative that people keep spreading the facts about these topics, and that I also had a responsibility to utilize my voice and speak out.
However, after starting each article, I would become disillusioned. I didn’t become apathetic, but I found myself becoming more and more despondent about the state of affairs in our country.
I do my best to stick only to the facts. I list my sources and other relevant resources to each article I write because there is no need to write anything if I am unable or unwilling to back it up with details and certainty. I would have no credibility without the cold, hard truth. Without pertinent research and sources, I could easily be just another incompetent and substandard fool on the internet spreading conspiracy theories. I refuse to be mistaken for that kind of person.
But over the past month, in particular, it has become glaringly apparent that only one side of the aisle cares about sharing the actual facts. Only one side of the aisle cares about not contributing to the spread of conspiracy theories. Only one side of the aisle cares about speaking in terms of reality, while the other disperses fiction as if facts are a work of art to either be accepted or not simply whether one likes what they hear.
And it’s slowly, but surely, shutting me down and turning me into a cynic — a word that nobody could have ever imagined using to describe me until now. I’m just plain tired of the level of ignorance and stupidity our country is allowing. It’s nothing short of depressing.
As I sit typing this, I hear voices from Newsmax coming from another room, and I become even more disheartened. I not only feel hopeless from the lies of the media, some of which I can hear in the background. I feel hopeless because real people are watching this. Real people are listening to the voices of Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell, Mike Lindell, Donald Trump, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and more. They believe the deceptions they’re distributing to the general public. And when it comes right down to it, our collective voices followed up by facts aren’t enough to combat the falsehoods being shared.
I feel like yet another useless and soundless being whose voice is ignored, not because I’m inarticulate or incompetent, but because the truth no longer matters to a substantial population of Americans. Not only does it not matter, but they actively fight against it. For example, a YouTube channel that debunks right-wing conspiracy theories has now been banned, and it is being celebrated on right-wing social media. The right is toasting to the idea that yet another source won’t expose the facts that they simply don’t want to believe. Ben Shapiro, a right-wing media figure, once published a book entitled “Facts Don’t Care About Your Feelings,” but in the post-Trump world of the GOP, they now do to much of the right-wing. Facts aren’t facts unless you like them, and if you don’t, they don’t have to be accepted as truth. Wearing dunce caps and allowing ignorance now earns you a merit badge of honor in the GOP. This is no longer surprising, but it is still alarming.
Meanwhile, people on left-wing social media are aghast. We can’t understand the celebration when we desperately want all conspiracy theories debunked, even the ones we may have accidentally spread ourselves. We want to come clean, admit we were wrong, and state the absolute truth, even if it makes us look bad for sharing false stories in the first place. When it comes down to it, we want the facts to be exposed; our egos be damned. We don’t want to pick and choose what we believe. We want our opinions to be based on the truth.
The worst part is that the falsehoods being spread to the GOP are not lone, solitary, isolated voices. They are the voices of the party itself. And the party is not taking responsibility, nor are they condemning statements like Michael Flynn suggesting a coup like in Myanmar, or the blatantly false idea that the military will reinstate Donald Trump as President in August. Instead, the GOP is okay with the fact that Michael Flynn faked outrage and denied the fact that he would ever say this even while his exact words are on video for the entire world to see. (In this new world, even if the facts are on video, they are no longer facts unless you’re told you should accept what you see and hear. As Donald Trump once outrageously stated, “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”) Likewise, the GOP is perfectly content sending Marjorie Taylor Greene to rallies, where she said her fellow congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was not an American and that she should be locked up, even though she has not committed a crime. The party allows and encourages these statements because they excite the base. In the new GOP, you do not need to have committed a crime to be locked up — you must simply disagree.
And this is why the left-wing is so distressed by the current state of affairs. While we believe Marjorie Taylor Greene is a conspiracy theorist, deceptive, and a disgrace to her office, we do not think she is a criminal for using her First Amendment right of free speech. And no matter our disagreements over her political affiliation and her atrocious behavior, we still believe her to be an American.
Liberals seem to accept we are two very different political parties, but believe that we are still one nation. America as a whole (very fairly, despite the “alternative facts”) even elected the candidate who ran on that message instead of the one who ran on a platform of division. And while President Biden continues to support that message to this day, the current Republican Party seems almost exhilarated to suggest that, no, we are not one. Moreover, they keep allowing popular voices to advocate for violence, seeking to overturn fair elections, and denying basic facts.
It is hard to blame ordinary citizens for this brand of thought when the Republican Party endorses it.
I think the only thing that the two sides of the aisle can agree on is that we are in a battle for the soul of our nation. I hate to admit it, but I am one of the people who fears for our country’s morals, for our Constitution, and our freedoms. These aren’t things that disappear overnight, but slip away slowly. And I think they began slowly slipping from our grasp when Donald Trump was elected. I have disagreed with many politicians before, but I have not believed them to be dangers to our way of life. I originally never believed Trump could have the power to do it, either. But as I scan through all of the events that have happened between November 8, 2016, and today, I see a sharp difference in the state of America — more difference than I’ve seen during any other presidency — and it’s not for the better.
Our country has been divided before, but this is now more than just division due to political differences. Instead, we are experiencing pure hatred — and despite how despondent I, or any others, may feel, we cannot allow this to continue.
Instead of allowing ourselves to feel hopeless when our voices seem so futile, we need to remember that our voices in elections aren’t worthless. And we must use them — our votes matter. We have the option to sit here and whine about gerrymandering and how we can’t pass bills like the John Lewis Voting Rights Act or the For the People Act — legislation that would make it easier for thousands of people to get registered and vote. We can opt not to vote because it, too, feels like a futile attempt when Republicans in some states are trying to pass legislation that makes it easier to overturn the will of the people during elections. We can do those things and keep feeling hopeless. Because, no, those things aren’t fair, or right, or moral, or good for our country. And it would be the easier thing to do.
Or we can take action. Learn how to register people to vote in your state. If you know somebody who doesn’t vote, inform them why it’s so important to do so. If you can take multiple people to the polls in your state (you may not be able to with new voting laws), do it. Join Democratic clubs in your cities and neighborhoods. Join campaigns of the politicians you believe in. Become a poll watcher. If you can’t do any of these things, find something else you can do. And if nothing else, make sure you vote.
November 2022 isn’t as far away as it sounds, and we need to get started yesterday. If you don’t want a country that spreads falsehoods unabashedly, believes in conspiracy theories, refuses to accept the results of fair elections, and encourages coups, you don’t have the option of doing nothing. If you do nothing, you’re complicit in and responsible for this behavior.
And as for me? Instead of feeling so demoralized and unnerved every time I read the news, I’m going to turn that feeling of despondence into motivation instead. Just because so many in America today don’t care about the facts doesn’t mean that most of us don’t. The way to gain votes is to make sure people know the facts. And all we can do to dispel the lies is to spread the truth as far and as wide as we can.
“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
— George Orwell, 1984
Edited to Add: The YouTube Channel was brought back up the same day. Conservative viewers had reported it so many times that YouTube automatically took it down, but after further review, stated that it had not broken any rules.