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The Norseman

The Norseman

The Norseman

Political unrest: Media bias, social agendas cause disdain for democratic zoo

I’m sick of politics.

This doesn’t mean I’m not politically informed or don’t have a political opinion. No, it’s quite the opposite. I have a strong political opinion, regularly read the newspaper, and even read a political magazine.

I’m just so sick of politics.

I know I am not the only person who feels this way. This is a growing sentiment among Americans, and the number of people unaffiliated with a political party is increasing. News and media outlets have become an object of distrust and scorn, which has caused political scientists to become concerned as fewer and fewer people seem to care about politics.

But really, when looking at what makes the news, isn’t it understandable? We have congressmen trying to have a Spartacus moment and insisting they broke the law by releasing classified documents (that were actually declassified) to bring accusations against someone when the documents actually exonerated them of the charge. We have presidents with a limited vocabulary (with typos and nonexistent words thrown in for good measure), an addiction to making inflammatory comments, and preferring to communicate with the American public in 140-character-long, ALL CAPS POSTS on Twitter. We have court case after court case and protest after protest, all of which seem to be doing absolutely nothing.

Now don’t get me wrong, these court cases and protests are important things, because…because…

Why are they important again?

Does anyone know why they are important anymore?

Or do people just like being angry?

Does anyone know that “collusion” is not a crime and no, one cannot get impeached for collusion, only for conspiracy? Come to mention it, does anyone actually know the legal definition of conspiracy?

Does anyone know that nearly every news network out there is biased in some way? I say nearly only because I’ve not found one that is unbiased, but I’m hoping it’s out there somewhere.

Does anyone know about the virtual civil war that occurred this summer in Nicaragua? The sole reason I know is because I went to a camp, and one of the directors told us that his parents (who were there for mission work) had to be evacuated because of the various atrocities being committed there. Yes, civil unrest in Latin America isn’t uncommon, but political bickering isn’t either.

While politicians and the media are going on about some offense or another, nearly every American has lost track of the significance of these little events and changes the channel to Star Trek reruns or HGTV or the 64th Marvel movie or pretty much anything that doesn’t involve elephants and donkeys being at each other’s throats.

It’s enough to make me bang my head against the wall and scream “Why, America?!”

To be fair, it’s not like other countries are that much better. I don’t keep up with foreign internal politics that much, but what I do see isn’t all that different from here. It seems no matter the country, politicians are arguing over seemingly-pointless things while the media blows stories completely out of proportion. However, because I live in America, I am much more familiar with its scandals and problems and can’t really talk about other places.

It’s kind of hard to sum the situation up in a few words. Hypocrisy and quarrelsome are two that come to mind. Maybe lack of self-control and intolerance should be added.

“But wait! We’re very tolerant! We just know what’s right, and everyone else should follow our beliefs because they aren’t opinions, they’re facts, and anyone who doesn’t agree with us is an intolerant liar and wrong!”

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that, hey, that’s not tolerance.

I wonder how horrified George Washington would be right now at our current political state. He already disliked how the country was divided between parties even during his presidency. Now, with the extreme polarization between parties, I wonder if he would join me in the head-banging and screaming.

Essentially, politics has become so convoluted, most people are disinterested and even disgusted when the subject arises. Few people have the patience and composure to listen to the news or a political radio station for long periods of time. If I have the radio on and am doing something, I suddenly find myself frustrated thirty minutes later for no apparent reason until I realize the radio was on an I was subconsciously listening.

The result? An apathetic, cynical United States tired of anything having to do with the government. For a country that is supposed to run on democracy, that’s not good. If people don’t want to participate in the civic process, then the government will continue to become more of a place for some elite, “political” class to rule from afar and alienate citizens. The enmity the citizens have for the government will just continue to grow. I dread to know the end.

Furthermore, the media feels compelled to choose a side when it comes to politics, and all of their stories (even weather reports), no matter how seemingly-small, have a slight bias favoring their own party. Democrats coined the term “fake news,” and President Trump adopted it. Really, I don’t know if “fake news” is the correct phrase most of the time. Maybe “biased news” or “filtered news” would be more appropriate. However, for most people, it’s “frustrating news” or “pointless news,” a fact media stations seem to believe they can remedy by talking about more scandals and more arguing.

Hopefully this is just a phase, right? Hopefully, but I’m kind of doubtful. This has been going on so long that we may be past the point of no return. I sincerely hope I am proved wrong, but at the moment, it feels like the only way to change everything is to reform the entire political system. Even if we were to overhaul everything and start over, the outrage and bickering has become so embedded that it’s hard for me to imagine people can just stop.

I can see no easy solution to this, or even a moderate one. Instead, I see a long, difficult process. To change things, society’s view of politics must also change. Politicians and media are not the only guilty party. Lots of fuel comes from ordinary yet zealous citizens. Not only would Washington have to transform along with an entire business sector (media), but tens of thousands of people would have to shift their values. This is not just a behavioral issue. It goes to the very core of people’s individual definition of what politics is. And right now, politicians, media, and zealots have a different definition than everyone else.

Those who want to ride the political roller coaster, get ready. Please keep your hands, arms, feet, and legs inside the vehicle at all times. For my part, I’ll grip the safety bar until my knuckles are white and try to avoid giving myself a concussion from banging my head against the wall.

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