Well, not “nobody.” I care. You probably do, too, if you’re reading this.
For years, as a conservative radio talk show host, I played a role in that conditioning by hammering the mainstream media for its bias and double standards. But the price turned out to be far higher than I imagined. The cumulative effect of the attacks was to delegitimize those outlets and essentially destroy much of the right’s immunity to false information. We thought we were creating a savvier, more skeptical audience. Instead, we opened the door for President Trump, who found an audience that could be easily misled.
There-in lies a central problem for the American polity. When a large portion of it refuses to accept, or even consider information contradictory to its understanding, but accepts anything, everything in agreement with what’s already believed, they open themselves to spoon-fed disinformation. It’s confirmation bias. A significant number of American Right has it in spades.
A couple decades of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, beginning with Rush’s “America held hostage” nonsense during the first Clinton administration, have left this fraction of a fraction unable to discern truth from fiction. They don’t trust anyone, can’t trust them for fear of falling out of step with their fellows. They don’t know, and cannot know who to believe, so they live in an echo chamber.
“We, the people” need to step out of our echo chambers. Red, blue, liberal, conservative, these bubbles aren’t serving us well. They’re crushing our republic, disgracing our democracy.
A good first step: read something well-written by someone unlike yourself, a credible work of opposing politics, or writing on a subject dear to another race, or the work of someone who flat-out disagrees with your opinions. Take their words to heart. Deal with opposing ideas simultaneously inhabiting your mind. You’ll learn something.
Here’s a good start from across the spectrum. I’ll add a work I’ve just finished reading, Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. I learned from her work.
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