Election 2016: Losing the Lessons, Along with the Votes
This election cycle is not lacking in unsolicited opinions, yet some of us still find ourselves woefully underrepresented in the media and even in the blogs. Most Americans aren’t hyper partisan political junkies that seize on every process story or whisper of a scandal. Most are just people trying to get through their everyday struggles, with the hope that the choices made by the Government won’t cost them their jobs or make their monthly bills go up.
If there is a “Silent Majority” left, it is these people. Talking about politics has become so toxic that life long friends have severed relationships, over posts on social media. Think about that. When I first joined Facebook, my entire purpose was to play a game called “Heroes”. I’d go in every day to work and blow up people with my mind, a power I had earned through play. It was fun and it never occurred to me those many years ago that this same platform would become a battleground for American politics. Not once.
When I first joined Twitter, it was mainly bloggers desperately trying to get people to read their blogs. There were shared links and support for those that shared similar views. When these same bloggers finally got the opportunity to have a platform, they forgot what drew people to them in the first place. Their individual voice, sharing ideas that weren’t fed to them by what the “news” outlets were doing. Now Twitter for many has become a place where they can demean those that disagree and have 1000 lemmings retweet it for the “lulz” as the kids say.
While there are many to blame for the falling level of discourse, none are more responsible than those who for reasons unknown to me chose to become a what can only be described as a love child of Andrew Dice Clay and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. These low brow “comedy” accounts sent a clear message, I will say anything to gain more attention and followers. Literally, Anything.
What is worse is that as these internet Sam Kinisons, led many people to believe that they were the cool kids, and this behavior was not only acceptable, but completely normal. The ugliness we see this year, is a result of seeds planted over the last 8 years.
We as a people want to have our own feelings validated, we want to be part of a group, especially one that includes celebrities, social media or otherwise. It’s human nature. When those with a platform choose to use it to advance their own careers, sometimes that gets lost on their followers.
This election cycle may be defined by the inexcusable behavior of the Alt-Right but the “Trump Adjacent” people have done just as much damage. Most Americans don’t dedicate hours of their lives to watching cable news networks or reading every article ever written, so they’ve learned to rely on people they trust to share the info they should know. What has happened inside the Conservative community is nothing short of a betrayal of trust.
If you have a platform based on being a Conservative and a giant following because of that title, it would serve us well if you acted like it. Making excuses for racism, misogynists and flat out frauds is a sure way to lose credibility and fast.
Now this election is just two weeks away and it pains me to see people I once respected continue to bang the drums for Trump.
We’ve witnessed people go from seemingly solid voices of reason, to conspiracy mongers for clicks and attention. It’s been heartbreaking for those of us who fought for credibility for Republicans to watch it all go down the drain with the rise of this mean spirited sect.
“Buy My Book” became much more important than, “this is the truth”, that’s a sad statement in and of itself. Some wanted this power and fleeting fame more than they cared about the causes they claimed to represent. That’s just not how most Americans deal with life. If you believe something in your core, there is no amount of money or even more pathetically “social media fame” that will change that.
This election cycle will end. What we do when it’s over, will determine whether the “conservative” movement survives. Short of a purge with the burning fires of Hell, it’s not looking good for the home team. The question remains does anyone have the cojones to light the fire, for the controlled burn needed to replenish the political forest.
Only time will tell if we’d learned a single lesson from this disaster of an election cycle. My fear is that many lessons will be ignored in the coming swell of excuses, given by those who got us into this mess. My hope is that Americans and Conservatives in particular won’t forget.