Current Events

What Shapes Your Thinking?

Throughout this election cycle the question I’ve heard most is some version of the following: How on earth did we get here?

Perhaps you’ve asked yourself the same thing.

Politics has always had a way of dividing people but this time it feels…different.

More personal.

Zealously partisan.

Rife with conspiracy.

I know it’s tempting to look at the division we’re experiencing now and point the finger at broken parties, flawed candidates, or dishonest media.

If that’s true, of course, then all of those things happened as a result of our collective allowance.

In reflecting on where we missed the turn, here’s a question to consider: Have we sacrificed substance for entertainment, preferring to be amused or outraged rather than informed?

If your answer is yes, then it’s worth noting we’ve been on this train for a while.

Fox News, for instance, proudly and publicly admitted that anger-as-entertainment was part of the network’s business plan way back in 2003. After 9/11, that pent-up anger was marshaled to garner support for the invasion of Iraq and, well….here we are.

But Fox isn’t the only outlet turning news into combat sport. Plenty of other companies do it as well – leaving those of us on the other side with a strange new form of Stockholm syndrome. In other words, we’re perversely attracted to the very thing that threatens our survival.

To be clear: This isn’t about a particular candidate. This is about us and what we allow on our watch.

Because the truth is, if we really wanted the negativity we’re all swimming in to stop, we’d quit sharing it. Period.

Moreover, if we really wanted the institutions we love-to-hate so much to improve, we would be more willing to improve ourselves – beginning with more serious discernment when it comes to what (and who) we allow to influence our thinking.

As such…what if we turned away from the coarsening rhetoric and only gave our attention to people who say what they believe while at the same time softening the world they touch?

Indeed, while the election will be over on Tuesday, where we go from there is up to us.