Stop Calling Them Sheep

There is no denying the polarizing divide that has hit this nation since the course of the election.  Republican versus Democrats morphed into Hillary VS Trump which then resulted in this violent outburst of the ‘MAGA’ Tribe VS The ‘Not My President’ Tribe.  We are divided by ideals, by our news stations, and have allowed politics to take power over our personal lives with our newly edited Facebook Friend’s Lists.

We excuse the behavior of the opposing side as if they are not dynamic creatures but instead simpletons.  “They are just sheep, they listen to those alternate truths on CNN/FoxNews and go with whatever they say.”

So of course when I attended the BlogHer Conference this past June and wandered into the panel for CNN anchors Ana Navarro and Joy-Ann Reid, the first question obviously was, “Is media polarizing the U.S.?”

We want someone to blame.  Someone to point the finger at for our own inability to empathize beyond our own personal perspectives.   For our growing inability to make personal connections and our quickly waning communities instead of our shifted dependance on alienating technology.  We as an audience waited for them to deny it, for them to tell us it’s okay.  ‘The world is just divided,’ and we wash our hands clean of it.  We wanted them to say that not because we wanted that answer but because the confrontation gives our under stimulated lives a spark.

But instead the two CNN anchors didn’t blink, didn’t hesitate, nearly in unison they nodded their heads and answered a simple “yes.”

“Provoking confrontation has deepened the divide, but America chooses to watch it.” Ana Navarro

Perhaps you didn’t take Mass Communications in college, perhaps you haven’t kept a blog, or reported for a paper.   We are paid by your view count not the validity of our content.   Thus we report what America wants to hear not what they need to hear.  Because this is not about facts, this is about popularity.

There was a point in the primaries (as a republican) where I wanted to write in my blog about how we were giving Trump too much power.  I wanted to speak out, but I had learned from watching the media, Twitter, Facebook, the tabloids, the news that we were already gifting him with an influx of exposure courtesy of our personal time, feeds, and effort.   Even slander put his name in our heads, gave him fuel, gave him power.

“Trump got exposure because he was entertaining and open to the media” Ana Navarro

I was a Republican voter and I just wanted CNN & Fox News to stop covering Trump, because I wanted who I considered a better candidate to reach my tiny voting booth.  But instead we built up Trump as a villain, as a hero, as a clown, as the show.   Not because of any political agenda, but because he made profit, and we as the viewers were, as my teenage self would say, the tools.

“Media does have responsibility, but if you’re consuming it, you are equal to blame.” Joy-Ann Reid

We as the people have the wheel.   Click-Bait exists because we click it.   Polarizing stories exist because we share them on our FB’s, on our Twitter, we give those stories mileage, and thus money in the media’s pocket.   So don’t call them sheep, instead call them the products.   It’s the media who are the sheep following us, the shepherd again and again and again to that mystical pot o’ gold at the end of our clear spectrum of divisions in this country.

 

 

Shopgirl Wants to Know:

How can we make a difference?

How can we find unity again?

7 thoughts on “Stop Calling Them Sheep

  1. John Holton says:

    I’ve been holding onto this for a month and just found it. Sorry about that!

    Anyway, here’s my take on it:

    I think the problem is that we have a much bigger view of what’s going on “out there.” We run into people on Facebook and Twitter who are from different parts of the country and, since we’re in contact with these people more than we are with the people who live in our neghborhood and our community, we assume that’s the reality.

    The fact is, it’s not. Reality is much closer. Reality is your family, your friends, your neighbors, your colleagues at work, the people at church, and it works outward from there. Want to make a difference? Take care of the people close to you. Forget the troll sitting in his mother’s basement on another continent and focus on the people who mean the most. Facebook and the rest of social media is quasi-reality. The world brought to you by CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and the networks affects you less than what’s happening in your neighborhood.

    My favorite quote is from Mother Teresa of Calcutta: If every person swept their own doorstep, the whole world would be clean. That’s how we make a difference, and that’s how we achieve unity.

    Just my two cents.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kristynotkirsty says:

    First, it’s good to hear from you. I don’t know if I’ve been busy and haven’t seen, or if you haven’t posted much lately; either way, it’s good to read you again. This is a great piece.

    Second, I think it’s going to be a long, hard road back to unity, but if we can raise our level of interaction with people, particularly online, that will go a long way in helping to heal our divide. It’s okay to disagree. It’s okay to leave a discussion still believing your position is right and the other person’s position is not. It is not okay to resort to name-calling and using abusive language to try to sway someone to see one’s point. That never, ever works, yet we see it over and over again on social media. It’s heartbreaking to see people whom I know would actually get along in real life berate and belittle each other from behind their computer screens. Until people can learn the art of disagreeing without disparaging, we are going to continue to see a major split in our country.

    There are many hugely important issues that need addressing in our country, but I think convincing people to stop abusing each other on social media is a good starting point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • shopgirlanonymous says:

      Thank you Kristy, yes kindness is key. I think all the time, ‘didn’t yo mama ever tell y’all it’s easier to attract flies with honey?’

      And yes I’ve been away quite sometime, thank you for noticing! I just finally completed the first book in the Shop Girl series, and have it out to beta readers at present. Excited to see where this road leads!

      Like

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