Sunday, November 13, 2016

Elected Officials are NOT an Accurate Representation of Voters’ Wishes.


medium |  The thing that has become the most clear to us this election year is that we don’t agree on the fundamental truths we thought we did.

I went to college in the part of Pennsylvania that definitely flipped the state for Trump. A good number of my friends are still living there, and have posted messages from what seems at this moment in history to be a completely different country.

Over the last several weeks I have watched dozens of my friends on Facebook de-friend one another. I have seen plenty of self-righteous posts flow across my news feed, along with deeply felt messages of fear, anger and more recently — existential despair.

On the other side I see reflections of joy, levity, gratitude and optimism for the future. It could not be more stark.

The thing that both groups have in common is very apparent: A sense of profound confusion about how the other side cannot understand their perspective.

This seemed to be building on a trend in social media that hit full tilt in the lead up to the election: Political divisions between us are greater than they ever have been, and are still getting worse by the day.

I don’t believe that the Media Elite, Donald Trump or the Alt Right are to blame for the state of our politics. They peddle influence and ideas, but they don’t change the actual makeup of our country. Elected officials are still a fairly accurate representation of voters’ wishes.

I also don’t believe this is inherently a reaction to the political overreach of the status quo. This discontent is part of something felt outside of our borders too. You do not have to look far to see this rising tide of hyper-nationalism going international.

The reason is much more subversive, and something we really haven’t been able to address as humans until now. I believe that the way we consume information has literally changed the kind of people we are.