It’s time, to wake up, my friends!

It’s time to wake up my friendsIt’s time, to wake up, my friends! I think the time has arrived for a serious reckoning in US. It’s time for all of us to look inward. And … It’s time to analyze how things went so wrong over the past several decades.

BY Nazarul Islam  

I think the time has arrived for a serious reckoning in US—the country we love. It’s time for all of us to look inward. And … It’s time to analyze how things went so wrong over the past several decades, that extremists in America felt motivated to barge into the Capitol, injure law enforcement officers, deface historic property and vandalize government offices.

How did we sink so low in our political discourse and interactions with each other that thousands were willing to act like they did this recently?

Certainly, many will point the finger at the former president and say it’s entirely his fault for constantly fomenting chaos and division over the past four years. Others will look at some of us in the media and say we’re to blame for despising him, since the day he was elected.

But the truth is – whether we’re willing to admit it or not – almost all of us bear some responsibility. Because if we hadn’t allowed ourselves to be pulled in one direction or another, into one of the most extreme states of political polarization our nation has ever seen, this never would have happened.

If only we had chosen, years ago, to fight to maintain the Fairness Doctrine, we might not have given rise to Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, OANN, Newsmax, etc. And those “news sources” – complete with their 24/7 cycle that led to blurring, then completely erasing, the line between news and commentary – might not have fueled that polarization.

But then came social media, which just locked us deeper in our echo chambers, unwilling to hear anything that challenged our beliefs or offered facts we didn’t want to face. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit and others constantly alert us to more posts that do nothing but confirm and validate the thoughts and feelings created by the ones that came before them.

They also lead us down an internet rabbit hole to more and more dangerous sites that feed paranoia and fuel extremism on both sides of the political spectrum.

So what do we do now? First, we have to commit to break this cycle of addiction. If we truly want to avoid another scene like we witnessed recently, we have to cut the cords that keep us tied to information sources that feed us only what we want to hear. We have to once again use Facebook for spreading joy, love and positive experiences, and stop blasting our family and “friends” for their political ideology. We have to start talking – and, more importantly, listening – to each other again.

At the same time, we have to insist the people we elect to represent us work across the aisle to achieve results that benefit ALL Americans, not just members of their own party or those who fund their campaigns. Political disagreement is a healthy part of governing. But we do expect them to treat one another with respect; stop the constant grandstanding and fundraising and negotiate and compromise and act decisively in ways that leave no one behind.

Rather than making laws that widen the gaps between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” we must elect leaders who will work to close that breach. Rather than sowing the seeds of division that lead to chaos, we must insist they search for common ground. Rather than letting them spew hatred, we must insist they return to diplomacy; if they refuse, we must elect people who will.

Because the alternative is too frightening to consider – it’s time, to wake up, my friends!


About the Author

Nazarul IslamThe Bengal-born writer is a senior educationist based in USA. He writes for Sindh Courier and the newspapers of Bangladesh, India and America.  
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