2019 – one year out from 2020. Yes, we can do math at The Breakfast. It would be difficult to say that the memories from the 2016 election are memories at all, given that they appear to still be playing out in the daily news cycle. While many media outlets were quick to comment on the particularly damaging nature of the 2016 election, they also played a huge role in the ongoing saga of gridlock and ensuing bombast of the Trump victory, fracturing our political landscape. However, despite what might have been said post-election, the sky did not fall, the economy grew, and generally the United States moved forward. Depending on your political leanings, that might not be an accurate assessment; but the country is still here with the potential for a strong future, contrary to what the partisan press would have you believe.
As Democratic candidates announce their intent, an ominous cloud grows or one never left, it’s your choice. Maybe, the better analogy is that we’re stacking fuel for the fire. If recent history is any indicator, 2020 is going to be terrible. The media machines will be in full swing, Twitter will be ablaze, accusations of fake news and influence campaigns will run rife. Any Band-Aids that are in place now will likely be torn off.
The American political past is full of difficult elections and brutally divisive political struggles. Hunter S. Thompson’s words on 1972 campaign trail sure sound very familiar in 2019. Our political cycles are nothing new; however, our access to information is. Easily won influence in the age of the internet or opinion inflamed till the point of acceptance, is not truth. Part of our human condition is a deep-rooted wanting to belong, and the media has become adept at exploiting this to influence us towards political ideation, as have foreign powers. Freedom of the press helped build American society but with this freedom comes a responsibility. Media maintains alliances for access: how many times did Fox News interview president Obama versus president Trump? Our politics have become intertwined with journalistic sides beyond the point of benefit. Media outlets would have you believe they are fulfilling a constitutional necessity, all the while maintaining influence, profit, and the vanity of judging their opposition to further factional goals.
As we move forward from 2019 into an election year, CAUTION should be the order of the day. Go to work, pursue passion, and be mindful of biased influence: your life is too short and we’re all better than falling for bullshit. Expectations of acceptance and unquestioning loyalty should trump relevance to your individual opinion – NOT! Watch NBC, CNN, Fox, and form an individual opinion, as the new America requires triple the time to ascertain the truth. Read multiple opinion sources, record numerical facts and check them until you have an idea of what truth is, and, for god’s sake, go to a library and do real research. The current degradation of ideas is a symptom of the instantaneous; however, experience has been recorded, both novel and redundant, in great repositories of knowledge -AKA: libraries. This has all been written – Orwell, Kafka, Burgess, Lewis, Marx, Smith, Jefferson, King – this list is infinite. Read it for yourselves. Research theory and consequence, as the future is too precious to leave it in the hands of ideological servants.