There is a division of thought in this country over just about everything. The way we lean politically seems to carry over into how we live our lives and how our representatives govern. Politicians typically make decisions that are calculated and designed with reelection in mind. Sometimes they go against party line doctrine and other times they follow orders from above.
That being said there are times of crisis when politics fall by the wayside. When the political letter following your last name means nothing and all you care about is your moral compass and doing what you think is right. Sometimes that results in people being reelected, other times it’s a career killer.
The current Coronavirus outbreak is one of those times.
When I watch the usual offenders, that being CNN, MSNBC, OANN and FOX NEWS, I watch the political divide permeate into our psyche. Each station has a target audience they appeal to. It’s no different than programming designed to cater to your interests. From cooking shows, all sports, financial news to fly-fishing. Each network has a demographic they are appealing to.
Political news channels are no different.
Some programs on those channels are honest about who they’re appealing to. Take Steve Hilton. He hosts a weekly show on FOX NEWS. His brand of politics is positive populism. Another host on that network is Mark Levin. He preaches conservative values. There’s no confusing where he stands and what you’ll see. On MSNBC you have Rachel Maddow, who hosts a show bearing her name. She’s the liberal equivalent to those on the competing networks and her content is consistent. There are several other hosts on each network who pretend to be unbiased but, that’s just them lying to the public.
The worst offenders are the networks themselves. They create on air panels where the majority lean one way including the host and the minority lean the other. This creates a natural imbalance and leads the audience to believe the majority is right with their thinking, a tactic known as groupthink. Groupthink is a noun. It’s defined as a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony and conformity in the group results in irrational or dysfunctional decision making outcome.
If all you do is watch one political channel because that’s the content you most align with personally, you most likely have fell victim to groupthink and not have realized it.
Take for example the current divide on when we should remove shelter in place orders implemented by our governors over fear of the Coronavirus pandemic.
It’s no coincidence that political networks will promote doctors that have viewpoints they want you to prescribe to. Each doctor is respected in his or her field. Some are newly licensed and others have been practicing for decades. It’s not hard to find doctor’s who will take an opposing view to that of the doctor’s who appear on the competing networks and completely discredit the medical opinions given. Where some scientists site medical breakthroughs, others will claim a drugs benefits being premature, and more testing needing to be done.
This was evidenced by the recent promotion of Hydroxychloroquine by President Trump as a possible cure for COVID-19. Once he mentioned it, political opponents and networks that cater to that demographic demonized it. Some went so far as to labeling it “junk science” though there were testimonials and clinical proof of its efficacy.
One living example, which highlighted the partisan divide, came from Karen Whitsett, a Democratic State lawmaker who represents a part of Detroit in Michigan’s House of Representatives.
Suffering from COVID-19, with her health deteriorating rapidly, she credited Trump for promoting the drug and putting a national spotlight on it. With consultation from her physician, she began taking the drug and credits it and the President for saving her life.
Whitsett appeared on the FOX NEWS show The Ingraham Angle and spoke about her experience alongside her physician and said the drug “saved her life.” She went on to say, “I only can go by what it is that I have gone through and what my story is, and I can’t speak for anyone else. So that’s not what I’m trying to do here. I’m only speaking for myself.”
Whitsett was invited to the White House to meet with President Trump and hold a press conference.
For the sin of crossing party lines and going against the Democratic narrative of everything Trump says being bad and never giving him credit for doing something good, Whitsett was scorned by her party and subsequently censured.
The Detroit News reported on April 25, 2020 that Democratic lawmakers in Detroit’s 13th Congressional District voted unanimously to censure the lawmaker, effectively stripping her from her position.
“We have the ability to be the referee when we see our leaders out there attacking and not being willing to have a discussion to find common ground,” said Jonathan Kinloch, chairman of the organization. “Based on her actions and recent statements, she’s chosen to be a stand-alone Democrat with the goals of a Republican.”
The resolution states Whitsett has “misrepresented the needs and priorities” of Democratic leadership to the president and public.
The resolution also notes she’s participated in events with the Republican Women’s Federation of Michigan to express gratitude to the president.
Whitsett, the resolution said, “has repeatedly and publicly praised the president’s delayed and misguided COVID-19 response efforts in contradiction with the scientifically based and action-oriented response” from Michigan’s Democratic leadership, “endangering the health, safety and welfare of her constituents, the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan.”
This is just one example of the political divide in our country. The kind that is so perverse where a politician’s career and character are effectively destroyed after praising a president who promoted the use of a drug that helped to save her life.
Let that sink in!
I’m not a doctor. Nor am I a scientist. I’m merely a casual observer on the sidelines in the viewing public who along with you has had our lives turned upside down by the aforementioned professionals who provide often inaccurate and clearly partisan guidance to our elected officials. The decision on when to reopen the economy has appeared to fall on party lines.
Every now and then, there are those who do what they think is right, knowing they will pay a heavy price in the media and in the court of public opinion. Knowing their decision is unpopular and goes against party lines, they choose to stick to the courage of their convictions, regardless if it means being reelected. For those brave souls who are willing to stand up against what they perceive as being wrong and stand up for what is right, I along with many others say thank you, and you are not alone.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” — Malcolm X.