Cable news talk show hosts are some of the most watched people on TV. People such as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham draw millions of viewers every night. If you watch one of these programs, how do you feel when you watch it? Are these shows making you feel fear – fear of Democrats, fear of destruction, or maybe fear for the future of our country? If so, what you are feeling is the product of programming aimed at stirring up feelings of fear, anger, and enmity, driving viewers to believe that their side is not only right, but that the Democrats are dangerous and un-American.
Democrats are not your enemy. They do not live in some faraway place. In fact, many Democrats live in your neighborhood, city, and state. They are your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. They go to your house of worship, shop at the same stores you do, and live good, quiet lives just like you.
Policy differences between parties do exist and they should be debated and discussed, but we can disagree without fearing or hating the other side. Someone belonging to a different political party does not make them evil.
Is your Democrat golf buddy really seeking to destroy the country? How about your Democrat neighbor who loves to spend time with his grandkids, is he trying to destroy the country? Of course not. If you begin to feel hate and fear towards others in our country, it is time to turn off the TV, go for a walk, and talk to your neighbors.
You may say to yourself, “Well, the Democrats I know are fine, but Democrats I see depicted on my favorite Republican-leaning TV program, that I’ve never met, they’re the ones that are trying to destroy this country.”
Is it fair to view or label tens of millions of Americans as “evil” or “dangerous” because of a five-minute TV segment you saw? When you feel fear watching a cable news segment, you must ask yourself, who wants me to feel this and why? What is the ultimate goal of the producer, talk show host, or columnist when they attempt to make me feel unsafe in my own country? Are they trying to push me to support a position or a candidate that claims they can make me safe?
In today’s polarized political climate, the battle for votes leads some Americans to view their opponents through a carnival mirror lens, believing them to be something that they are not. Being a Democrat does not make one a communist, being a communist makes one a communist. When political opponents are seen as evil caricatures, they can be more easily dismissed without the hard work of engaging difficult ideas or changing minds.
The presidential election is getting closer. We can expect that fear mongering and division will continue on TV, online, and even in person. We, regardless of our party, should be smarter than to fall into traps, goading us to believe that our fellow Americans are our enemies. We live in the United States of America, and we must do our part to keep it united.