I have never been very politically active or written about politics much here, and I don’t intend to ever turn this blog into that. However, it seems we are now living in a time where we can’t avoid or espace it, especially when we go online.
Recently, it occurred to me that certain people (and probably even entire parts) in our government want us to become divided. As long as we are fighting amongst ouselves, we are distracted from what they’re doing and inherently more dependent on them, which makes it easy for them to stay in power.
No government wants resistance; they want compliance and thrive on our apathy. I worry that part of the governments’ strategy is to wear us down with our anger until we no longer have the strength or will to fight.
If that’s the case, it appears to be working.
The internet is an amazing thing. It is the world’s encyclopedia, containing the collective knowledge of most of human history, and it fits in our pocket. But from its usefulness came a business opportunity: advertisements. We became bombarded with them to the point where we subconciously ignore entire parts of a web page (more proof of this here, here, and here).
Information turned from a passive medium to an aggressive one, and notifications became constant interruptions throughout our day. Not only that, but by adding a social layer, people are now addicted to checking up on their friends and others who are posting their own news (or reposting it from other sources).
Some people are trying to get their attention back.
While the internet is an endless resource of information, it has also given people a platform to interact with strangers and bring out the worst in everyone. I have seen arguments where people go back and forth so much, I wonder if they have a job, a family, or anything better to do.
I wonder if they realize how much of their time is being sucked away from their one life without even realizing it.
I wonder if they have loved ones who feel differently, but are afraid to speak up or fear rejection.
I wonder how much pleasure or true satisfaction they get out of it, or if they are just stuck in an endless cycle on one side of a winner-less war of our own creation.
I wonder how much they are hurting, and might feel like this is the only way their voice can be heard.
A Better Way?
I don’t want to be sucked into a place, whether online or off, where we are constantly fighting each other at our own peril. While I may strongly disagree with a certain opinion, I think it’s more imporant than ever to practice empathy, and try just as hard to listen and understand opposing views and perspectives.
And more importantly, make people who we disagree with us with feel valued and heard, even if they don’t give us the same courtesy.
Someone I highly respect in the web design community is Brad Frost, who recently wrote an article about how the openness of the web (net neutrality) is its biggest advantage. For the last few years, we’ve had a government try to restrict or close certain parts of the web, and allow internet providers to decide what speeds we can access certain sites (which would make something like starting a competitor to Netflix nearly impossible, for example). In a much scarier case, it could control what information we have access to, therefore controlling the “truth” it wants us know and whatever else it doesn’t.
Freedom is something we all must fight for if we want to preserve it for ourselves and future generations. One way I’ve decided to help is by donating to the ALCU.
What will you do?