The internet is without a doubt the single greatest invention of my generation. It has changed the way we live, work, consume and communicate. It is both a wonderful tool and a dreaded curse.
The internet, and the ability to—often anonymously—weigh in on literally ANY subject, has given rise to a level of vitriol heretofore never seen in human existence. Unnamed trolls are able to spread their hate and misinformation with reckless abandon. There are no consequences. The internet has allowed the extremes on both sides to dominate every issue.
According to the internet:
President Obama is both the reincarnation of Jesus Christ AND a secret Islamist bent on the destruction of America.
Wall Street is both the physical embodiment of all that is good about capitalism AND the root of all evil in the world.
The new restaurant opening up down the street is both the greatest thing to happen to the area in a millennia AND evidence of the further erosion of a once great neighborhood.
There is no longer a middle ground. Moderates are gone. Grey has disappeared, replaced by blacks and whites.
Except that’s not really the case. If anything, the opposite is true. Our generation is chock full of moderates. Voter registration numbers are going up, but party affiliation is going down. How is that possible? Because more and more people are choosing not to enroll in a party. Why should they if they feel the major party platforms are not reflective of their personal ideology?
Us 20 and 30-somethings are blurring the lines of the once hard and fast wedge issues. The same person can be for both legal abortion AND less-restrictive gun laws. One can support gay marriage while at the same time being an advocate for the death penalty. It’s perfectly normal for someone to be for a flat tax AND support increased funding for social security.
Yet this is not the message reflected in the media reports. If all one did was look at the evening news, or the paper, or their favorite news site, you’d think we all hated each other. Why have we allowed the fringe to go mainstream? How can we stop this?
I don’t know the answer. But I do know that if we’re going to find it, it’ll probably be here, on the internet. If only we can see through all the clutter.