The Lion’s Den | Is this America?



Following the siege at the nation’s Capitol, many were left to ponder the question, is this America? For many, their race, ethnicity, culture and political beliefs determined the answer. America has always been a tale of two countries. There has always been divisive, incendiary language, violence and domestic terrorism. Only now it can be seen and followed in real-time. The 24/7 news cycle and social media have allowed us to witness reality like never before. At any given moment, we can now have access to the full spectrum of human behavior, from the overwhelming dedication and caring of healthcare workers to the palatable hatred that has found its way from the subconsciousness of fear mongers to the world’s digital platform.

Is this America? There have always been violent protests and riots. Many were fought over rights, those genuinely denied and those perceived to have been dismissed. Whether in the name of justice or insurrection, violence has always been woven into the fabric of America. But with rights and freedoms comes responsibility and accountability. These values ultimately get lost in the ether of social media. Social media: a loudspeaker of a platform where it appears that the ultimate goal is to throw opinions against the wall to see what sticks. Social media, where self-esteem, intelligence and civility are determined by the number of likes, shares and retweets. A landing spot for those who appear to be more concerned with what is popular than what is right, even if the popular thing at the time is to spread hate and encourage violence.

Social media can be used as a powerful tool for good to galvanize individuals for worthwhile change. It can also be used as a call to arms and violence. Individuals no longer have to gather in person to plan; it can all be done in the comfort of their home, school, office or a place of worship.

Is this America? We shall see. As we continue into 2021 with a changed political landscape, many of us will find ourselves at a moral crossroad, with one road leading to love and understanding and the other leading to hate and misunderstanding. Whether this is America may ultimately be determined by the road less traveled or how social media is used.

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