For many years the political divide in the US, virtually the world over in fact, has widened drastically. During Reagan’s time in office, the US economy was booming, Americans enjoyed very low taxes, and even though a cold war was hanging over the world, security and peace was the general feeling for most people. I can remember the 1980’s as my time in Elementary and beginning Middle School, and unlike my parents’ time in those years of their lives, we didn’t have missile drills or anything of the sort, just fire or tornado drills as every school does, or at least all in the south where we don’t get hurricanes or earthquakes. Growing up in this time, naturally, meant I joined the workforce in the mid 1990’s, complained about taxes, but for the most part, just went about my life.
Looking at today however, through the lens of customer service and having been a teacher for a time, or looking back only 15 years at my time in college, the contrast is very distinct and honestly, worrying. You see, I know for a fact that many of my classmates in High School disagreed vehemently with me on politics, but we were and in many cases still are, very close friends. With most of them, we just don’t discuss politics, with others we’re very careful about that or religion, and still with a few, we jump into debates and go at it hammer and tongs, then go out for drinks. That’s not the case with the new generation though, as dissent and disagreement are all but treated as felony murder.
One need only look at Social Media, be that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or any other site, including the so called “conservative” sites like Parler or Gab, and you’ll see fighting that even just 20 years ago would never have been seen. Since 2017, I’ve personally been threatened with assault over 100 times, told I should be arrested for simply believing as I do, that people wish I get this disease or that and die, and a handful even said they were personally going to kill me. None of them even had their posts taken down, yet I got banned repeatedly for simply not kowtowing to their demands. I screenshotted all of the threats, called my local, county, and state law enforcement and all of them said they would treat it seriously, but I should also be very aware and cautious, meaning they acknowledge they can’t instantly appear so I must be ready to defend myself, but Twitter and Facebook shrugged at someone threatening murder.
Sadly, I see this getting far worse before even a chance it will get better, and that does mean I see assaults and worse, for mere disagreements. 2020 saw, and 2021 is still seeing, a very small percent of the population destroying businesses because they haven’t been given their way in all things, yet American politicians and media call them “mostly peaceful” in one breath, before demonizing all who disagree with them in the next. So the question is, when, if ever, will things calm down and return to a world where people can disagree without it escalating into physical conflict? Honestly, I can’t say I ever see that happening, and that is one of the saddest admissions I’ve ever had to make.