For The Last Time, America ISN’T Divided

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Don’t ask me how or why, but apparently, I’m part of some kind of “press club” in Atlanta. The only reason I know this is because they kept sending me emails about this event called “AMERICA DIVIDED” 18 times a day for the better part of a month.

Basically, what they wanted me to do was spend $20 to watch a bunch of stringers from The Wall Street Journal and CNN yammer on and on about how Trump is destroying America while they threw back cervezas at some overpriced bar and grille smackdab in the most gentrified part of downtown. Maybe now isn’t a good time to bring up the fact that journalists are much likelier to be alcoholics than the rest of society, or then again, maybe it’s actually the best time.

Regardless, I didn’t attend. Coincidentally, I also recently stumbled across a report by neurologist Dr. Tara Swart, who conducted a study on the brain functioning of journalists. Although it’s probably not surprising to anyone, per her research reporters across the board posted substandard scores on 10 out of 11 neurological metrics. Most notably, while the average American registered a 43 on a test of executive functioning, the average journalist posted a 35.

What’s executive functioning, you might ask? Well, it’s how well the brain can hold onto memories, focus on details and pay attention to stuff. Which means the average journalist has less ability to control their emotions, solve intricate problems, multi-task, think creatively and suppress personal biases than the average American. Which, yeah, is exactly the kind of person you want dictating what’s “true and false” about contemporary society to you.

Needless to say, there’s a lot of things wrong with modern journalism. But the biggest problem – and the one nobody in the media seems to pick up on – is the lack of objectivity. Instead of just telling us what happened and letting consumers fill in the blanks, they’re hell bent on telling us how to feel about things. Watching TV news or going to any news site is more of an indoctrination session than an info feed. They’re not there to give us details, they’re there to confirm their own ideological biases and preach to the choir.

Instead of chronicling reality, they’re actively trying to CREATE it. And nothing demonstrates this more than that stupid “America Divided” jerk-a-thon.

First off, how is America divided? Is it because half of the country voted for the guy who is now president and the other half didn’t? Well, hate to break it to you guys, but that’s pretty much been the case in EVERY election we’ve ever had. Why weren’t you media types throwing “America divided” parties when Obama and Clinton were in office? Surely, it can’t be because those presidents were *your guys* and you didn’t want to do anything to make it look like their presidencies weren’t effective, right?

Is it divided because half the population is men and the other half is women? Sorry, guys, but that’s not exactly a new statistical phenomenon – in fact, that’s pretty much been the case since Adam and Eve. Hell, there’s more of an argument to be made that women are the ones who are divided politically, since the female vote was about 54 percent Clinton and 41 percent Trump. But then again, such chatter would halve instead of “unite” a powerful identity politics lobby, and as such the discussion must remain verboten.

Is it divided because whites are about 60 percent of the country and everybody else combined makes up about 40 percent of the ethnoracial pie chart? While most of the white vote went to Trump, how soon we forget that a third of all Hispanics, a third of all Asian-Americans and about one out of every 10 black people in the States likewise cast their vote for the same candidate. There are at least one million African-Americans who cast their ballots for Trump – and presumably, it wasn’t because “I’m a white supremacist.” But no, we can’t talk about that, either, because it would give people the horrible idea that maybe – just maybe – race and political ideology aren’t joined at the hip.

Is it divided because half the nation is straight and half the nation is gay? Well, no, primarily because the entire LGBT spectrum only makes up about 4 percent of the total U.S. populace. Furthermore, a majority of Americans support gay marriage, with 83 percent of Americans under the age of 30 saying they’re cool with it. Sorry, but I’m not entirely sure I’d call a 90-for/10-against split anything even remotely close to a “divisive issue” anymore.

Is it divided because of politics? Sure as sugar, half the country is republican and the other half is democrat – you know, excluding the 45 percent of Americans who didn’t vote at all in last year’s election. That’s a sum higher than the percentage of Americans who voted for either candidate and an amount that’s just seven percentage points away from exceeding Trump and Clinton’s combined vote count. A more statistically realistic account of “a divided America” wouldn’t be liberal vs. conservative, it would be all the people who vote for any political parties versus all the people who don’t vote for any political parties. But since we have to make EVERYTHING about partisan politics, of course you know the media’s going to shy away from that one.

So how is America allegedly divided again? Well, it’s divided, simply put, because the media WANTS us to think it’s divided. They WANT the masses to believe if they look a certain way or have a certain set of genitals or have skin a certain color or prefer their sex in a certain way that they OUGHT to believe the same thing as everybody else who shares those same traits. It’s an orchestrated attempt to make people irrationally afraid and mistrustful of one another, simply because it suits a political agenda. It’s propaganda, plain and simple, masquerading as a genuine reflection of current events.

How many times have you seen whites and blacks engaged in mortal combat at the post office? Have you ever seen an armada of men colliding into an armada of women in a fight to the death at Target? Is there tribalistic gay vs. straight gang violence happening on every inner city block in America? Are republican senators popping caps in democratic senators’ asses a’la the Tupac and Biggie rivalry?

Sorry, but that divided America the news people keep telling us exists just ain’t showing up on my radar. What I see are a bunch of people doing the exact same things they did on a daily basis when Obama was president, which was the exact same thing they were doing when Bush was president, which was the exact same thing they were doing when Clinton was president.

People still go to the grocery store and pay attention to traffic signals and hold doors for little old ladies and report erratic drivers to the local authorities. They still hold barbecues and let their dogs run around at the park and order pizza on Friday nights and gamble on pro football games. They still get excited when their kids win spelling bees and they get a paid day off work and feel satisfied when they’re done doing yard work and feel oddly satisfied whenever they stop the microwave right before the buzzer goes off.

Whatever stupid arbitrary bullshit you want to say divides us like race and politics and sexual orientation ain’t nothin’ compared to the power of the things that UNITE us. We all respect individual freedom and unrepentant consumerism and at least the idea we’ve got law and order and that’s enough to hold everything together, regardless of all that other identity politics nonsense.

We’re all united by the belief that we should be who we are and do whatever we want in private just as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody who doesn’t want to get hurt. We’re all united by the belief that our time belongs to us alone and we’re free to associate ourselves with whoever and whatever we want to just as long as they ain’t going out and killing anybody later that evening. We’re all united by the belief that I won’t mess up your fun if you won’t mess up my fun and you break it, you bought it.

These are the transracial, transgender and transpolitical things that keep America from devolving into some sort of third world Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome hellhole. And that beautiful non-interventionist philosophy is alive and well today and on full display at every PTA meeting, community cookout and church fundraiser in the country.

And if you STILL think America is divided after all that, well … something tells me you’ve got some major executive functioning problems going on. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

James Swift is an Atlanta-based writer and reporter.

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