We do not stand with the domestic terrorists who identify themselves as patriots. Our country is no longer what it was born to be: united. Growing up in this time, our generation and future generations have seen little true democracy in our government as we are being raised in a divided country.
Nothing was more proof of this divide, than the storming of the Capitol Building that occurred on Jan. 6. This showcased not only the tension between political parties, but the tension within them. This was a turning point for the country as a whole, showcasing the lengths radical extremists who support Trump were willing to go to ensure he was elected again. His supporters were willing to risk the democracy of our country, for one man and his outdated beliefs.
Many aspects of the attack on the Capitol Building demonstrated incredible situational irony. Images of Trump supporters climbing a wall to get into the capital went viral when these were the same people that supported the construction of a border wall to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the U.S. Meanwhile, they were trespassing on government property. Videos of rioters beating up a police officer were also released; these were the same people who have been taking charge of the Blue Lives Matter movement. These people who call themselves “patriots” stormed the capitol building with the sole purpose of stopping the very foundation of our country: its democracy.
Rioters brought horrifying, anti-Semitic symbols into the Capitol, such as, a Camp Auschwitz t-shirt, the presence of members of the white supremecy group the Proud Boys, and a “6MWE” shirt that stands for “6 million weren’t enough”. For the first time in history, a confederate flag was brought into the capitol building. Not only is the flag a direct representation of racism, but it also shows support for enslavement and civil unrest. Just as the Confederacy lost the Civil War, Trump supporters lost the election.
As we are living through an age of social media, the power of words is becoming increasingly important. People are more connected than ever before, and news, however inaccurate it may be, can spread quickly. People are now increasingly vulnerable to being exposed to and believing conspiracy theories and lies. This is an especially dangerous notion, considering that those who do not agree with what is being reported can deem any news as “fake news”. It is also especially dangerous to consider that those that perpetuate the idea of “fake news” are the ones using this as a tactic to take advantage of and manipulate people who no longer know what to believe in or listen to. It feels as though that Trump’s supporters receive everything Trump encourages or merely states positively. The most fervent of his supporters follow it blindly and do not question their morals before taking part in the actions that he incites.
Social media algorithms can curate users’ feeds to show only what they know a user to be interested in. This means that your social media is only showing you what it knows you want to hear or see, which is not the full picture. We can all do better in trying to obtain the greatest variety of news we can, from multiple sources and perspectives.
By going beyond the information that social media platforms choose for us and exposing ourselves to various platforms, our generation can use these tools to educate ourselves on important topics. This easy access to information on the internet, while sometimes a negative, allows us to develop educated opinions, independent from those around us when we search for information and question what we are told. However, as almost everyone has access to posting information on the internet, those who choose to use their platform to inform others need to do their research and educate themselves first to avoid themselves and their audience falling into conspiracies and false information. It is equally essential for those who keep their opinions to themselves to educate themselves before settling on a belief, which is why it is so crucial for people on all sides of issues to express themselves with truthful evidence and limit the amount of false information spread.
Biden’s presidency is now more crucial than ever before. He holds the daunting task of uniting our strongly divided country. This divide became more and more apparent following the attack on Capitol Hill. The next four years and how President Joe Biden goes about his term will set the stage for the future of this country. Regardless of our party affiliations, the U.S., as a country, needs to come together. We need to recognize that no matter our political views, we share one country, and must unite to preserve the democracy that the country was built under, while also creating a more accepting community because human rights should not be a political issue. We are living through a time of extreme political divide, as well as historic events and threats such as COVID-19, and remaining united is crucial. Our country needs Biden as a strong, unifying leader and for people to come together, now more than ever.
By Editor-in-Chief Paige Chassman, Editor-in-Chief Stephanie Metzger, and Opinion Editor Ruby Widergren