I temporarily had to re-enable my Facebook account because I needed to login to another platform and use the social media login. I had yet to connect another social platform or username or password to my account. So enabled it I did. What I noticed next may surprise you. Or not, it's 2020.

I originally disabled my Facebook account because it started to become a place where people were more about being right than wanting to be a community. Rather than unity or tolerance of other views, it became just as divided as American politics. All due to American politics. πŸ‘»

I've reflected a lot over the last 6-8 months on everything happening in the USA. I've already cast my vote and this year I went for Biden. I don't like all of his policies or some of the stances he is taking but I like him an awful lot more than the guy currently in office.

This year in particular has been bad. Misinformation is rampant. People seem to have forgotten what happened in 2016 with Russia interfering by purchasing ads for propaganda as well as creating fake social media accounts to push and embolden the less ideal personality preferences of some people.

This year, instead of one country we have three trying to propagate false narratives and create strife in the country. It seems like social media is the centerpiece of it all.

I have people in my life who have decided to take politics and make it like a football game. Their side is either winning or losing and they want their team to slam the other harder. They don't care if they are right or wrong because there is no right or wrong. Their mission is to beat the other team.

I tried to entertain discussions on Facebook, provoke deeper thinking than just the headline news. I would enter other chats to engage and hopefully take a calmer approach to the words being thrown around.

I just got tired of it. Those who were just seeking inflammatory news kept finding inflammatory news. Those wanting to be mad kept being mad. Those who loved conspiracy and propaganda continued to love conspiracy and propaganda. There was no reasoning with them.

I could have just removed those people from Facebook, but I would have been left with all but a few people and most of my family removed. So I disabled my account.

When I signed back into Facebook just a few days ago, I realized that I abandoned a Facebook group I've been in charge of for the last 7 years. It was the Utah League of Legends group. With 1000+ members and it was a semi-active community. It's kind of sad, but since I disabled my account it removed me as an administrator of the group. This only helped resolve any attachment I had to the group once disabling my account for a second third time.

I also decided to look through some timeline posts to see what people are posting about. Same shit, different day. They were different topics but included the same motives and same logic. These people haven't changed. Inflammatory, propaganda, conspiracy, and the pure insensitivity to it all.

There is a part of me that feels like I should stay on there and push to have these conversations. I do have a sense of obligation to moderate conversations and entice further deeper and alternative thinking. But, for several reasons, I feel like I've either lost the motivation or even just ask myself what's the point. It obviously didn't work before. I know some posts I went to comment on, had some civility. Some people changed their stances. Many, if not most, don't.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and stance, but I felt very alone with my stance. I felt like fewer people were agreeing with the way I saw things than there were who hated my view of what was going on. I felt like with my research on current topics and trying to be neutral, many people were biased and spewing propaganda coming from one side or the other.

There were so many extremes in these conversations that it's difficult to even land on common ground. It was almost like for people to deal with what was going on, they had to latch onto something extreme to justify their feelings. My wife, taking a mental health class at the time, even related what was going on as a group-wide identity attack. So people are unable to see what is going on because they've taken who've they've aligned with and voted for as part of their identity.

In this election, there is a sense of urgency but the next best options aren't ideal. Third-party candidates are even subpar let alone this election they definitely won't be a viable option. So where do we go from here?

The things that have been pushing me further and further away from the Republican party is a lot of the fear-mongering the party tends to take. It feels like a party based on manipulation. Can you be a free thinker if you buy into the things they prescribe? You have to be constantly fearing that democrats are going to destroy America. You have to be constantly fearing that the country is going to be in immediate danger if we reduce our military budget. You have to be fearful your guns are going to be taken away. You have to be fearful of immigrants and drug mafia that are running rampant throughout the US. And you have to idolize the person that's holding the office of president, so long as they are president. They are infallible, and it's the Democrats' fault for them not being able to get anything done.

It's too extreme for me to buy into all of the wishful fear that they try to push. To me, it feels too far to be believable. But the people who believe it argue it's 100% true with very little to back it up with besides Fox News said it. These republican sensationalist aren't any better than conspiracy theorists. Their claims are based on truth but before you know it you've been chained to the jaws of sensational political gossip.

Trump

I'm going to attack Trump here a bit because he is currently president. I was worried when he first got elected. I felt like my country views were shook when Trump was elected. I felt like the values and morals that I believed Americans stood for, actually was lower than I was taught and held. Trump in my mind, has never been a great businessman. On TV he has always been contentious and a prick. Besides that, before he got elected there were several lawsuits and payoffs. You could argue that it was all due to him running for president but honestly? He has been a public figure for a long time. I felt like his character was bleeding out of him before he was even elected.

I was worried at the time that he was going to start a war with China. I disapproved of his plan for building a wall. To me, the wall was a symbol of the inability of political diplomacy or dealing with the actual problem. A country with the massive military might, hiding behind a wall because they can't deal with "illegals and drug cartel". Besides that, the cost of upkeep and doubting how much of this kind of stuff happens and whether or not this is just fear-mongering based. I think it happens but I doubt the extent Trump and other republicans like to rave about.

Throughout the last 4 years, Trump has repeatedly stirred the pot when it comes to controversial issues. His entire platform was built on him being the only right and smart guy in the room. So "fake news media" has been blasted so much, people who disagree with a topic - regardless if it is factual or not - is labeled as "fake" just because they are ignorant on the topic and disagree. That's extremely unproductive especially when you are in the middle of a pandemic where the country you live in should be able to provide protective guidance on what to do in the midst of it all.

I've felt like because Trump has been shifting blame not taking any sort of responsibility, there has been a massive vacuum of authority that needed to be filled. By other presidents in the recent past, people may have seen the same to various degrees but maybe not to this extent. Because of that vacuum, conspiracy grows and runs rampant due to a lack of information and unity on what things are and where things are headed.

Can anyone confidently say for sure they know what is true?

The thing that concerns me the most about Trump is this recent election. Why is this the year he decided to cast doubt on the voting system? Why did the Republicans push so hard to get Amy Coney Barret into the senate within a month when 4 years ago they bitched about it being too soon with 8 months to go to the next election? Why did Trump withhold money from the USPS and then say they can't do the job without that money as if he was trying to influence the election by mail? Especially since this is the year that many people will be voting by mail.

Before the Democrats decided to use this as their platform when Trump said he wanted to delay the election "until we can be sure there is no fraud" by mail-in voting I suspected he was propping something up for this year's election. And the continuation of these steps only encourages my anxiety on the topic. It seems too coincidental that he has been casting doubt on the validity of anything - including his staff, excluding only him - to mail-in voting; to encouraging pushing through with the senate nomination by delaying the stimulus check; to withholding funding from the USPS; to him bragging that Russia, China, and North Korea want him in office for a second term. And maybe more that I'm not remembering.

The last one should be the most concerning of all. In 2016 Russia played a huge part in spreading misinformation during the election. The FBI came out and said they were heavily involved and Trump even encouraged it while he was running. Some people seem to have forgotten, this is why Trump and his staff were being investigated and many were prosecuted for having ties and dealings with Russia. This year, the FBI has come out and said that Russia, China, and Iran are now trying to influence this year's election. Again, Trump is welcoming the support even bragging about it. So shouldn't that be a sign that Trump is not a good president when the 3 adversaries of the USA is welcoming his reelection?

For those who wanted a disruptive president, we definitely got one. But, it should also be noted that anything he does that is unprecedented, means future presidents can and may use those tactics to their advantage. In my opinion, it's a degradation of the chair of the president. Which is funny given the "preservation of what was" is the whole premise behind Republicans anyway.

COVID

COVID has been hard on everyone, especially those who have lost someone due to it. It's been particularly hard to see that people have doubted its existence, meanwhile, hospitals are seemingly overwhelmed by it. Utah right now is at its worse levels since the beginning of this year and no one cares to wear a mask. Their freedoms must be more important than the 59,000 people they individually may unknowingly infect. It's a sad thing to see. Especially in a state where LDS (Christian based faith) is practiced so heavily. Love thy neighbor until "personal preferences or individual liberties supersede their well being" must be the new modern "love" of Christ.

People have a point when it comes to letting something control your life. I agree that you shouldn't let something take over your life because you are afraid of it. But wearing a mask isn't being afraid, it's acknowledging the problem and caring for those around you. It's not a submission of your freedoms. Just like choosing not to wear one, choosing to wear one is also a freedom.

I also believe that Governments should not try to control their citizens by a way of force. But to a certain extent when it comes to a health crisis, such as the one we are in the middle of, I think governments should be delegated the responsibility to coordinate and execute protective health measures. Because they should be a central hub for health information. This way a more organized response can be enacted. The people who are currently frustrated with the current response by the state never try to explain what the expected role a state should play if there should be a health crisis. Are we expected to fend for ourselves when something threatens our citizens? At what point do we give enough power to the government to provide "safety"? What about an attack on American soil? Is the same response of states saying "take shelter or put blackout curtains" an infringement of civil liberties?

I doubt most people know that the states are in control during a health crisis. They have the authority to deem certain restrictions as needed for the overall well-being of the citizens that reside in it. Just the other day, 12 people had to fly back once arriving in Hawaii because they didn't get tested by a Hawaii approve COVID testing facility. So the state would not let them enter. To protect their citizens.

Somehow, somewhere people got it in their heads that the initial sanctions were government overreach. And I believe that is why we are in the mess we are today. Even with an abundance of proof that mask-wearing can reduce the spread of COVID, doesn't cause lung problems or sickness, people have given up for the sake of "living". So much for the suckers who won't live due to that decision.

I think the administration failed and should have acted sooner. I think the argument trying to be made that one political figure or another was for or against shutting down the border is bunk. They knew before it hit our shores that it could take a week before you show symptoms and their first reaction was to check temperatures. Like wtf? It should have been a mandatory 2-week quarantine once it started traveling. Everything is hindsight 2020 right? I don't feel like it. I felt like the information coming from the WHO was pretty clear, but I don't think Trump wanted to act on it. As he's said many times he didn't want to panic the country.

Why did it take Trump 3 almost 4 months to finally make the call that we need the private sector to start making PPE and ventilators? Do you know who stepped up in the meantime? 3D Printing hobbyists. We were out of protective equipment before the second month had gone by.

Fun fact, did you know Australia has been able to get their daily new COVID cases down to 0 recently? Not only once but twice! Now how did they do that? Can't be masks, because those obviously cause lung cancer or strep throat or whatever the kids say it does. No... that's exactly what they did. They wore their masks. They are socially distancing. They worked together. Meanwhile, America is doing what America does and leading the charge in COVID cases. No sign of that slowing down any time soon. Or working together or, saving lives. Just blowing that number up. Nuclear even.

Conspiracy

Probably the thing that has bugged me the most is the conspiracies of everything. They are just so aptly convenient to explain any point as to why things were and are happening. Rather than coming from the damn people leading this country, people are happy believing what they've heard from their friend or friend of friends on Facebook. We have the fucking internet where an abundance of information is at our fingertips and people would rather propagate hearsay and gossip over verifying it. Or they just seek out articles that only further their points rather than challenging the idea.

Like when bringing up that I think people should have relied on the CDC's information rather than having Trump undermine their effort. I get responses that are baseless like, "Well Pelosi has the CDC in her pocket". Do people not hear how fucking crazy that sounds? It's more than just the fact that it's one person owning or having something over an organization, it's the fact that it's conveniently the most controversial person in the House and probably the most despised by Republicans. Not only that but NO ONE is blowing a whistle on it. I would expect a response like that from a country that is authoritarian such as North Korea or Russia where they have the ability to shut down whistle blowers. But the USA?

How many people work for the CDC? 10,899

What are the chances that at least one of those people are grounded or at least has some kind of morals or something? Probably pretty high. 11k is a lot of people and that's a lot of personalities. It's a lot less likely they are all mindless drones. It almost doesn't go far enough to say that if above conspiracy is true, maybe it's almost criminal. I would bet she would have to have something pretty strong to keep anyone from breaking out and saying this is a problem... right?

Now, what's more likely, that it was made up to fit a narrative that's been playing all year, it fits within the narrative that the Republicans have been running with around Pelosi and COVID. Or that this one person, somehow has figured out the highest level of corruption and somehow no one can pin her down in a lawsuit even though everyone knows she is manipulating or holding the CDC to something? I hope you said the first one because if you said the last one, Holy Hell. You need to find Jesus and do some soul searching. I'm not just saying that just to be funny or even patronizing. There is something seriously broken here. Where is the proof? Where did that narrative come from? I would put my money on Fox News or some conspiracy group such as Qanon.

BLM

I think this might be the last topic. Who knows, the election is tomorrow today so maybe this article will never end. Sadly, people don't take a mass of people protesting about injustice until church leaders speak up. It's sad that people can't figure out on their own that the intent behind BLM was meant to be good. It was based on questioning whether or not we are as good as we say we are.

God forbid we start questioning that. What? Are we going to find some skeletons in the closet we don't want to face? What is the harm with asking these types of questions when it is based on trying to improve?

The people who have contested this topic with me often jump to and justify that it's made up. It's just people wanting more from the system. In their ignorance, they are even hinting at the idea that "these people" are taking from "the system". This subtle point is the very point!

I argued that the BLM org was separate from the BLM idea. The rioters weren't representative of the spirit of BLM. People still missed the point. People would rather believe that it's a Marxist organization. It's a radical organization. While there were groups stating they represented BLM, none of those extreme viewpoints were what BLM stood for. There are always individuals who try to take advantage of opportunities.

The news, I can't remember which station, decided to show a clip of a single protestor shouting at one point "Down with America". In the frame, there was a USA flag being burned. The media had a heyday with that one and labeled the protestors as terrorists and rebels only seeking to destroy our lovely country.

Trump used that same narrative to try to convince his following that if you voted for Biden, you would continue to live in this type of country. As if people wouldn't realize that the images he was showing were current times. What he was showing was his America.

It's just sad.

There is a lot I've learned over the last few months because of BLM. None of it is particularly comforting. In some cases, it's rather alarming because some of this stuff is still going on today! People think that voter suppression isn't real. So what is going on in Texas? Did you know there used to be a law that prevented that kind of stuff from happening? If any state wanted to try to make it harder for people to vote (aka voter suppression) they would have to clear it with the federal government first. It was initially introduced in 1965 and was called the Voting Rights Act and was signed into the legislature with Martin Luther King Jr.

This bill was to keep states from being able to put literacy tests Β and other restrictive measures on ballots because back then black people didn't have the necessary skills to solve some of these problems to cast their votes. The law made states need to approve their voting changes first with the federal government to make sure they were being fair to all groups of people. Another example of voter suppression was closing down voting centers making people need to travel further to show up to vote. (sound familiar?) This caused people who couldn't take their lunch to go vote, need to take a day to travel and if they couldn't afford to take the day due to their job, they wouldn't vote. Thus voter suppression.

Well in 2013 this law was struck down as the argument was "we've changed". Even though many people who stood next to Martin Luther King Jr. during the signing are still alive today. Many of the people who didn't want to see a black girl in a white school are still alive today. I'm not saying people can't change, but seeing people get upset with confederate general statues being taken down because of what they stood for... I'm skeptical if everyone's on the same page on what it means to have"changed". Seeing what's going on in various states with making it harder to vote justified by the need to making votes more secure with very little or any evidence of fraud. Did we really change?

When talking about police and number of incarcerated. There is the suggestion that the people who have been incarcerated deserve to be there. When you start to learn more into how the prison system was developed, you start to discover the laws were put in place to try to hinder those who just got rights to influence the country. Yes, we are progressing. Yes we are headed in the right direction. But we aren't there yet and for people to argue that we've made it, need to go listen to those who are really affected by these issues.

Trust me. A year or two ago I was on that side of the fence. Thinking the same thoughts. Having a kid of color, reading, seeing and hearing the accounts of those who deal with this sort of stuff throughout the country, I can't just be willfully ignorant to these issues.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. People should dive a little deeper into this topic. That's all the BLM protests should have been, an opportunity for growth. Instead, we focused on the things that are important but are only temporary issues. The idea behind BLM is bigger, more complex, systemic. And I'm not trying to say that we are all at fault, or that there are reparations to be had. It's just some of these problems are built into the foundation of the nation and they need to be addressed. It doesn't matter who is to blame, we just need to move forward. But to do that, we have to recognize there is a problem. If there wasn't we wouldn't have that big of a protest.

No title

Look, the main point of this overly lengthy post, and what I am trying to say is, there are healthy arguments and there are unhealthy arguments. This entire year has been full of unhealthy arguments. The things people have decided to focus on have been more than petty. Childish. For the sake of what? Confirming an ego? "Preserving" a broken system? I just don't understand. I'm disappointed. Even with the strife and all the issues of this year, there was a huge potential for us to excel and come out on top. We could have really shown the world how, we as the United States, face adversaries. Instead, we have the entire world worried about what is going to happen today.

The focus has been more distracted rather than dialed in. It's almost as if it was planned. Instead of us working together we are pitted against one another. And brushing everything political aside, who has created a lot of that division? Who has actively cast doubt, who has actively held a position of influence and decided to use it to spread misinformation, conspiracy, and Fox News narratives? Trump.

I didn't vote to win. I voted for the USA. I voted for the idea of having someone who wants to know the people he is representing. I don't agree with everything he wants to do as I stated 4400 words ago. But I also don't think he is a lesser of evil. To me, Trump is a dead-end for a nation riddled with division.

Hopefully I see you all tomorrow.