Today, you have the right wing blaming the Democrats for the government shutdown and the left wing blaming the President. We are a nation dangerously divided along party lines, within families, and amongst friends to the point where it’s easier to just “unfriend” someone as oppose to read another one of their annoying posts.
So, how did this come about? It wasn’t like this in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Yes, there were disagreements, but nothing at the levels we see now. The advent of the Internet did play an important role, but the real answer lies in the Fairness Act of 1949. This law was enacted to ensure that any news organization wanting to hold of broadcast license had to present both sides of a controversial issue and to do so in a manner that was honest, equitable, and balanced. In 1987, this act came up for renewal in Congress and, low and behold, Ronald Reagan vetoed the bill.
From that day forward, everything went to hell. News organizations like Fox News, MSNBC, Breitbart, the Huffington Post, and hundreds of others sprung up touting one sided opinions using misinformation and out right lies to express their political beliefs. Ever since then, we as a nation have suffered.
So would reinstating the Fairness Act solve all our problems and make this nation whole again? Probably not, but it would surely go a long way in reducing the tensions we see now. It may not change someone’s opinion on a topic after hearing both sides, but it will definitely make them less outraged and less judgmental.
It’s worth a try, because at the rate we’re going, Thanksgivings will become a thing of the past. That may not seem like a big thing, but I love pumpkin pie dammit and it’s the only time of the year my wife will make it.