OPINION: Divided we fall

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Once again, we are a nation divided.

Misinformation through social media can be crushing.

We have long thrived as a country with a division of ideals, but a consensus of pride.

Yes, there are groups in the west feel we in the east don’t listen to their concerns. Separatist elements in Quebec have at times sought to break away from the nation in general.

But now…now have fact versus fiction. Algorithms on various social media platforms just care about engagement – keeping eyeballs on their web platforms for as long as possible. They have mastered the terrible art of showing their members and viewers material that keeps them reading or watching. In so many cases, that material slides towards one extreme or another.

People have gone from merely questioning the vaccine and its safety to being convinced their way of life is under attack.

At the other side we have people who began the pandemic concerned about the impact of catching it, either for themselves or a loved one. They aren’t even in a high-risk category for complications, nor are their immediate family members or circle of friends.

However, as time passes and they peer at the world through social media, they become afraid to go outdoors, scared to interact with others out of fear of catching COVID.

It’s impacted their lives. They’ve been double vaxxed and then boosted, but they still stay glued to their couches, ordering online and undermining their local economies by letting their fears win out; fears that were supported and augmented by those algorithms.

We need to stop being these extremes. We need a return to even-tempered discussion on issues, including masks, vaccines and the virus.

This has all divided us to the point we are all correct: the pandemic is ruining our regular ways of life.

Not every person opposed to the vaccine is a violent protester. Very few are. Most are willing to mask up and go into stores to get what they need and go home.

And not everyone who is fully vaccinated is pointing fingers at anti-vaxxers, accusing them of being extremely selfish.

We need to realize this. There is a great deal of middle ground.

For every person who said to Freedom Convoy supporters that they hoped someone took a rifle with them, and for every individual who gave protesters the finger – events that took place in Chatham this weekend, witnessed by Voice personnel – there are thousands who are just plain frustrated and are looking for a way to vent.

1 COMMENT

  1. I ditched (anti-)social media like facebook, twitter, and all those about a year ago and over time noticed a remarkable improvement in my mental health as well as my ability to live harmoniously with my neighbours. I also had more time for hobbies and personal projects, something that I was frustrated with not having enough time for in the past.

    I’m never going to buy a smartphone again because I’m much happier being minimally connected. I check the news on the weekend, and the rest of the week I live my life paying attention only to the things that actually affect me. Who needs to be surfing the internet every 5 seconds when the people who are important to me are literally right here.

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