The seemingly unending amount of political nonsense currently occurring in the U. S. of A. this election cycle is just… punishing. I can really think of no other word to describe it better than that. I suppose this isn’t terribly different from any other major election year, but it just feels like all of us are being forced to repay some horrible debt or penance by watching all of this unfold. I don’t think I did anything to deserve it… sooooo… yeah, I’m blaming you. Had to be done – please just accept your responsibility, apologize and let’s move on together into a bright new future, mmkay? Sweet.
A great term of this political season… and truly of any moment within which soap-boxing and pontificating are taking center stage… is “the echo chamber”. While our friends at Merriam-Webster take the more traditional definition of echo chamber as “a room with sound-reflecting walls used for producing hollow or echoing sound effects”, I am using it in a slightly more recent sense. In this case, an echo chamber would be where people preach their views only to the like-minded who, in turn, repeat it to others of the same mind, thus amplifying to the view to the point it seems like a God-given truth. In reality, it’s just an echo amongst the willing and truly nothing more.
That’s the challenge of the day for all of us, I think. Elections are actually proving to be a really helpful reminder of how we can each avoid our own personal echo chambers. I mean, come on… we all have them. I know I do. ”What’s that? Someone made fun of weightlifters?!?!? I’m totally going to stomp over here, call upon all the people who think exactly like me so we can smugly hang back and mock everyone who does [INSERT DIFFERENT EXERCISE METHODOLOGY HERE].” Why do I do this? Well frankly, because I want to feel right and dammit, I want to be with other people who feel that way too because we are all just SO DAMN RIGHT! Look at us! All in agreement and whatnot! It must be true… I mean, hell… look at ALL OF US agreeing! Oh who cares if we are but 3 out of 7 billion.
Let’s join together, brothers and sisters of this noble fight, and make something useful out of every ugly, pandering political ad tossed out way. Each one can remind us a little more of our own warm, snug cocoons of agreement. Let’s get uncomfortable every once in a while, people.