At the current juncture, it seems our country is dealing with a large set of issues. We hate each other more than ever before. Whether it is politics, religion, or just a lack of compassion for one another, most citizens feel as if the country, as a whole, is polarized worse than it ever has been prior. Not only that, but we feel alone more than we ever have as well. Both men and women in the United States feel as if they are separated from their fellow men. Depression is becoming more common amongst the general populous, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic due to lockdowns.
So, what is the common link here? What is invoking this negative attitude in our people?
The answer lies in a lack of individualistic identity.
More than ever, a collectivist mindset is common among those who have opinions on virtually anything in American society. Whether that be race, politics, issue-based passion, etc., nearly every American has some collective identity they attribute to themselves that makes them alienate those who are different or disagree. Identity polarization has never been as relevant as it was this past year, with the riots of summer 2020 combined with constant debate over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
If you did not agree with lockdowns or enforcing a mask mandate onto citizens, you got portrayed as a person who was uncompassionate, ignorant or actively trying to harm their fellow man. If you criticized how ANTIFA or BLM handled the conversations involving race following the George Floyd incident, you got labeled as a white supremacist, part of the problem regarding racial discrimination, or even a 'Nazi.' The same applies to an inherent value some Americans have put into their government. Instead of forming their own opinions about issues such as masks, mandates, or opening up the economy, many Americans adhered to what the mainstream media, elected or appointed officials or someone on Twitter was telling them how to feel and what to do during such a dire circumstance as we all got exposed to the past year and a half. The last time Americans entrusted elitists, both in media and the federal government, 'The Patriot Act' got introduced into law, which is a troubling comparison.
The same goes for the current view of the media. News organizations have become so biased and opinion-centered that it is hard to differentiate reporting from activism. However, this discrepancy is what those in the mainstream have taken advantage of in handling criticism. When individuals criticize what they believe to be bias coming from the people supposed to be updating what is happening around them instead of preaching political activism, viewers get portrayed as critics. Instead, they get displayed as assailants on the free press and advocates for misinformation. Media is not only biased as it has ever been but viewed as a profession that should be free to influence politics and public opinion without criticism from the general public. The sad part is that many Americans side with this contaminated view of what media should be. The ‘Freedom of the Press’ does not mean freedom from criticism. Still, unfortunately, a majority of media has created a collectivist mindset to trick viewers and readers into believing that if they do criticize, they are actively hurting reported information.
All of these results are outcomes that have derived from Americans losing their individualism. Instead of making up their minds, thinking about issues for themselves, or even reading about aspects of a problem they might disagree with, citizens decided to obey the collectivist identity they have aligned themselves with to feel they are a part of their identity something bigger than themselves. Collectivism does not always require a negative connotation. Identities as important as being patriotic about your country or state down to who you cheer for in collegiate athletics are all positive attributes that come from a dose of collectivism in an individual's mindset.
However, when that alignment with a collectivist identity starts to interfere with a person's ability to think independently and not lose their mind when they hear an opposing view, a severe problem has infiltrated our culture and way of life.
By the principles on which this country was founded, we must reprioritize the concept and value of individual liberty. Citizens of this country need to find themselves again. The federal government bureaucracy won this battle along with the help of the mainstream media by making us all feel as if we need them to survive in this life. The best part is: we don't.