WARNING: The following words may cause severe anger and the urge to spontaneously combust. However, if you look at them long enough, you might just see where I’m coming from.
Allow me to preface the following piece with the fact that, before the most recent American election (yes, that one), I would have considered myself left-wing.
Left-wing because consciously, I support gay marriage equality and the abolishment of offshore refugee detention centres. Likewise, I considered myself economically left-wing because the rich should not continue to get richer at the expense of the middle and lower classes.
But — and this is a big one — the recent American election, and the consequent left-wing media coverage and protests, have changed my mind.
Look at this pic below:
One thing every media student is taught is that behind every story, you must ask yourself “so what?”. So let us apply that mantra to this picture.
So. Fucking. What?
Who gives a flying fuck whether or not Donald Trump wants to be seen playing golf. Better still, who gives a fuck whether he even plays golf.
Here’s another one:
— CNN (@CNN) February 11, 2017
I get it — a 19-second handshake is weird. So weird, in fact, that it reminds us of that creepy uncle we all have who tries to stay cool and relevant even though we can all see his low-key receding hairline and growing belly.
But, back to my original question: So what?
What does it matter if Donald Trump shakes Shinzo Abe’s hand for 19 seconds? If someone is able to show me the direct correlation between the length of one’s handshake and their ability to govern a nation, I am all ears. However, I welcome the silence.
I welcome the silence because we need to call out left-wing media for these blatant character assassinations. Yes, that sounds like something Tony Abbott said in 2015 after his budgie smugglers fiasco, but this is exactly what they are.
It frightens me to think reputable companies like CNN are harvesting likes and views at the expense of quality journalism. It frightens me to think influential sites like The Independent are portraying President Trump as some looney simply because he wants some privacy, some down time.
But what frightens me most is our willingness to absorb this junk, or in the least tacitly comply with it. It seems we are so loyal to our respective left- or right-wing views, we would rather dig our heels into the dirt than concede any ground to the opposition.
We see it all the time in Australia, too. Prime Minister Turnbull recently announced a new parental leave scheme which assists families in raising infants. Yet, true to form, leftists would not — could not — see that this is a step in the right direction.
This trend worries me because parliaments, and democracies as a whole, ostensibly exist to do what is in the interests of the people. Yet, how can we do that if dogmatism is trumping pragmatism?
So what can we do to remedy this shit fight?
Well, I would advise everyone to keep an open mind. If you strongly believe in gay rights, then power to you. However, it would not hurt to at least listen to what the other side has to say. Dialogue is the first step to progress.
Hearing about violent protests like this as a means of barring people from voicing their views is anti-democratic. Ironic, if you will.
Next, whenever you’re reading a news article, be wary of any bias for either side. Journalists are the fourth pillar of society; they have an obligation to deliver the news to people with as much bipartisanship as possible. If they are presenting a story with bias, even if it’s bias you agree with, you can be rest assured the joke is on you.
Don’t be ashamed to admit you read The Daily Telegraph or watch FOX News. The fact that you are able to engage with both sides makes you a better person in the long run. Worst case scenario, you can laugh at people like Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly who are disgustingly biased.
Don’t build a wall around yourself like the one Trump is trying to build — build bridges.
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