The New Political Era

Words by Anonymous

Art by Jessica Oats


The New Political Era


It was mid lockdown in 2020, and I saw that one of my best friends from highschool had posted a link to a news article on his Snapchat story, of all places. The headline read something along the lines of, “Donald Trump Knowingly Colluded with Russia in 2016 Election, FBI Report Reveals”. Thinking this was absolutely groundbreaking, I quickly googled the report. I was ready to read and cheekily share with my Trump supporting family and friends. 


But when I found this particular report, I quickly realised that one of the first few lines read something to the effect of, “Donald Trump did not know, and had no reason to know, of any Russian interference.” I texted my friend and he took his story down quickly. 


My friend who posted the story is one of the most intelligent people I know, and I would trust him with my life. He isn’t especially politically vocal, biased, polarised or invested, but he is informed. He would be the last person who would share misinformation, and yet, unknowingly, and with the best intentions, he did. 


From that moment on, I have seen the political landscape entirely differently. It was at that moment that not only did I truly internalise the fact that no media could be trusted, but that people have no idea what they’re talking about. If my friend was doing it, I certainly was too. I began fact checking everything I could. 


Recently, we have seen the discussion of a lot of complex issues, like vaccines, climate change, Ukraine, the Middle East, a Voice to Parliament, abortion, and so much more. Each side will label these issues in a particular way, and then frame that judgement or opinion as a given. For example, someone who is pro-choice is so often labelled as a “baby murderer” who is going to hell, whilst someone who is pro-life is labelled as someone who “hates women”. 


Likewise, someone who believes in the climate crisis, its man-made nature, and its impending threat to humanity, will be harassed and mocked for their efforts to ensure climate action (see, e.g. Greta Thunberg). Someone who denies climate change, or believes that it is naturally occurring will be called a conspiracy theorist, and may be socially ostracised. 


I could go on and on, and could probably have chosen some less controversial examples, but I invite you to reflect on whatever it is that you’re most passionate about, that you will never change your mind on and that you think makes you a good person for believing. Go read the primary documents, and listen to people’s personal experiences. 


I don’t particularly care where you fall on the political spectrum (within reason), because whilst people are very happy to say that there are bad people everywhere, they forget that goodness exists there too. 


The people who you fundamentally disagree with on certain issues may agree with you on 99% of everything else. Before you think that “everyone who believes X is evil”, consider that you may not have all the information about why they believe those things.


So take an extra few minutes every time you begin to believe in something strongly. Try to look at the facts on the ground, and form your own opinions as much as you can. Unfollow the biased Instagram political pages, and read from diverse news sources. Listen to everyone who is affected by an issue, and ask whose voice isn’t being heard. Be curious, investigate, and talk to people who disagree with you. I promise they’re usually not as unreasonable or evil as you think.


The author Anonymous

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