Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Let Us Stop Division and Hatred


"Don't try to convince me. I can't be persuaded." That's what happens sometimes when you talk politics with a group of friends. If there are people with different political positions, some are determined not to talk at all. This may be because they saw cases where arguing did not end well. So begins the Peace Column in the Catholic Peace Weekly.

It is natural to have diverse opinions in this world in which we live. The problem is the merciless response to different opinions. This phenomenon stands out in politics. Comments of political parties will inevitably be harsh, but some media, especially private media such as YouTube, often spread unfeeling words about opposing camps. Individuals also gossip about politics in the comments. Harmony and compromise seem to be disappearing even in personal conversation. How did we end up arguing with so little understanding of the other?

There is a theory called the Echo Chamber Effect.  They are like echoes in a room when people with similar thoughts gather together and share.  It is a phenomenon in which they fall deeper into their own prejudices. As the media ecosystem changed, personal media such as YouTube exploded. Many media make different sounds, and inmates are only picky about media that make the same sound like their own. The spread of the opinions is trapped within a certain framework, and some show confirmation bias. Changes in the media environment are one of the factors that have widened the gap between positions.

In addition, a political fandom phenomenon has been added. A fandom is a group that enthusiastically likes a particular field or individual. It also attacks the opposing camp violently in the process of overly defending its supporters. Populist politicians abuse the support of their fandom for selfish reasons and incite fandom to protect themselves. Fandom blinds the eyes and blocks the ears to reasonable dialogue and deepens conflict.

The bigger reason is it not the trust in violence? We try to solve social problems, such as labor, as well as political problems, by force. Intertwined with justice is hypocrisy, causing confusion of values and undermining trust. What can be said are those who have destroyed value incite, and those who are involved in incitement run wild.

When division and hatred abound, national power is not only damaged, but individual minds are impoverished. Nevertheless, few politicians are working to heal conflicts and work for unity. Efforts to resolve through negotiations are rare and are usually influenced by numbers and power. There is no end to the fight because the driven ones do not back down. Self-interest groups are only busy preparing for their own needs under the slogan of unity and conflict. To work toward unity should be taught in schools, and he realizes this is a big order.

What Democrat Biden said during the U.S. presidential campaign last year is impressive. "Red is also America," referring to the red symbol of the Republican Party. Would it not be better if our political leaders did the same? Can't we appeal to supporters to stop division and hatred? The church should raise its voice for reconciliation and unity. The media should make efforts for social inclusion and individuals should stop accepting the bias of the media, and not be swayed by partisan incitement. We have experienced the devastation of the Korean War. If you don't learn from the past, there's no future.

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