Shortly after the invasion of Iraq was when I became more aware of it. I knew there was bias in the news, could handle watching CNN, MSNBC, Fox – they were all slightly unique. They covered the events that eventually led to the war, they covered the congressional approval debates, that authorized the President to use force to expel Saddam Hussein . They covered when Bush sought UN Approval, citing all the times Saddam violated the sanctions against him without repercussion. They covered the coalition of the willing that created a joint force to do what needed to be done, oust one of the most horrific dictators in the world.
Then the protests started, then the news began to change. The biases solidified. That’s when it started.
It got worse, the longer the war dragged on, there were calls to support our troops, but they started maligning the President. Comparing him to Hitler, over and over again. When Bush won reelection the bias got worse. The Republican congress got bold, and started spending, budgets started to burst, and conservatives sat back a bit shocked. When the mid-term of Bush’s second term started, the power shifts, Republicans were no longer in power in either house. Bush was a true lame duck.
The bias got louder. It wasn’t just the news shows, it was Comedy Central, Late night television, pretty much piling on the sitting President and denouncing the conservative party as dead.
The run up to the 2008 election it got worse, dissent became “racist”, you couldn’t have a thought that wasn’t “correct” without being labeled as racist. President Obama ran on a platform of unity, of trying to bring us together. Days if not weeks into his Presidency it was apparent that unity meant only the unity of those with the proper thoughts, not ones opposed to the agenda of the Democratic party. We were going to get a healthcare bill.
Dissent, was shouted down. The Tea Party, that started up as a conservative response to Republican overspending, started to protest the healthcare bill. I attended a rally in my town. I got home from the rally, glad to have put my voice into a political movement. I came home and turned on the news, what would they say about this protest, after so glowingly covering the war protests.
I was called a racist. The whole tea-party movement was coalesced into that one phrase, “racist hate mongers”.
That was when it became apparent to me that the narrative on the nightly cable news shows wasn’t ever going to be fair.
So I tuned out. I retreated from being political. My voice didn’t matter. The new wave was upon us.
Then the primaries for this year started. Trump was all in the news and the news was all bad. The chorus was “he was a hate filled bigot that hated women” – sounded familiar. I was never a fan of Trump. He never earned by vote. But I could understand there were people like me out there, that would want to vote for him. People that had been told repeatedly by Cable News, Comedy Central, Late Night TV, SNL, that their views and values were outdated, they weren’t enlightened. People told through the summer of BLM, that they were racists. Then in the final weeks of the election, oh the social media… being told how to vote by all sorts of celebrities. Respected directors and actors, putting out videos shutting down one side of the country.
I just wanted to crawl into a hole, I was silenced, I gave up ever trying to be understood.
That’s how I felt when I tuned into election night coverage. I don’t think my story is singular, nor do I think it fair. I don’t think my views are always correct. I need to have my narratives challenged, I want to see an issue in its entirety. I hope that this election will start to change the conversation.
Though it feels like all the places that silenced me, are doubling down in their aggression for the “one true thought”
Now you talk.