Stop Screaming

By: Julian Fahrion

Please stop screaming. If we can do that, this year will go much smoother than 2016 did. There are a lot of issues in the world that people have very strong opinions about, and that is fine, but please stop screaming.

It seems like everyone is shouting and wailing about Trump, Brexit, or the controversial decision of choice in their home country. People are screaming with their families in their homes, people are screaming in the streets, people are screaming in the White House and in the courts, and the media is screaming with them. Please stop. It is giving us a headache.

The 2016 election was exceptionally divisive, culminating the day after Trump’s inauguration in the Jan. 21 Women’s March, the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. Ultimately, the march was a congregation of people screaming and complaining. It accomplished nothing except to show how many people are rabidly against Trump. There was very little calm discourse or reasoned debate, only a mass of people refusing to accept circumstances. Screaming that someone is a sexual predator will not change people’s minds, even if you have three million people screaming with you.

The media, too, has sacrificed any pretense of neutrality and objectivity in order to join in the doomsaying and wailing of the people. Controversial events should be covered, yes, but they should not be the sole focus of the news. Even science- or entertainment-focused publications have spent an inordinate amount of time covering Trump and his effect on their field of choice. Trump (and any similar controversy) dominates the public consciousness because no one seems capable of talking about anything else.

There are acceptable forums for voicing political opinions, but there are also places where controversy should be left outside. Social media, for example, is infested with the idea that one’s thoughts should be voiced loudly and at every opportunity. The people listening are, more often than not, those who agree with you. The only thing screaming accomplishes there is making allies sick of hearing about the world’s problems. People who disagree with an opinion will rarely be convinced by a rambling tirade or a bombardment of accusations. The main casualties will, as always, be the people in the middle who are just trying to get on with their lives. Encountering vitriol and hate online has never done anyone any good.

Even this opinion piece is adding more noise to the cacophony, but it is written in the hopes that at least a few more people will put thought into how they are approaching current events. Minds are not changed by marches and attacks. They are changed by empathy and reason. Too many times people have made statements like, “I can’t understand why women voted for Trump,” or “I don’t get why people support the Dakota Access Pipeline.” Why don’t you ask and listen?

All that needs to happen is for people to put aside their assumptions and talk to each other. There are fanatics in the world, and screaming to change their minds is futile. Speak instead to the people, the voters, the base upon which movements are founded. In the end, they decide what happens – not the media, not the military, and not the politicians, but the hearts and minds of the people.

If you want to change the world, you can. All you need to do is have calm conversations, keep an open mind, and, please, for everyone’s sake, stop screaming.


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