Perspectives: What’s really keeping us divided?

OPINION – It looks like the summer of unrest that some have been predicting has officially begun.

After the high drama of the last couple of weeks, it’s been challenging to know just what to write about it. This doesn’t happen very often.

Being criticized for giving voice to unpopular truths doesn’t concern me. It’s typically a good indicator that impact is being made.

My concern is that I’d rather not further widen the deep divisions that are feeding a growing hostility toward one another.

That’s something that the vast majority of media is already doing with great skill.

When sensational and tragic events occur, it’s easy to let our fears outpace our ability to reason. When killings such as occurred in Orlando and Dallas happen in rapid succession, it’s easy to give in to full-blown panic.

With a fresh outrage dominating the news cycle and social media, many people feel an expectation of sorts to choose a side, dig in and fight to the death for their viewpoint. However, few things are quite as black and white as we are led to believe.

It’s when tribal mentality starts to take over that we tend to cinch the blinders on as tightly as we can.

The need for clear and independent thought has never been more critical.

Too often, the sides from which we’re supposed to choose represent a false dilemma.

For instance, if a person doesn’t support everything the police do, are we to assume that they are in lockstep with the Black Lives Matter movement? Likewise, does any reasonable person believe that the only thing keeping the gangsters at bay is the the “Thin Blue Line”?

False dilemmas like these keep us wound up tighter than watch springs as we savage one another online. Mass media feeds the disinformation by offering a narrative that is strictly limited to these two extremes.

This means that people who aren’t used to doing their own homework or vetting the information they’re taking in are likely to perpetuate bad information and greater conflict.

Case in point: One doesn’t have to believe law enforcement is racist to acknowledge that every man-made law is backed by official violence. No matter how minor the infraction, once the state has become involved, violence is always a possibility.

Sometimes that violence is necessary to bring individuals to justice or to halt an act of lethal aggression that threatens the public. The problem arises when official violence is used arbitrarily or unnecessarily as a simple technicality.

The rolling back of essential civil liberties to benefit the power of the state is not something to be taken lightly. Most police officers are good people individually. The problem of abusive state power is a systemic one that requires restricting government to its proper role, not murdering its employees.

By the same token, we don’t have to believe that the murderous acts of an individual genuinely represent the desires of all those who protest against state-sponsored violence. The vast majority of individuals who have spoken out against abusive authority have done so peacefully.

Sadly, they diminish the validity of their cause when they succumb to the temptation to practice identity politics and assign value to lives based upon group identity. This simply creates more unnecessary division among the American public.

When we think in terms of the “blue tribe” versus the “black tribe” – or all other various tribes – we are inviting greater conflict.

Dan Sanchez correctly identified the engine that drives the need for reciprocal bloodshed as collectivism:

Seeing fellows attacked prompts fear and anger. Fear and anger focused by the lens of reason pinpoints individual offenders for the delivery of justice. But refracted through the lens of collectivism and primal reaction, fear and anger disperses into indiscriminate terror and hate, which scatters to cover whole populations who are ascribed collective guilt and prescribed collective punishment.

The biggest struggle that has played out throughout our nation’s history has not been the left against the right or the conservatives against the progressives.

It has always come down to the collective versus the individual.

This has been the case in more than simply politics. The deepest injustices, the most inhumane indiscriminate acts of violence, all share the common thread of disrespecting the individual.

That is the true hallmark of collectivism.

It persists and finds traction in society through the misguided belief that individuals can be strong-armed for the benefit of others if the collective desires it.

This is the reason for petty laws which invite state violence into our lives for the most trivial reasons. It’s why we tend to dismiss the abuse or disenfranchisement of others who have harmed no one but who don’t belong to our tribe.

The cure for this malady, unsurprisingly, starts with each of us as individuals.

My best advice is to turn off the news and learn to love your neighbor.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator, radio host and opinion columnist in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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33 Comments

  • Bob July 11, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    u know i agree with Hyde once and a while, but this one was utter useless crap and drivel. blah blah blah, freedom, liberty, the individual, love ur neighbor, blah, blah. what does focusing on “the individual” solve with this kind of divide? this was garbage. do better.

    • .... July 11, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      You know I never agree with Bob his comment is utter useless crap and drivel blah blah blah. he’s angry at himself and he hates the world and everything in it .his comments was total garbage do better next time !

  • KarenS July 11, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    Good article, Bryan. Everyone should sit down and read it and then act on showing love to our neighbors.

    • ladybugavenger July 11, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      I love my drug dealing neighbors ❤️ I don’t love the trash it brings

      • .... July 11, 2016 at 5:10 pm

        I love you two Ladybug ♡ have a nice evening ! cya twomorrow !

    • .... July 11, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      great article

    • .... July 11, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      Karen. yep it is a great article. ..well done Bryan !

      • Bob July 11, 2016 at 4:39 pm

        u didn’t even read it, dump

        • .... July 12, 2016 at 4:15 pm

          Hey dumbob I did read it and I even colored the pictures …you missed out on the fun. ..

      • Real Life July 11, 2016 at 7:29 pm

        I’m sure he’s thrilled with your approval. LOL!

        • KarenS July 11, 2016 at 8:23 pm

          Bryan probably is thrilled since I almost never agree with him.

        • Real Life July 12, 2016 at 12:22 am

          KarenS, I agree. I am not a fan of Brian, but when you are right, you’re right.

          • .... July 13, 2016 at 4:30 pm

            Lmao I’m sure he’s thrilled with your approval !

        • .... July 12, 2016 at 4:13 pm

          Awwww look everybody Real No Life came in to say hello. ..he’s so sweet. .waves at him. ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡ love you. !

  • Henry July 11, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    “Learn to love your neighbor.” “Need to come together.” “Love will conquer hate.” Do we need more vacuous platitudes? Are we fearful of actually addressing the substantive issues, based upon factual data? Or will we continue to blame the system, political correctness, or some other imaginary force?

    • Bob July 11, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      what i’ve noticed about Hyde is he never really treads into ‘politically incorrect’ territory. He’ll hint at it in small ways, but in the end he’ll usually stick to a typical libertarian bs point of view and stay with a moderate and safe, politically correct mormon ideology. The mormons are very big supporters of “diversity” because so much of their cash income comes from Hispanic and other ethnic communities (don’t bite the hand that feeds u, right?). This is why mormons are not accepting of Mr Trump’s candidacy.

      • Bob July 11, 2016 at 10:06 pm

        by “diversity” I’m referring to mass illegal immigration, and open borders immigration policies.

  • Michael July 12, 2016 at 4:59 am

    ..Here’s a thought experiment:
    Let’s assume briefly and absurdly that Fox News chief Roger Ailes is in fact innocent of the charges of sexual harassment, and Gretchen is being vindictive for being fired.. But Ailes and Fox deliberately and purposely hire the best liars in the world.. what did he expect?!?

    America was far less divided before foreign-born Australian smut peddler Rupert Murdoch created a right wing lying machine to prey on the gullible and mean-spirited on these shores.

    • 42214 July 12, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Oh yeah, Kieth Olberman, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Brian Williams, O’Donnell, Chris Hayes, MSNBC, CNBC, all role models of objectivity and professional jounalism. All TV news is bias and spews crap. Try to be a little more objective and honest.

      • .... July 12, 2016 at 4:18 pm

        You want the truth ? You cant handle the truth ! L0L !

        • ladybugavenger July 13, 2016 at 7:52 am

          You want the truth? Hillary deleted the truth! ?

      • Michael July 13, 2016 at 2:46 am

        ..as Einstein said, all things are relative. MSNBC compared to Fox is like a jaywalker compared to an eager serial killer…

    • Henry July 12, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      Is your last name Moore?

      • 42214 July 13, 2016 at 10:27 am

        Probably not, but I bet he looks like his twin.

        • Michael July 13, 2016 at 5:30 pm

          …as a matter of fact I do look quite a bit like Michael Moore.. ..so did Ben Franklin before he lost his hair.. ..but we still manage to look more human than Roger Ailes, Karl Rove, Rush Doughball and that crypto-nazi prune, Murdoch.

          • 42214 July 13, 2016 at 10:39 pm

            Looking like a turd is nothing to brag about.

  • Michael July 14, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Post your photo… let’s see how many people are eager to mix DNA with you..

    • 42214 July 14, 2016 at 9:53 am

      You’re the one that said you look like Michael Moore.

    • Henry July 14, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      Michael – a person’s looks aren’t a cause for concern, their views can be.

      • Michael July 14, 2016 at 5:11 pm

        Henry, did I bring up my looks on this thread.. or did you??? ..and wasn’t the inference that because my views are not right wing lunacy I must look like Michael Moore? ..and didn’t I point out that it doesn’t matter if you look like Ben Franklin, me or Michael Moore you views can still be correct????

        • 42214 July 15, 2016 at 4:36 pm

          42214 brought up your looks, not Henry. So, you’re wrong again Mike

          • Michael July 17, 2016 at 6:11 am

            ..forgive me for condemning the wrong idiot. Yes, you get the credit for your sophisticated political repartee – schoolyard insults.

  • 42214 July 17, 2016 at 8:56 am

    I think Mike needs a “safe space” from microaggressions.

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