Abraham Lincoln once said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. He said it during what was probably the darkest period in American history, the American Civil War.
Yet these days sure do feel like they’re building up to challenge those days, don’t they?
Today, our house is dividing. It’s not just that some people think Trump won and others don’t.
No, this isn’t about the Capitol. Not directly.
Instead, it’s about Big Tech.
Yeah, I know, throwing “Big” in front of an industry is a time-honored way to make any industry sound insidious and terrifying, but in this case, it matters.
Last week, Twitter and Facebook banned President Donald Trump from their platforms. While, as private companies, they have the right to do so, it’s a bad precedent, especially since he’s still the President of the United States.
Yet, if it had stopped there, that would have likely been the end of it.
Now, Apple, Amazon, and Google are teaming up to make life extra difficult for Parler, a right-leaning alternative to Twitter. Apple and Google are removing it from their app stores while Amazon, who has been hosting the site, is yanking their hosting.
Now, Parler will migrate over to someone else and be back up and running soon enough, but it’s still troubling. Especially with people being de-platformed and then some of the biggest in the tech industry doing everything they can to shut down the alternative.
The de-platforming isn’t exactly new. Milo Yiannaopolis was a much earlier victim of it and he was hit by all the big boys at pretty much the same time, but that was just a test drive.
Now, on top of doing everything they can manage to try and destroy a competitor, a lot of people on the right appear to be getting de-platformed.
And not just the big dogs, either. I’ve lost a number of followers on Twitter and some people have lost a whole lot more.
What’s happening here is that we’re seeing two Americas develop. Right now, it’s about social media, where one side uses things like Facebook and Twitter and the other goes with MeWe or Minds and Parler.
When we’re on completely different platforms, we’re no longer sharing ideas. An echo chamber becomes unavoidable because, well, you’re simply not allowed to interact with anyone who thinks differently than you do.
Yet let’s also remember that social media isn’t the only place this is happening. Remember how businesses are expected to make political stands on anything and everything?
That is nothing more than an attempt to draw a line down the center of the room, with some companies being for conservatives and some for liberals. Think about all the boycotts the right has undertaken in recent years for examples of how this is happening.
I mean, I won’t shop at Dick’s Sporting Goods and my days of wearing Levi’s are well behind me. Why? Both took vehement anti-gun positions as companies.
If I won’t use these companies, I need to use someone else.
Yet companies that refuse to toe the line get boycotted by the other side.
What’s springing up are two separate economies within one national border. I won’t call it segregation because it’s a matter of choice, not law, but it’s problematic all the same.
Right now, there’s time to right the ship, to flip this around. We can go back to companies making products and not taking political positions. Over time, those who are angry at companies will forget and move on.
The problem is, too many people have a vested interest in keeping the animosity going. Too many people are fine trying to push the right into digital ghettos for having the temerity to not hold with leftist orthodoxy.
But if this continues, that insurrection everyone is talking about that happened at the Capitol? If this continues, that “insurrection” is going to look like a little girl’s tea party compared to what is coming.
When people are pushed into a second-class status in their own country, they get upset. They feel powerless, and if they feel powerless, they will lash out.
While I’m not going to compare what we’re seeing today to Jim Crow, it’s important to understand that as bad as Jim Crow was, it held for so long only because it was still better than slavery.
None of us have experienced slavery, thankfully. Yet, as a result, none of us are likely to settle for a new order where we live a second-class existence simply because we favor different solutions to the problems that face this nation.
A house divided cannot stand, and plenty of people seem to be interested in testing that theory.