America in Depth
The United States is a country that has been suffering a deep divide for quite some time. As we grow in the number of things we stand for, we have created a distance between them. For too long, we have played into the mentality of us vs. them. Thinking with this division garners perceptions that seem unreconcilable. Too many of us blame 'the other' to free ourselves from being on the wrong side. And too many of us take credit and write 'the other' out of the success story. This way of thinking creates layers inside the political discussion that makes everything unclear and has turned the world into black and white - blue and red. It has become commonplace for us to instill a certain amount of fear that stagnates diversity acceptance. I don't mean on a physical level, but the cognitive level too. We either close ourselves to have an open mind or close our open minds to the possibility of accepting closed minds and forces all of us into a position between two powerful forces. The first force is the common fear of the other side. As we stack their inadequacy, we belittle the quality of their thoughts and ideas. The second force, often ignored, is the fear of our allies. As we build fear of the other side, we also fear disagreeing with our current position because we know what lens they would see us through. And these individuals often make up most of our circle. If we step away from it all and take in all the contrasting viewpoints, the bigger picture looks peculiar. Most times, we suffer from several imperfections of human intellect. In-Group/Out-Group Thinking: A fundamental dynamic of social psychology. Here, we see our natural inclination to categorize and divide to survive spreads to our fellow humans. And so, we treat our societal 'in-group' with preference over those we disagree with. Group-Thinking: As we succumb to the tendency to fall into a distinct group, we confirm what we believe and disaffirm any opposition without taking a second look. This thinking causes two parts of society to view the world in such a different light. Biases: Ultimately, our inability to see other's viewpoints pushes us to one of our weaknesses—biases. What seems like an apparent reality to us may not be so, and through the many cognitive biases we have, it often stays that way. That's why we look to attribute a score that takes in these dynamics into play and creates a 'fear factor.' Produced to examine how strong the two forces of fear are, it points to how likely they are to keep us from working with opposing minds. Not a Fact Checker Fact-checkers ensure the truth of statements, and they put a score to an individual's accuracy when making an argument. However, there are more than facts when we are trying to determine someone's perception. The problem we are looking to clear is not the use of facts, no. It's looking at how we perceive these facts. Political leanings don't split the nation; they don't have the strength to create a national divide alone. What breaks the country is a matter of differentiating storylines. These stories are essential to each of us, and they can twist the reality of any fact or figure. Think about Nazi Germany, the atrocities of Stalin, and Cold War politics. What if we were on the other side of the story? Perception is complex, and we are complex beings with simple needs. Our logical brains need a story to fit the next puzzle piece into its proper vacancy. And even if it doesn't fit right, we will make it fit. Anger signifies that the piece we are trying to fit in doesn't match in shape or size. Frustration is us subconsciously trying to trim reality, so we don't have to see the bigger truth, whatever it may be. Doing so means we have to rebuild our conceptual model on the topic. And no matter who we are, that has the chance to create a domino effect that can cause internal instability. As said by James Baldwin, and I paraphrase, panic is the first sign of pain. It comes before we sense the frustration and anger and often keeps us from understanding our underlying problems with any depth. But we can't continue ignoring these problems, nor can we rid the world of them. A toothache can be the warning that saves our life. As much as we don't want pain, facing it is what will lead us to unity. Our political adversaries are the ones who will keep us walking a road of great regret. Degrees from Neutrality The measure of the fear factor is how many degrees from neutrality a speaker is. Here, the definition of neutrality is more than just the center that exists between opposing forces. Instead of discovering an actual reality, as done through fact-checking, the degrees from neutrality measures how many steps away we take from our opposition—the theoretical distance created between the two. Salience We measure each step with the salience attributed to each point: Minor Occurrences: A claim for an argument substantially based on personal values. Moderate Occurrences: A claim for an argument substantially based on social, lawful, and cultural values. Major Salience: A claim for an argument substantially based on life or death decisions. Direct Alignment: These factors actively create distance with their opposition, using a direct agreement with one's position or disagreement with the opposition. Oppositional Failure: This is a statement that would otherwise be a perceptual recall/reality/outlook. It is substantially based on the fault of opposition. Compared to an inadequacy, this is the noncompliance or defiance to miss an expectation. Positional Openness: This is a statement that would otherwise be a perceptual recall/reality/outlook. It is substantially based on openness towards one's position. Focus on: what the person/program does and their ability to be a sufficient choice, and what the individual/program does to achieve a goal. Indirect Alignment: These are factors that passively align someone with their position through the use of empathy and understanding. \ Oppositional Inadequacy: This statement would otherwise be a perceptual recall/reality/outlook but focuses on the fault of opposition. Compared to a failure, this is the inability to meet an expectation. Positional Empathy: This is a statement that would otherwise be a perceptual recall/reality/outlook. It focuses on the empathy of one's position, individual experiences of the individual/topic at hand to draw in an understanding of what they stand for, and what happened to them. Indirect Unity: These are factors that indirectly create closeness with their opposition through empathy and understanding of the opposition. Oppositional Empathy: This is a statement that would otherwise be a perceptual recall/reality/outlook. It focuses on empathy for the opposition, individual experiences of the individual/topic at hand to draw in an understanding of what they stand for, and what happened to them. Positional Inadequacy: This is a statement that would otherwise be a perceptual recall/reality/outlook. It focuses on the fault of one's allies. Compared to a failure, this is the inability to meet an expectation. Direct Unity: These are factors that actively create closeness with their opposition using positional failures and oppositional successes. Oppositional Openness: This is a statement that would otherwise be a perceptual recall/reality/outlook. It focuses on openness towards one's opposition. Focus on: what the person/program does and their ability to be a sufficient choice, and what the individual/program does to achieve a goal. Positional Failure: This is a statement that would otherwise be a perceptual recall/reality/outlook. It is substantially based on the fault of one's allies. Compared to an inadequacy, this is the noncompliance or defiance to miss an expectation.