How Disinformation Affects the Future of the US

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Following the U.S. Capitol Insurrection, the only remaining question for most Americans is how disinformation will affect the country’s future. Americans sat and watched in horror as thousands of domestic terrorists stormed the nation’s Capitol. Although the United States government is recovering from the damage caused by the insurrection, it is clear that there is still work to be done.

Distrust and Disinformation

The truth is the insurrection was an accumulation of four years of anger, disinformation, and racism that manifested into a singular traumatic day. During his term in office, the harmful rhetoric spewed by former President Donald Trump was largely ignored, despite his racist rants causing harm to Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).

DisinformationOn the other hand, other factors were also the cause for the build-up to the insurrection, but Trump’s racist dog whistles were what easily set off one of the scariest days in modern history. However, the Capitol insurrection brought America face to face with the harsh reality that this country’s foundation is based on the oppression of BIPOC people.

The insurrection also highlighted the two different Americas — one where privileged people can ignore systemic racism and the other where BIPOC communities are oppressed. In either case, the next step to tackling the issues in America would be to amplify BIPOC voices and create a more inclusive America through policies.

Following the Capitol insurrection, President Joe Biden and his team have worked hard to spread a message about unity. Not only amidst political polarization but also the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The problem with this approach is that it completely disregards everything that happened leading up to January 6th and its aftermath. In addition, the conspiracy theories surrounding Biden’s presidency and the harmful disinformation spread by government officials have built up a lot of distrust toward the United States government.

Simply calling for unity is not enough to rebuild a broken country founded on an unjust system; the insurrection clearly exemplified this idea. Even now, disinformation is not being effectively combatted with a message of unity, as half of eligible Americans will not get vaccinated because they do not trust the government.

How Distrust Will Affect America

Although over 600 insurrectionists have been arrested since the Capitol insurrection, that event’s effects on American politics remain unresolved. Not only are more Americans skeptical about the government, but more than ever, political polarization has wreaked havoc on every aspect of life.

Distrust affects how people invest money, get their news, and even whether they listen to science amid the pandemic. Largely, the insurrection exposed a lot of problems that Americans had long ignored. With that said, it is not hard to see that undoing the damage from the insurrection will take decades. Not only does distrust cause harm to the United States economically, but also socially, which can be even more damaging. The bottom line is disinformation and distrust could either make or break the USA.

Opinion News by Reginae Echols
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

WVXU: Have Americans Lost Their Trust In Institutions And If So, Can It Be Restored? By Michael Monks
NPR: Disinformation Fuels Distrust And Even Violence At All Levels Of Government; by Sarah McCammon and Liz Baker
The Washington Post: Opinion: The real reason Republicans want to sabotage the investigation into Jan. 6; by Paul Waldman

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Blink O’faneye’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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