Monday, January 30, 2017

Why I'm afraid to report in a Trump divided populace


Photo of Womens' March on Washington on 1/21/17 by ResistFromDay1

I'm so scared. Of the people holding "Love Trumps Hate" signs and the people holding "We Voted to Make America Pro Life Again." Of concealed weapons behind posters and smart phones already set to record, ready to politically shame and squash sensible discourse.

I got into journalism so I could talk to complete strangers as if I had known them for years. To ask the state mortician how many times a body can be used for medical science, a senator if he really thinks his bill will be passed or if he's just doing this for reelection, a Supreme Court attorney why he wont retire and to ask a state prison psychiatrist what fear looks like on heroin.

Like a broach on my lapel, I fasten this phrase near my heart: "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."-Dorothy Parker (20th century essayist and poet)

As much as I love interviewing and writing, the thought of graduating in May fills my stomach with swamp water and makes me want to blindfold myself with bed sheets until noon. The culmination of eight semesters working towards that shpanky new degree and I feel dreadful. How can I be a proper journalist when so much of the mainstream media is biased? Biased to the point where no one seems to hide it anymore. I'm not naming names. I still want to get a job. Some day. Hopefully soon...¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Last summer former Facebook Trending Team employees were sacked after they admitted to routinely suppressing conservative news. What's worse, the New York twenty-somethings were replaced by algorithms and machines that mistakenly leaked fake news on its site. We reached an era when millions of people were reading fake news daily!! And what did that cause?

I mean a man from North Carolina crossed state lines with an assault rifle in his trunk to blow a human trafficking business he believed Hillary Clinton was conducting out of a pizzeria in D.C. to smithereens, because of fake news. That's about as bad as it can get.

But let's forget the fake stuff, however confusing and unsettling that is. I'm more scared of the real news. I'm scared for my friends going out to protest, but also what would happen if they don't protest. So proud that they exercise their right to defend what they care about, but angry and confused with the county in disarray. Mostly scared to reach the boiling point, the climax of this chapter. I fear the murmuring of secession, the Union and Confederacy's rebirth. I don't fear a Trump presidency, as much as I do a Trump populace.

Anarchy.

Practicing to become the kind of reporter I'm proud to be, means listening to a lot of opinions and reading a lot. It means playing devils advocate as the "liberal one" when I'm in Chicago and the "conservative cuckoo" when I'm in college. But playing devils advocate all the time makes forming my own opinion a living hell. By inviting so many ideas, giving each the same potential, I've only clogged my compassion and can no longer create an organic position.

Mom and I speak often. Each time I play a personal game to see how long it take her to say,
"I feel so sad that you're going into this liberal industry."

One day I'll show her I'm Noah's dove and I'll bring her back something beautiful from the abyss.

I've recently found myself returning to the prayer we recite every Shabbat for the welfare of the american government.  It talks about peace and justice, and keeping the country's leaders, government and people strong.

From now until graduation I guess I should keep praying.

Sincerely,
I promise I'm not shivering in some corner wiping my nose on my sleeve




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