By Alex Chace
We are living in unprecedented times, in every sense of the word. Down is up, up is down, and the First Amendment has been crumpled up and thrown straight into the trash. Since many believe the United States is the greatest country on Earth, Americans would of course never enact laws to censor our press. However, we would manipulate them, using our freedom of speech to call journalism that challenges our great country “fake news.” We simply love our freedoms so much that we want to destroy them, so nobody else but us can use them.
This only makes sense, as society has for so long been enamored with what it would be like to live in an anarchical state. We watch films about it, such as “The Purge,” and even read books about it in our education system such as George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” As consumers of these mediums, we face a grave paradox. While our culture is so obsessed with dystopian thrillers, the messages of their authors, warning us of the dangers of them, are looked over. Our culture has become so obsessed with lawless societies that we decided to come up with one of our very own.
Unfortunately, this idea has not been produced into another blockbuster film, but has manifested itself onto social media sites. The scariest part of this reality thriller is that the terrorists are not easily identifiable by the horrid masks they wear. Instead, they hide behind sophisticated masks of our neighbors, friends, and even families.
We know this to be fact through the United States Justice Department’s recent indictment of 13 Russians on Friday, February 16th, 2018, as reported by Matt Apuzzo and Sharon LaFraniere of
the New York Times, “The Russian stole the identities of American citizens, posed as political activists and used the flash points of immigration, religion and race to manipulate a campaign in which those issues were particularly divisive.” Social media sites have become places of lawlessness, as the difference between truth and lies has become unrecognizable.
The plotline of this dystopia thickens as American citizens continue to deny that we have become direct victims of Russian meddling. The well-being of this country is truly in danger as we engage in this third-person effect of believing that it was only others influenced by Russian trolls. It is our culture to not face ourselves in the mirror, and instead believe “It could never possibly be me! I am an American, and therefore I am immune to anyone infringing upon my freedom!”
We, those who value our right to bear arms above all things, are laying down the only weapons that matter. These are the weapons of knowledge provided to us by our free press; the weapons that can truly led us to defend ourselves against the real threat of cyber terrorism. However, we lay these weapons down because they would require us to see who is at the other end of them. Suddenly, we find ourselves looking down the barrel. We are the ones shooting ourselves in the foot as we cry “fake news” toward journalists looking to save our country.
Those who come armed to political debates with their anti-establishment guns a’ blazin’, fire bullets engraved with “fake news” straight through the First Amendment of our Constitution. Journalist are left in the cross fire, taking bullets for us in hopes that we will one day arm ourselves with the knowledge they provide us. For the sake of our constitution is what we send our troops overseas to take real bullets for, not the sake of nationalistic ego. Therefore, we need to lay down our nationalism, and take back our freedoms with the arms of knowledge.