Woah. As a marriage and family therapist that number blows me away.
I can feel someone out there in the internet world beginning to read this article and thinking to themselves “yeah of course a marriage and family therapist is worried about loss of relationships.” But while that is alarming and sad, the part of this article that startles me the most, is that politics have become that intimate.
That statistic highlights that right now people feel more emotionally connected to politics, which we all only receive information about through media, than people they consider themselves in close relationship with.
Bravo media! You have done it! Social media, television, news websites combined with these magical “smart phones” that most of us keep on our bodies at all times, has created the perfect context for people to care more about what is going on in that world than their personal life.
Fine, I will address that too… there is also someone out there who cannot wait to write a long comment on this post informing me of the importance of voting and being aware of the greater context in which we are living. Of course that is important. I love to vote. And I love to be informed when I vote. I understand there is a lot at stake in our world right now and I am happy that all of this is out in the open waiting to be discussed.
I am highlighting the consuming habits of checking the news and social media so much so that people check out from their important relationships. It wasn’t too long ago that someone you didn’t vote for sparked intelligent and even intimacy forming conversation. Remember when you could have that discussion? It went something like, “Oh… you like our President? I didn’t vote for him. What do you like about him? What was it about his agenda that spoke to you?”
And then this magical thing happened. You realized the person sitting across from you was just like you. You both cared about similar things you just saw different ways of going about it. That conversation had the opportunity to bring you closer to that person. And best of all, it gave you compassion for “the other side” or other people in your life that voted in a way that you didn’t. It wasn’t long ago that these conversations made relationships stronger.
The way I practice this in my life is that I remind myself, that everyone regardless of how they vote, their opinion was formed by the media. Media is no longer a neutral fact sharing device, it is increasingly becoming a caricature of our world.