COLUMNS

Time for a New Beginning

Vera Nall
Vera Nall

The second line, “time to remember and move on” seemed especially appropriate following this contentious election cycle. Then on January 6th, the day electoral votes were to be counted and Joe Biden officially proclaimed president-elect of the United States, news of a mob storming the Capitol building pushed those hopeful words to the background.

As Sen. Ted Cruz was meandering through his lengthy objection to Arizona’s electoral votes, an increasingly agitated crowd of Trump supporters pushed through barriers and rushed the Capitol building. Fueled by a constant barrage of anti-government propaganda, insurrectionists attacked the nation’s capitol, and for several agonizing hours the world watched in horror as rioters attacked and overpowered the greatly outnumbered Capitol Police. The violent horde ran amok, ransacking the building and causing untold damage. Five persons lost their lives and multiple others had serious injuries.

Messages of the type that incited the assault on the Capitol made the year 2020 especially anxiety-ridden, and we were eager to kick it to

the curb. We were sure that 2021 would be much better. However, political upheaval continues, and the Covid pandemic rages on. While passing time this winter waiting for our turn for the needle, uneasiness about contracting the virus and being one of the unlucky ones to become life threateningly ill looms in the backs of our minds.

An upswing of false and inaccurate online messaging is sowing doubt regarding the Covid vaccine’s safety, and is damaging efforts to control the virus. It has been so effective that some Americans are reluctant to receive it, and others are turning it down.

When propaganda bombarded Steven Brandenburg, a 46-year-old Wisconsin pharmacist, he became convinced that “the world was crashing down.” Already in turmoil over an impending divorce, he was vulnerable to the messages promoting the notion that the vaccine was harmful to DNA, a claim that has been debunked. This prompted him to ruin vials of Moderna vaccine by removing them from refrigeration. The vaccine, already in short supply, would have immunized five hundred people. (USA Today)

The propaganda war spreads far beyond false reports about the election and the Covid-19 virus. Conspiracy theories and shocking rumors on innumerable subjects abound on the Internet. Major media platforms have finally taken responsibility for enabling this assault on truth, and have taken actions to curb harmful false information.

We must have truth and transparency from individuals and organizations if we are to trust them again. In recent years leaders have divided Americans and eroded trust in our institutions, creating a population of confused, and often antagonistic, citizens.

Rebuilding confidence in what we see and hear won’t be quick or easy, but it must happen.

We have a new year, and a new administration. It’s a time for a new beginning, and a time to heal and move on.

Another Point of View" is a column written by rotating authors dedicated to providing a variety of perspectives on life and politics.