As I was watching the national embarrassment that was the first day of the Kavanaugh Senate hearings, I found myself reflecting on the wisdom of our founder:
George Washington warned us against political parties, and rightfully so.  I personally view partisanship as the antithesis of patriotism. Its entirely disingenuous to pretend that two parties can accurately and honestly represent Americas 325 million citizens. But I found something far more troubling than the lying and political posturing of our elected representatives, whats new there. It was this:
Without any due diligence, these two individuals labeled this woman a racist. Because of the way she was sitting, but also because she was there supporting someone they disagree with ideologically. They decided to make a most serious, and damning allegation of not only racism, but that this person was promoting White Supremacy. They apparently valued the predictable mob response they would get from this irresponsible assertion more then they valued truth. With one of these individuals being a Surgeon-scientist and the other being the president of a non-profit, they should know better. What is troubling, is that because they both have verified blue marks next to their name; people give what they say more weight than others. No matter how ridiculous.

SOCIAL MEDIA IS DESTROYING SOCIETY AND ITS A GLOBAL PROBLEM

Speaking at the Stanford Graduate School of Business back in November, Chamath Palihapitiya, Facebooks former vice president for user growth, said;

“It literally is a point now where I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. That is truly where we are,” he said. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works: no civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem. This is not about Russian ads. This is a global problem.”

SOCIAL MEDIA IS CREATING A SOCIETY THAT CONFUSES ‘TRUTH AND POPULARITY’

The problem is not isolated to Facebook, he said, citing other social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. The ability to connect and share information so quickly — as well as the instant gratification people give and receive over their posts — has resulted in some negative consequences, according to Palihapitiya. “Everybody else has to soul-search a little bit more about what you’re willing to do,” he said. “Because your behaviors, you don’t realize it, but you are being programmed. It was unintentional, but now you gotta decide how much you’re willing to give up, how much of your intellectual independence.”

 

“We curate our lives around this perceived sense of perfection, because we get rewarded in these short-term signals — hearts, likes, thumbs up — and we conflate that with value and we conflate it with truth. And instead, what it is is fake, brittle popularity that’s short-term and leaves you even more, admit it, vacant and empty before you did it. . . . Think about that, compounded by 2 billion people.”

 

TIME TO RE-EVALUATE

The kind of positive change we need on so many levels, in so many communities; will require us to reevaluate our priorities, and start connecting with one another again. Not just those in our social media echo chambers, but also with the people in our community that we may not agree with. When open minded people of character and intelligence communicate about issues, problems start getting solved.

 

PROBLEM SOLVING REQUIRES OWNERSHIP

The reason a great many of our problems are not matched with the resources required for a solution is fairly simple: there is no ownership. We don’t go around solving other people’s problems. If it’s not your problem, if you don’t own it, then you have no interest in finding a solution.

 

CHALLENGES THAT UNITE

The World Health Organization reports that for $10 Billion we could provide access to clean drinking water for the 1.8 Billion who currently drink contaminated water on a daily basis. The price tag to end world hunger? $30 Billion. If those sound like large numbers, they’re not. We live in a $19 Trillion Dollar annual consumer economy here in the United States. The global economy hit $107 Trillion last year.

Its not a lack of resources, its a lack of will, and coordination. If you show people a problem, then show them a solution, they will be moved to act.

Most of the big challenges we face, like Cancer are not affiliated with the Republican or the Democratic Party. They’re not of the Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim faith. They don’t belong to the upper, middle, or lower class. Cancer, like most of the big challenges we face, is a challenge that we all face together. These are challenges that should unite us. So thats what we’re working on at my startup. A platform that incentivizes community problem solving. A platform that will work to connect Americans through community impact.

 

Todays debacle at the Senate and the chorus of mindless bomb throwers on social media have reminded me that the problems we face as a people are real, and its up to us to fix this mess.

 

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