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Take a deep breath, life goes on.

Imagine, for a moment, the presidential candidate you do not support emerges victorious once the dust settles from this election. Then take a deep breath and realize life goes on. The world isn’t going to end. The rhetoric employed by both sides is a tactic to produce emotional responses — fear and anger — to motivate you to vote, influence your friends, and contribute to their political machines. Most of it is bullshit.

The last thing you should do right now is cut off your friends and family who may fall on a different side of the political spectrum. The future of our country depends on us being able to have real conversations and talk openly about complex issues. The internet is the worst place to do it. Facebook and Twitter are not conducive to meaningful discussions, and they make it nearly impossible to empathize with differing viewpoints. These discussions should occur over the phone, on video chat, or in person — the ways in which we usually interact with friends and family. …

National service could reverse the trend of social and political polarization we see in America today.

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Racism in America presents a significant challenge to national unity. Particularly now — as the US population becomes more polarized — leaders must take action to address our declining social cohesion. One solution is to expand national service opportunities and encourage all young Americans to take part. Large-scale service could prove instrumental in both dismantling prejudice and rebuilding a national identity.

Cultivating acceptance and tolerance throughout the American population requires a long-term plan. After all, the social and political polarization we see today did not appear overnight. This was a gradual process that began with the rise of identity politics throughout the latter half of the 20th century. In a sort of harmful feedback loop, political actors and the media became increasingly polarized to appeal to a polarizing public, further polarizing them in the process. This accelerated with the advent of the internet and the ability of like-minded people to insulate themselves within online “bubbles” of confirmation bias. Add to this the fact that technology has given malicious foreign actors an unprecedented capability to amplify these domestic divisions, and you have a recipe for disaster. …

Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not represent an official position of the US Army, DoD, or the US government.

Bad actors are tearing our country apart. And no, I am not referring to the Hollywood actors that feel the need to politicize everything (though they certainly play a role). Enemies of America, foreign and domestic, are working behind the scenes to undermine the US government. How do I know? As a Green Beret I was trained to do the exact same thing to our nation’s geopolitical adversaries.

Green Berets are proficient at identifying and exploiting the internal weaknesses of hostile foreign governments. As I watch social activists around the country call for action against the police, it strikes me as behavior that I would encourage if I was working to overthrow an oppressive regime. America’s internal weakness in this case is its growing racial divide. …


Matt Visnovsky

Green Beret veteran. Interested in politics, policy, philosophy, and tech.

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