Now that we know Russian leaders have been trying to divide us, let’s fight back. Let’s find ways to unite.
Pixabay Creative Commons.
Confirmed: Russia has been trying to divide us against ourselves. On October 31, 2017, representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google confirmed that Russian leaders had taken advantage of their social media to mount a campaign to divide us against ourselves.
How has Russia been trying to divide us? The short answer is that they have been using social media for at least two years – and still are today – to convert our very real sore spots into gaping wounds. To replace trust with fear and substitute hate for respect. Their basic tactic is like kids on the playground making up stories to get a fight started. They amp things up by placing ads and comments on both sides of an issue: pro-police and anti-police, for example. They used hundreds of personnel (technicians and trolls), millions of rubles, thousands of social media accounts, and thousands of Twitterbots. They make Facebook pages, YouTube videos, Twitter messages, and more. Facebook estimates that up to 126 million people (equivalent to 40 percent of the US population) saw at least one of these. Here is a short list of media reports, 2 drawn from the center, 2 from the right, and 2 from the left, all reporting on the Russian attempts to divide us against ourselves:
Here is a partial list of some of the divisions they sought to exploit and worsen:
- Racial tensions felt among White, and Black and Hispanic people
- Whether police are good or bad
- Whether California should secede from the US
- Whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump are bad people
- Whether Muslims are bad
- Whether immigrants are bad
- Sexual orientation
- Christian heritage
- Gun rights
It’s hard to solve problems and build a stronger nation when we are at each other’s throats. Divided we fall. That’s what the Russian leaders are hoping for. It makes it easier for them to consolidate their autocracy when the world’s leading example of democracy appears to be preoccupied with internal divisions. Meanwhile, we do have pressing issues that need to be solved: you can make your own list. Americans have achieved amazing things in the past, at home and abroad. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could join together again to solve some of today’s problems?
How do you think we should respond? How can we unite? How can we rebuild trust and respect?
- What could you do on your own?
- What would you want from others?
We will be happy to post your ideas, so please to use the comments section or our email address. In the near future, we hope to also periodically offer real-life examples of how ordinary Americans overcame difficult disagreements to achieve something good together. Your own stories are also most welcome.