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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

America’s political divide is killing us

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500,000 COVID-19 deaths later

On Feb. 22, U.S. President Joe Biden held a memorial for the over 500,000 Americans who died from COVID-19. In a country with over 300 million people, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19. That’s equivalent to the population of Texas, and greater than any other state’s population besides California. You most likely know someone who had it, or have had it yourself. The U.S.—arguably the most powerful country in history—has been a leader in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

How did we get here? The long answer involves a string of mistakes, incompetence and downright negligence on the part of our government. The short answer is that the left and right political parties exist in two different realities. 

I’m not going to feign impartiality here. The fact of the matter is, the vast majority of COVID-19 misinformation came from conservative and right-wing sources: Fox News, The Daily Wire, One America News and nearly the entire Trump administration. 

From the start, the conservative propaganda mill sought to contradict health care experts to bolster former U.S. President Donald Trump’s misinformation. This has led to paranoia and denial from millions of Americans, many of whom continue living their lives as if nothing is happening.   

Meanwhile, in countries like Australia, South Korea and New Zealand, strict guidelines were put in place so that the countries could open as soon as possible after reducing COVID-19 cases.

The difference in cases is striking—current case counts in these countries are significantly lower than in the U.S. and life is returning to some semblance of normal with a vaccine plan in effect. Obviously, the failure of the American COVID-19 response ultimately lies within the Trump administration and a Congress that spent a year trifling over relief checks. And, the part that the right-wing media played in all this cannot be understated. 

The right-wing media’s propaganda is not just limited to coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Most recently, Texas experienced a cold snap that’s taken the lives of an untold number of people. Instead of climate change or infrastructural failures, conservative media touted the flagrant lie that power outages were due to wind power, an additional example of misinformation that contributes to the political divide. 

I could talk more about COVID-19, Texas, the election or any number of conspiracies that have poisoned political discourse. The particulars are very different, but the single thread that runs through them is propaganda. America’s political divide is not so much that the left and right exist in separate realities, it’s that right-wing media does not exist in reality. 

I’m not asking you to agree with me and to become a leftist. I’m begging you to think independently, for everyone’s sake. 

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