Of echo chambers and WarGames:
For the past several days, I've been seeing post after post on FaceBook, Google+ etc, about how the losers of the election are all going to go to other countries, secede, go John Galt, tear out their hair and sacrifice their children to avoid the hoards coming after the doomsday of Nov 6.
I live in a majority Republican area. Much of my family is Republican. Many of my coworkers are. It's a university in a rural area, so it's a mix of liberals and conservatives.
I tend to be an experimentalist, so I went out to gather data. For all of the moral devastation and angst online, no one failed to show up at work, put their house up for sale, threatened mayhem. There have been no fisticuffs reported between those of different political persuasions.
The most I've seen is my niece who made a post about it. The reaction? I, a couple of friends, and her dad all basically told her "chill" it ain't the end of the world. Cut her some slack, she's 18. Besides, I'm kinda partial to her. (And to further weird you out, she's a Wiccan as well as a Republican.)
So, I'm led to the conclusion that a lot of this is being seen because of people listening to the echo chambers (both left and right) that they regularly visit online or the talking heads on cable news channels and the like.
I'm reminded of the scene in WarGames where the Cheyenne Mountain crew is convinced they are watching a nuclear holocaust unfolding. Or maybe when the Vincennes fired on an Iranian airliner because the radar operator was watching a radar data feed from an aircraft carrier several hundred miles away.
Are there going to be people who do and say stupid things? When you can look nationwide, sure. (Now, reassure yourself it's only those on the $other side that do. You'll feel better. :)
Might I suggest that we do like in WarGames and let the first strike of all those horrors hit, just to see if they are real.
If they are, there will be plenty of time for all sides to pull hair and bite.
If not, maybe we can get back to what everyone, liberal and conservative, that I've seen in real life has been doing: Getting on with our lives and maybe even finding some areas to cooperate in. (I just saw a Democrat electronics tech talking amiably with a Republican electrical worker. To look at FaceBook you'd swear that wasn't possible. :)