The culture war isn't real and you don't have to participate in it.
It's fake, it's a distraction, and all we have to do to keep from getting caught up in it is step away.
The reason the culture war isn't real is because in almost all of your engagements with it, it's primarily through the media, and the thing about the media is that most of the time, it isn't real life.
We see politicians clash on television all the time, but forget they are posing for the cameras. Off-camera they are quite often cordial, working together on non-controversial projects and sometimes developing true friendships. But working together on non-controversial projects doesn't make for good TV ratings, and therefore does little to get a politician's name out there. Thus the need for a little drama from time to time for the cameras.
Even real flash point events are often blown out of proportion in their context. Case in point: Ferguson. While TV newscasts showed a thousand people in the street protesting, in some cases looting, and police officers struggling to maintain control (and in some cases going too far), you would have thought the entire St. Louis metro area was on fire. But the reality is that the Ferguson protests were isolated to a few square blocks and a few other government buildings away from the site. As my friends in St. Louis pointed out, unless you were watching it on the news, you had no idea it was going on. For most of the metro's 2.8 million residents it was business as usual.
The unreality of our cultural clashes now carries over to the general public on social media, were people vent in ways that they would never do in real, everyday, face-to-face interactions with their peers and the public. Most people don't really live their lives ranting and raving as if the War on Christmas is real, Obama's really coming for their guns, or that the University of Missouri is really a hotbed of racism.
Yet we see the hysteria every time we read the news or check our social media. The displays are unfortunate because, by and large, I do not believe people act differently in real life because they're too cowardly to say in person what they spouted off on television or on social media. It's more the opposite of that - that they got caught up in the drama of Facebook or Twitter or playing to the cameras and when they got off came to their senses.
And coming to our senses is a good thing that's needed more often. Fiction can easily become reality, and real culture wars really do happen - just look at our nation's history and look at parts of the world today.
Nobody wants a war, and we don't have to participate.
Jason Griffin is a Columbia, MO based blogger & podcaster who writes about business, media, politics & life. Keep up with latest posts by liking on Facebook, following on Twitter, orsubscribing with RSS.