I wrote a post last week on my opinion on the vaccine and cancel culture that received a lot of comments and feedback from readers. If you missed that post on Instagram or Facebook, you can read it here.
I was originally hesitant to share my thoughts since I don't bring politics or sensitive subjects into my work on Struck Inside Out. That being said, I'm really glad I did. I realized that I'm not alone in how I feel. Interestingly enough, that's exactly why I write - to help others feel less alone.
I just wanted to share a few things that I found really interesting since sharing my opinion on a triggering subject:
1. I thought I was going to lose a lot of followers and receive pushback for expressing my doubts about getting the vaccine. I was almost certain that I was going to attract negative commentary and criticism. To my surprise, I actually gained a lot of followers, and received immense support for being so honest with others. I also received a lot of private messages from people thanking me for being transparent about my views on the vaccine as they've felt pressured by friends, family or coworkers to get it. Who would think that in 2021, people would be pressuring others to inject something into their bodies that they don't feel comfortable with? This was both alarming and unsettling.
2. After seeing how many people felt the same as I do on the subject, I wanted to create a paid promotion to reach a wider audience on Instagram. Before you can create a paid promotion, Instagram has to "review" your post before pushing it out to people who wouldn't normally find your account. After I submitted my promotion, an hour later I saw the update that Instagram rejected it.
Their "policy" is as follows: "We require people to confirm their identity and create a disclaimer to run ads about social issues, elections or politics. Your ad may have been rejected if it mentions politicians or sensitive social issues that could influence public opinion, how people vote and may impact the outcome of an election or pending legislation."
The interesting, and not so shocking element to this, is that at the top of my Instagram feed, Instagram created a story titled "Vaccinate!" and when you click on it, there are photos of people advocating for the vaccine. So how is it that my post, which was extremely open-minded, not pointing the finger at anyone who wants to get vaccinated or has gotten vaccinated, is rejected for promotion because of possibly influencing public opinion, yet Instagram is literally promoting the vaccine on their platform?
Regardless of your opinion on this matter, this is an example of our freedom of speech being taken away. Since when do social media platforms have a say in what we can and cannot say? Since when does social media censor what information and opinions we have access to? Does this make you wonder what type of information is being hidden from you and why they don't want you to see it?
Additionally, the reason this newsletter is reaching you today and not yesterday is because Wix sent me an email saying: "We weren't able to send your email because some of its content breached our guidelines. We recommend rethinking your message, before you send it again."
Read that again. I need to "rethink" my message.
Does that scare you at all?
This brings me to my next point.
3. We tend to think that we have a plethora of resources and viewpoints at our disposal. For example, when you walk into the grocery store, you see a variety of different brands. You think, "Wow, there are so many different options to choose from." In reality, it's a facade. All of those "different" brands are owned by only a few companies.
The same goes for the media we absorb. We flip through hundreds of channels and think that each one offers a varying perspective, yet that's another facade. Did you know that all of our media, specifically the news, is owned by only a few companies? Do you know that those companies have connections with some of the highest ranking government officials who all typically share the same beliefs? Have you ever thought to do the research on who owns the media companies you watch and read the most? What their political affiliations are? What politicians and big tech companies they're the most connected to? What their agenda might be in delivering information to you?
We don't always question why we believe what we do, but a major influence on our opinions and decision making is directly reflective of the information we receive on a daily basis. So, for example if you're getting your news from Instagram or Facebook, both owned by Facebook, then you're only going to see paid promotions positively highlighting the vaccine, rather than offering you different viewpoints so that YOU can make your own decisions.
Also, around the time of the election last year, I know someone who shared an article on Facebook referencing negative facts surrounding Biden's campaign. Facebook took the post down and told this person that it went against "community guidelines." This person's account was flagged. To experiment with Facebook's "guidelines," this person then posted an article that negatively spoke about Donald Trump. This post was not taken down by Facebook and this person's account was not flagged for sharing negativity surrounding the former president.
This isn't about Biden or Trump, left or right, or Democrat or Republican. Regardless of what political affiliation you hold, people should be allowed to freely speak and share opinions on ANY subject. This is America, the land of the free. If we're really "free," then why are our voices being censored and muted?
Again, people typically tend to get triggered just by seeing the words "Biden" or "Trump." This isn't about them or who you personally support. It's the fact that our country is experiencing the most censorship in its history. People's voices are being quieted who don't fit into the agenda that big tech wants you to buy into.
A friend mentioned this lyric from John Mayer in reference to my post on the vaccine and it sums this idea up perfectly: "When you trust the television, what you get is what you got, cause when they own the information, oh they can bend it all they want."
If you're still reading and haven't clicked the "Unsubscribe" button yet, I appreciate your open mindedness and willingness to listen. Thank you for being here, and I'd love to hear your opinion on this. Feel free to reply to this email with your own thoughts.
4. Lastly, on a more personal note, I noticed that after sharing my thoughts on the vaccine, I worried if my open perspective would affect my personal relationships with friends and family who don't share the same beliefs that I do. It sucks that this even has to be a thought on my mind, but unfortunately it is.
But then again, this is exactly what my post was about - cancel culture. Our current cancel culture is not only a detriment to humanity and society, but to the individual him or herself who's eliminating anyone or anything that has an opposing point of view. A large majority of people are ending relationships with friends and family who don't have similar beliefs.
When did this become a thing? Why are we so quick to limit our understanding of another person the moment they disagree with us? When did we stop allowing people the freedom to think what they want even if we don't agree with them?
This current divide that cancel culture created further separates and dismantles the essence of human nature. We are, by nature, meant to be connected to others. We should, for humanity's sake, welcome outside viewpoints. Doesn't that make you a more interesting person?
Personally, I love speaking to people who have a wide array of perspectives that are different than my own. Why would I want to only surround myself with what I already know and believe?
We begin our lives going to school and learning different subjects, why should that end in adulthood? You're only hurting yourself by not welcoming conflicting perspectives and types of media. Just because you read an article with opinions that differ from your own or talk to someone who believes in an opposing political party, doesn't mean that you need to agree with them, but at least be supportive of someone's freedom of choice. If you don't, and you need to push your agenda on others, isn't that a dictator mentality anyway?
Again, thank you so much for listening, supporting and following me along on this journey. I know that I don't normally bring politics or sensitive subjects into my work or Sunday newsletters, but I feel very strongly about this. I'm enjoying the open dialogue with others who both share the same thoughts as I and those who don't.
That's how it should be, right? Freely sharing our thoughts and ideas without judgment, shame or ridicule, but honoring our right to think what we want, express our personal truths and allow others to do the same.
Sending you love, always, x.
P.S: If you want to read an article that has an immense amount of resources and facts surrounding the vaccine, click this link. If you're on the fence about getting the vaccine or just want another perspective that you won't find by doing a Google search, read that article and make up your own mind on what feels right for you.
The information I mentioned regarding who owns our media companies was found through this documentary. (Also, YouTube censored this documentary when it was first released).
The information I mentioned regarding who owns the majority of brands we purchase at grocery stores is from this documentary.