Oh, I'm sorry! Did you not think you were part of a conspiracy? But you are.
Here's how you should have known you were part of a conspiracy:
1. You are any kind of media organization that didn't wholeheartedly endorse the current president-elect.
Fox News. New York Times. Washington Post. MSNBC. ABC. CNN. CBS. Comedy Central. NBC. Huffington Post. PolitiFact. FactCheck.org. All of you. Maybe not you, NPR, because you are member-funded. Maybe.
You all aired THOUSANDS of hours, MILLIONS of words, of free campaign marketing for someone who you KNEW was NOT QUALIFIED for the job.
You sold America. For ads.
2. You are any kind of social media organization.
Facebook. Twitter. Snapchat. WhatsApp. Your algorithms of what we should see don't include a way for us to distinguish things that are truly important from the things that are notorious but worthless.
You sold America so you could claim "higher viewership" or "higher readership" or whatever. Most clicks, I guess.
3. You are anyone who engaged with anyone of the above co-conspirators.
That's all of us. You. Me.
We all participated in the freak show for the past year. We are ALL part of the conspiracy. We didn't use our better judgment. We didn't think about what we did. We deceived ourselves that we were doing something good. We Retweeted and Liked and Shared our collective outrage at the insane things, but none of us stopped to think about whether our contribution to Social Media was a good thing or not. We just did it because that's what you do in order to get Liked and Retweeted and Commented and Friended and Followed.
What was the point of this conspiracy, for all of us?
We didn't run this conspiracy to get anyone elected. We ran it because we wanted to be on the Winning Side of the Popularity Contest.
We sold America to the guy that knew how to be talked about the most.
We ALL deserved this outcome.
Think about it. Did you ever count how many Likes you got? How many Favorites were made? How many Followers you have? Did it make you feel good inside to see those numbers go up? Did you feel a little left out when someone else you knew got a fleeting glance of recognition from some celebrity, when you worked so hard to get noticed?
He knew exactly how to get elected. All he had to do was to get everyone to talk about him. It didn't matter what he said, what he did, whether he was any good at it.
All that mattered was that he got your attention, and that you, too, wanted to play the Be Popular Game
Our conspiracy to Be Popular worked, and now we have to live with the consequences.
We all confused being popular with being good citizens.
It should be obvious now that they are not the same thing.
A good citizen recognizes that the right thing to do is not always going to be the most popular thing to do.
I have not yet decided what I will do yet. I know I must do something different.
I know I must get away from the world where it matters to me whether my favorite celebrities shares my belief.
I must get away from the world where I am even aware how many Likes, Follows, Shares, and Favorites there are to what I want to say out in the open for others to read.
I must restore my world to where I stop to think about whether what I am sharing or saying is just likely to get a big response, or whether it is something that helps grow the people around me in a thoughtful, nurturing way.
I must get away from the world where I think I can get News Of Value for free. If I want News, I will do my research on the source and, if worthy, I will pay for it.
I must get away from the world where I believe that clicking Like or Retweet or Share is the same thing as taking a stand and expressing my personal intentions to make the world a better place. I am more imaginative and resourceful than that.
I am sharing this with you with reticence. Maybe you recognize yourself, like me, as part of this conspiracy. And maybe my words provoke something in you to choose a better path.
But if all that these words inspire you to do is to Share this, or Like it, or Tweet it, then PLEASE DO NOT DO THAT.
We created this conspiracy. We can stop it. But not by using the conspiracy.
We must take a stand for ourselves. Alone if we must. If possible, we may take a united stand for our shared beliefs, but only by individually working with other individuals.