People - all people - are fed a daily stream of depersonalization that not only allows but encourages nastiness towards others. It enables tribal groupings in ways we've never seen before. Look at incels, for example. These losers would be alone in mom's basement somewhere. But the internet has given them the tools to socialize, band together, and feed each other's toxicity.
If you take a step back from your (general you) partisan politics and really look at the internet. Just observe people. Not the specifics of what they're saying or whether or not you agree with it. How they're saying it. What they're doing. How they're characterizing other people and treating them.
It's not a good look. It's an unending battle to otherize and denigrate. There is no disagreement possible. Everything is reduced to good and evil, making persuasion - or even conversation - impossible. Yeah, the MSM, cable news, and talk radio got the ball rolling on this, but social media took it to levels unimaginable in any other age of human history.
When you no longer see other people as people - and in the safe confined of the anonymous internet, that is very easy - then it becomes very simple to justify one's own behavior. "Those other people don't count. They're less human. I can be as awful as I want."
And once each side no longer sees the other as people worthy of consideration, then it's on. Then the shittiness kicks into a higher gear. The toxicity feeds on itself.
Because we're human, we're still having Wars of Religion, it's just what religion looks like has changed. Now it's much more ideological rather than theological. And of course, every side is absolutely positively certain they're on the side of the angels, that their side has the secrets to all good things.
Which is . . . not very different from how people behaved in medieval times.
Trump isn't the cause. He's the symptom. We (collective we) opened a shit portal, and then we're all surprised that a shit demon waltzed on through. And we act like this wasn't the MSM's favorite thing in all history. What would they talk about if Trump weren't around? Hell, forget the MSM. What would people on social media talk about all day if he weren't around? I have Trump on all kinds of filters because I do not want to hear about him all day. It's toxic and unhealthy. Yet he still gets through. Endlessly. Pointlessly. Like, it's not even interesting relevant discussions about him. It's just disposable babble until he does the next thing.
Is this a horrible thing, or are people actually having the best of times with all of it?
Because people really, really, really enjoy talking about the man, using him as a tribal totem - for and against - and just centering their minds and their lives around it. It's war from the couch against the faceless, disposal, characterized other.
We're kind of an awful society in many ways - yes, even on our side. And social media has allowed that id to escape into the real.
I'm not sure what anyone was expecting.
"We're all about the good and the truthful and the righteous." No we're not. On a daily basis I see examples of how we're not.
We're just people with all of the flaws. I like our ideas better. That's it. But we're shitty, too. And without reflecting on that to any meaningful degree, things don't change. When everything becomes a justification of "How can I justify being shitty today?" we're just doing the same shit society has been doing for thousands of years.
We're not so evolved, no matter what monologue of denial is happening in that mirror every morning.