Public Health Enemy Number One: Marjorie Taylor Greene

I do not know Marjorie Taylor Greene. I do not wish anything bad upon her. However, Twitter’s suspension of her account for one week is not only a good thing, but a necessary one, too. Simply put, Marjorie Taylor Greene is public health enemy number one.

That MTG is consumed by conspiracy theories is worrying. That she has also called for executing politicians with whom she disagrees makes her a death coach. That she self-identifies as Christian is rich, as in extremely laughable. They’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love–not by our death coaching and inciting violence.

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s misinformation about COVID-19 is the reason for her latest Twitter lockout. She was also barred in mid-July after making false claims about the virus’s risk to people with obesity and those over 65. And earlier this year, Jack Dorsey timed her out for spreading The (Incredibly Shrinking) Big Lie about the 2020 presidential election.

As public health enemy number one, Marjorie Taylor Greene exhibits alarming levels of low health literacy vs. disinhibition vs. willful ignorance. Or perhaps the more accurate equation is deceitfulness plus callousness. Given how deeply antagonistic she is to public health, all social media platforms should terminate her privileges.

For starters, Marjorie Taylor Greene clearly has no business trying to exert influence over the FDA. If a constituent asked her to explain how mRNA vaccines work, she could not do it. If another one asked her what HIPAA stands for, she would make something up. And heaven knows what she would do if asked to point to her sacrum or humeri.

Stripped of her committee assignments in the House of Representatives, MTG is an “essentially ineffective legislator.” She is a threat to her own constituents, who all deserve better.  At the very least, a clear majority of Georgia’s 14th district ought to push for her resignation. She has no interest in governing, let alone in public health.

As ill-suited as MTG is for public office, her political record is childish at best and criminal at worst. She conflates the meaning of “public” with the antics of “attention-seeking.” More than anything, she is an embarrassment to Georgia, a menace to society, and public health enemy number one. I call upon Marjorie Taylor Greene to resign from office. If she declines to do so, I sincerely hope a sane challenger will prevent her from being re-elected in 2022.

In the meantime, Twitter should break up with her for good–and the greater good. In fact, 73 House members already support Greene’s expulsion from Congress, not to mention all the petitions that do, too. I just called Kevin McCarthy at 202-225-2915 to request he take the necessary steps to remove MTG from the House. And I messaged Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s chief legal officer and general counsel, @vijaya asking that Twitter permanently exile MTG.

I hope you’ll join me in advocating for Georgians, for Americans, and for civility.

MITM is a politically active organization who wants to see a better candidate replace Marjorie Taylor Greene. You can use ActBlue to make a donation to help us expel MTG the Seditious Six from government. Click here:  

You can follow Sarah Wright on Twitter @wrightenough or comment below.

Does Matt Gaetz make you feel safe?

At Meet in the Middle for America, we want to highlight politicians and provocateurs whose focus isn’t on collaborating to get the best version of America. 

What is the best version of America? I don’t know.

But it includes working together, compromise, and making decisions with good intentions, not harassing victims’ families or survivors of mass shootings because you think they’re red-flag operatives. 

All Americans should feel safe. All Americans should have the freedom to be themselves, have their own beliefs, and make their own decisions, but those principles don’t mean someone can be an asshole.

 I believe we get the best version of our country with collaboration, a little bit of this party, a little bit of that party, and if something works, we keep it; if it doesn’t, we keep improving. 

With that said, politicians and media outlets are behaving with an increasingly zero-sum attitude, stoking the fires they think they’re putting out that their opponents created. Zero-sum politics has real-life consequences and ensures we won’t find common ground.

And while I realize writing a scathing article calling out a politician might contradict some of my previous statements, some politicians embody this zero-sum attitude, and I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t bring attention to them. 

Unfortunately, my home state of Florida’s 1st congressional district’s U.S representative Matt Gaetz is one of those politicians who not only embodies a zero-sum attitude but is dangerous for America. And not in the overused, over-dramatic, “politically dangerous” kind of way. I’m talking about the Oxford dictionary definition of dangerous

He seems to have chosen to promote and act with troublesome people, behaviors, and ideologies that only feed his self-interest. 

Let’s take a closer look at Mr. Gaetz’s background, record, and whether he acts in a manner that upholds his oath as an elected federal official.

Matt Gaetz Background and Rise

Matthew Louis Gaetz II was born in Hollywood, Florida, in 1982 to prominent Florida politician and businessman Don Gaetz and wife Victoria, a former pharmacist and advocate against animal cruelty. Gaetz graduated from Florida State University in 2003, William & Mary Law School in 2007, and was sworn into the Florida Bar in 2008. 

After working at the law firm Keefe, Anchors, & Gordon for two years, Matt entered a special election for the seat representing the 4th district in Florida’s House of Representatives. Gaetz was able to win both the Republican primary and special general election handily with the help of almost 50 times more in contributions than his opponents. After running unopposed for the remainder of his first and second terms, he announced his intention to run for his father’s position in the Florida Senate in 2016. Following his third term, which he again won unopposed, Matt Gaetz withdrew from his initial plan in order to run for a U.S House seat representing “Florida’s most Republican congressional district” after its incumbent announced he would not seek re-election 11 days earlier. Following his close win in the Republican primary, Matt breezed past his Democratic opponent in the general election with 69% of the vote, becoming the seventh representative of Florida’s 1st district since 1933. 

Controversial Associations and Behaviors

Matt Gaetz originally became a prominent figure in national news as one of Donald Trump’s first (and loudest) unwavering political allies.

And while this is how Matt Gaetz first garnered national media attention, it’s not the first time he has shown a lack of both decency and sound judgment.

In 2008, Gaetz was arrested for driving while intoxicated on his way home from a nightclub. The charges were later dropped with the help of the law firm he worked for at the time. He also received 16 speeding tickets between 1999 and 2014.

Following the trial of George Zimmerman, a biracial Hispanic White man who killed Trayvon Martin (a black teenager) in 2012, Matt Gaetz vehemently defended Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law;” the self-defense argument George Zimmerman’s lawyers used to secure an acquittal verdict despite eyewitnesses giving different accounts from Zimmerman’s. It’s also important to note that multiple studies have found “stand-your-ground laws to be racially biased towards minorities in recent years.

Matt Gaetz is not known as a champion for all people. He has landed in hot water for several comments he’s made over the years towards non-white people. He has suggested two black state government colleagues didn’t know how to read or write, exclaimed “illegal immigrants are sucking us dry,” and defended Trump’s infamous “shithole” description of Haiti. Gaetz has drawn further criticism for his far-right affiliations, bringing Chuck Johnson with him to attend a 2018 state of the union address. Gaetz also hired a former Trump aide who was fired due to having strong ties with a white supremacist group.

Close political allies like Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Green are also a concern. Especially with the latter being stripped of key posts due to her promotion of QAnon conspiracy theories, claims that mass shootings and 9/11 were staged, and other brazen behaviors. 

Matt was also criticized when it was revealed that he had raised campaign funds for his 2016 race by selling real estate to a company owned by his father, Don, where Matt was listed as an executive during the time of the sales. This is a shady but legal practice.

He also tried to eject the father of a Parkland shooting victim from a hearing, which you can watch here.

Recently, Matt Gaetz was on a short-lived “American First Tour” earlier this year with Marjorie Taylor Green. He currently launched a podcast while simultaneously being investigated by the Justice Department over whether or not he violated federal sex trafficking laws for allegedly inducing a 17 year old girl to travel over state lines to engage in sexual activity in exchange for money or something of value. The investigation is ongoing.

No matter what your party affiliation is, you have to ask yourself, has Matt Gaetz earned the privilege to represent me?

Personally, as an independent, I don’t think so. I would like to hear your opinion in the comments below.

MITM is a politically active organization who wants to see a better candidate replace Matt Gaetz. You can use ActBlue to make a donation to help us expel Matt Gaetz and the Seditious Six from government. Click here:  

You can converse with Justin in the comments section below or follow him on Twitter @justingil27. Visit his website at

The Job of a Legislator

Just what is the job of United States Senators and Representatives? What is the purpose of Congress? In an era of extremely low public trust in Congress and its members, this has become an important question.

It seems that many people, including many elected officials, no longer understand the purpose of Congress, or the job function of a congressman or congresswoman. The job of a congressmember is not, as Matt Gaetz asserts, to go on TV.[1] Today, we will try to cut through the noise and confusion. To understand the real purpose of a legislator, we need to go back to the U.S. Constitution.

The job of a legislator is quite simple. It is to legislate. The legislature legislates, meaning that it makes laws or repeals old laws. As the world has grown more complex and the role of government has expanded, Congress has outsourced much of that lawmaking power to executive agencies who make regulations. Yet regulations can only do so much and the ultimate duty of lawmaking still resides in Congress.

For a variety of reasons, including because the entire American electorate cannot gather in a room to debate an issue, we elect legislators to debate solutions to the problems we face. Some problems do not require a government solution, while others do. And because people disagree over where that line is drawn, and over what type of solution to implement, we have political debates. The role of a legislator is not actually to pass laws. The role of a legislator is to debate the passage of new laws, and to vote on the passage of new laws, but not necessarily to vote in favor of a particular new law. We elect congressmen and congresswomen to debate issues and solutions to problems. If they believe that a bill meets an important need, then they vote to pass it.

Voters elect two senators and a representative to represent their interests. Some see that role as that of a delegate (which means voting exactly as a majority of constituents want), while others see the role as that of a trustee (meaning members of Congress can vote their conscience if they believe their constituents are wrong). Either way, the job primarily involves debating issues and voting on bills that may or may not become law.

Other Job Duties:

Although it is not in the Constitution, members of Congress do have fundraising responsibility. This is partly imposed on them by their party leadership and partly by the necessity of getting reelected. While many would argue that this duty has encroached upon their more important duties, and now takes up far too much of their time, it is a legitimate part of the job for senators and representatives. While it may take away from time spent on more important tasks, unless they do not plan to stay in Congress or do not want to be on important committees, members do need to spend at least a little time fundraising.

A large part of legislating is committee work. Party leadership controls committee assignments, which they can use to force members to fundraise. Because the entire House and Senate cannot investigate every issue deeply, members work together in smaller committees to become experts on Foreign Relations, or Armed Services, or Appropriations. Committees investigate issues, draft and vote on sending bills to the full Congress, and then explain their bills to the full House or Senate. Committee work is the nuts and bolts of legislating. It includes actually researching and learning about the intricacies of issues and the bills drafted to solve them. One would hope that congressmembers would at least have read the bills that pass their own committees – alas, sometimes this is not the case.

Perhaps one of Congress’s greatest derelictions of duty in recent years has been the failure to pass budgets and appropriations bills on time, leading to continuing resolutions and stopgap measures to prevent government shutdowns. This happens almost every fiscal year. The appropriations process is long and complex, but it used to happen on time every year. Now, it rarely happens either on time, or in the right way. Typically, we get a last-minute omnibus bill instead of 12 smaller appropriations bills passed earlier in the year. One could reasonably argue that constitutes failure to do a job. If Congress passed no other bills, made no new laws, and did nothing else, they should pass the budget and the appropriations bills on time every single year.

Members of Congress also perform constituent services, including advocacy, solving local problems, hearing complaints and concerns, and even nominating students for military academies, like West Point. Much of this work is done by the staff, but elected officials have a role. If you are wrongly imprisoned, you can ask your representative or senators to help get you a pardon.

If they want to be reelected, members also need to campaign. Many will also campaign on behalf of other members of their party. Campaigning goes beyond fundraising to include town hall meetings, canvassing for votes, visiting state fairs, going door to door, running ads, and even debating opponents. We can argue about how much time should be spent campaigning and how much should be spent legislating, but if members want to continue to legislate, they need to stay in office, which requires some campaigning.

The work of a congressmember includes fundraising, campaigning, and constituent work, but the primary job duty is to work on legislation. All committee work, debate, budgeting and appropriations, voting, research, and negotiation falls into this category.

Conclusion – Congress is an Institution:

The purpose of senators is to serve the American people in the institution of the Senate. The purpose of representatives is to serve the American people in the institution of the House. These institutions were formed for a purpose. Congress was formed for a purpose. The people within Congress are there to serve that purpose. One problem in our society today is that people exploit institutions to serve themselves, rather than serving the purpose of the institutions they inhabit. Politicians do this by using Congress as a platform to perform.[2] Rather than performing public service, they use publicity to further their own interests (fame, fortune, power, prestige, or cultural and political agenda). A common denominator in the politicians that MITM seeks to oppose is that they use Congress, and by extension the American People, rather than serving Congress and the American People. Our politics will only become healthy once our public officials return to their purpose. Congress will only work once we understand what the job of our legislators entails and hold them to that. We will only trust Congress once it starts functioning as a healthy institution again. And that will only happen when the members of that institution serve it, instead of using it to serve themselves.

You can read more great articles by Ben Connelly by following him on LinkedIn.

And remember, MITM is actively campaigning against the Seditions Six. Your donation helps us use the Democratic Process to remove notorious members of Congress like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz. Consider a donation today. Click here to donate:



Don’t Waste Your Time Arguing Online

Sometimes it’s hard to fight temptation. 

You see something in the comments section that is so ignorant, so outrageous; you feel personally offended by the person who left the comment.

You can’t let this person off the hook.

You have to get them! 

You must win the argument.

And that’s how many feel in this situation; they have to come out on top.

I used to be that guy in college. I was going to battle with everyone on Instagram who had different views than mine. If you went against my beliefs, I’d let you know why you were wrong. My specialty was leaving sarcastically crafted comments for strangers with pro-gun views.

I was the one in the wrong.

The more I argued with others on platforms like Instagram, the less I was getting done, the less happy I was, and the more isolated I felt. I realized I wasn’t learning or gaining value from engaging in a war of words with others online. What positives did I gain?

I don’t know. 

Maybe the feeling of winning or the sense of being on a team?

Who knows?

 Even when I felt like I came out on top, I was feeling terrible.

And that’s because…


It’s an unimportant fruitless endeavor that further erodes your mind and compassion towards people. 

That’s why.

Social media battles are ugly, and right now, it feels like there’s an online civil war, and I’m actively deciding not to participate. 

And, I’m asking you to do the same. 

No matter what you believe in, there’s no excuse for attacking others online.

While hurling insults and making threats crosses the line legally, that’s secondary, as common decency and respect should always be present when exchanging ideas. Unfortunately, it’s not; this Pew Research survey found that 59% of U.S. teens have experienced some form of online harassment and civil discord seems more hostile each day

And according to a study done by John Suler, the internet is making you meaner!

So, I’m actively choosing not to participate.

I don’t want to be meaner! I care about my mental health, and I’m concerned for yours too. 

Engaging others in cynical discussions online doesn’t just make you more malicious; there are other adverse side effects as well:

  • Wasted time
  • Further real-word isolation
  • Affect your ability to think independently
  • Gain a jaded perception of others
  • Loss of sleep
  • Can lead to real-life violence

And you’re probably thinking, “But Justin, does that mean I can’t engage with anyone online?”

Not at all! When done correctly, online political conversation can be a tool for learning, so next time, if you do decide to leave a comment, keep this in mind:


It doesn’t matter if you’re in a room with someone or not; the golden rule should always apply when interacting with another person; you should always act with proper etiquette.

According to Oxford Languages, etiquette is: 

“The customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.”

The more recently created ‘netiquette’ means abiding by that code, but online.

Consider the other person when you’re communicating. Empathy and compassion aren’t signs of weakness but rather a sign of strength.


Do you feel good about how you’re spending your time? 

If you are, great, but if not, try mixing things up. Remember, you have a finite number of days on Earth and a limited amount of time each day.

Are you getting things done?

Do you feel like you spend your day working towards something you enjoy, or do your days seem a little disjointed and go by in a blur?

Social media is addictive, and it’s made to be. 

Sometimes it’s better to take a break and reflect.

For me, I felt like I wasn’t taking active participation in my life. I was a viewer, an audience member. I’d watched something unfold and then argued with someone on the sidelines because our opinions disagreed. 

You can change. I changed. Writing is something I never thought I’d have the courage to do.

A few years after I started taking writing seriously, I got an excellent job at SavvySME, have my own business, and write for a few different websites, including this awesome one!

If you feel yourself getting caught up in social media arguments:

  1. Consider the other person, their perspective, and their feelings. 
  2. Remember that YOU are the most important thing in your life. 

Be the best version of yourself possible; that’s how you’ll positively impact the world!

Thanks for reading Justin’s words of wisdom. Get more wisdom in your email by signing up for our Blog below on the MITM HOME page. Click on Justin’s links above to visit his website and follow his Twitter @justingil27. Follow @mitm4america too and come back to see us again!

Medieval Mindset

Most Americans take pride in living in a free society. As a kid, my peers and I used to say, “it’s a free country.” Meaning, “we can do what we want.” Yet despite our lip service to freedom, many Americans do not act like they want to live in a free society.

One of the clearest examples of this is the treatment of political leaders (or celebrities) as feudal lords. Some have called this a medieval mindset. In truth, the desire to rally around a strongman is much older and perhaps comes from some innate, evolutionary part of our brains. But feudalism (Game-of-Thrones-style or actual historical feudalism) serves as a useful analogy.

For my entire life, we have treated presidents as avatars in the culture war. Clinton, Bush, Obama, and especially Trump. During this time, the role of the federal government in our lives has also grown. Likewise, the power of the executive branch, at the expense of the legislative branch. Congress has delegated more and more power to the president, and to the administrative state. Furthermore, every president since perhaps Ford has taken unconstitutional actions (typically unchallenged).

For these reasons, Americans have become very invested in their presidents, and in presidential elections. Every four years we hear that, “this is the most important election in our lifetimes!” Many Americans stake their hopes and dreams on the president. When Trump and Bush won, people cried. When Biden won, others were convinced abortion rates would triple overnight.

Celebrity-worship also plays into the medieval mindset. When Donald Trump combined celebrity with presidential power, he created a real, psychological cult of personality. Trump is by no means the only example of this phenomenon (it occurs on right and left), but he is the most obvious and most salient. He demanded loyalty he did not reciprocate. His advisers became sycophants, and even ordinary voters fawned on him. A large cohort of Americans now base all their political opinions on Trump. When he changes his mind, they follow suit.

With Trump, and with Obama before him, ordinary citizens were asked in effect to pledge fealty. Like serfs kneeling before a duke, we make a commitment to follow our political heroes. We virtue-signal our solidarity with sitting politicians and candidates. At every turn, we are asked, “Do you support the president?” or “Do you stand with him?” or “Are you with her?” Donation letters tell us that a candidate “needs” us. In one egregious recent example, elderly Trump voters received mail threatening to actually tell Trump if any individual voter opted out of recurring donations.

This extends in the opposite direction, too. Negative polarization matters more than partisan affinity. If the president is your “enemy” (meaning from the other party), you have to oppose him at every turn. If you praise him for anything, you are “enabling” him, “apologizing” for him, and “giving him cover.” Even when the president does something you like, you must disagree with him.

Social media turns this up a notch. Everyone on Twitter must take a stand on the latest issue of the day. They have to prove that they disagree with every new policy put forth by members of the opposing party.

This means that every issue becomes a proxy for partisan antipathy. Even issues that should have no political bearing (i.e., scientific ones) are treated with a partisan lens. “If Trump is for it, I am against it.” Or vice versa. We saw this in 2020. Hydroxychloroquine. Masks. The lab leak theory. And now, sadly, vaccines. Vaccines and masks should not be badges of partisan affiliation.

Deference to authority is natural (albeit one of many competing human traits). It’s easier to follow a leader than to think for yourself. For most of history, people were governed by kings, warlords, tyrants, dictators, and emperors. Democracy is an anomaly.

This natural tendency still runs deep. Despite some claims, medieval mindset occurs equally on left and right. Trump has a cult of personality, but so did Obama (to a lesser degree). Some people on the right worship the ghost of Reagan. But during the pandemic we saw both worship of and sexualization of Andrew Cuomo and Anthony Fauci (a non-political figure who has been politicized against his will).

Fascination with Trump, or AOC, or anyone, is unhealthy for our democracy. As members of a free society, and not serfs of a feudal fiefdom, we should not worship any person (political figure, celebrity, or scientist). Moreover, our actions should demonstrate our ability to act and speak as free-thinking individuals. If you can think for yourself, you can be independent of any politician. If the president (of any party) takes action you support, you can praise him (or her). If the president turns around and enacts policy you oppose, you can denounce it (even if you voted for him or her). You do not have to “stand with” your politician, your political party, or your culture war avatar. It might be better if you did not.

In fact, it is more important to speak up when the president (or party) you voted for takes action you dislike. Each side is best suited to hold its own to account. Criticizing your own side demonstrates more ability to think freely than does criticizing the other side.

The only way to decrease partisanship is to start holding our own sides to account. This does not mean registering as an Independent. Partisan identification does not matter. You can think independently without registering as an Independent. In fact, many “Independents” vote more staunchly with one side or the other than do many registered Republicans and Democrats. If you want to register as an Independent, you can. What matters is avoiding celebrity-worship and holding politicians you admire to account.

In a healthy democracy, presidents should not matter to the day-to-day life of most average Americans. The best thing about President Joe Biden is that we can go a whole week without thinking about him.

Thanks to Ben for another great post! To read more posts from Ben Connelly in the future, follow our blog and visit our home page You can connect with Ben on LinkedIn (click here) where he has more great articles and posts, including ‘The Lone Runner Series’. Thank you for reading and share these links with your friends!

To see the countdown timer until the next election, click here!

Accept Culture

What does Accept Culture mean and how do we escape from Cancel Culture?

If there was ever a term that causes more emotional outrage in politics, I don’t know what it is. Cancel Culture itself needs to be…CANCELLED! Not because it’s a bad practice. Sometimes it’s the only way a person can be held accountable, and pedophiles, rapists, and insurrectionists must be dealt with. But Cancel Culture is being used as another way to divide Americans.


Cancel Culture has been used to punish public figures or companies who commit a wrong as determined by society. Used properly, someone like Roger Ailes or Joss Whedon is called on the carpet over their abuse of other people, which is a good thing. We all need to know who the predators are. But in politics the term Cancel Culture is overused and accusatory. The politicians using it the most sound-like crybabies. “You don’t like my politics, so you are trying to cancel me, wah, wah, wah!”

You get the idea. But have you noticed that some of these people with extremely bad behavior, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, never go away? Cancel Culture doesn’t even work. It makes people FAMOUS! That is what must stop.

Now to the purpose of my story. We must practice Accept Culture!

Accept Culture means that we accept people just as they are. It’s quite simple, and it needs to apply to politics too. For example, my wife and I are registered with opposite political parties. So are our neighbors across the street. We are still compatible and happily married. Since COVID settled down we ‘hang’ with our neighbors often. And we all agree, regardless of political persuasion, that politics are completely out of control.

Accept Culture is such a simple thing I don’t know why it hasn’t come up. If you Google the term, there is no result. There are plenty of hits with both words, but they never appear together. Instead of making the worst among us hugely famous, why don’t we use social media to focus on making good people or a great cause famous?

For example, Heather Abbott is a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing that happened in 2013. I can look out the window where I sit to write and see where it happened. She was recently featured as a 2021 CNN Hero for her work raising money for other amputees struggling to afford prosthetics. Her Twitter handle is @Heather_Abbott1 and she has now raised over $1 Million to help others when their insurance falls short or doesn’t pay at all. Why hasn’t she gone viral after CNN broadcast and published her story? Why isn’t she famous instead of a Kardashian?

Another good example is Kerry Donovan. She’s a State Senator from Colorado and she is sponsoring a bill to force big tech companies to have some accountability. These companies claim they can’t control what is posted on their sites, but they track every click we make and constantly try to sell to us. If they are so deep into what we see online they must have the ability to detect and control election tampering, cyber bullying, hate speech, and predatory marketing using our data. She’s a political hero trying to protect her constituents. Follow her Twitter handle @KerryDonovanCO and make her famous by helping her defeat Lauren Boebert.

You may be asking, “shouldn’t we accept Lauren Boebert too?” The answer is yes, we should. What we should NOT do is feed her need for attention and make her more famous! Every time she misbehaves, she earns more campaign cash and is positively reinforced to repeat the bad behavior. She recently created an attack ad that targets the Speaker of the House and uses gun related sound effects that resemble assassination. It’s impossible to cancel her so ignore her bad behavior instead.

Changing culture is a slow process. It takes persistent and dedicated leaders to believe in it and set an example. It also takes sponsors. Sharing the message ‘organically’ has almost no reach. Communication has a cost. Cancel Culture has become viral because there is drama and conflict involved. Our human nature is drawn to that, which makes sharing the positive message of Accept Culture more difficult.

A recent organization called America Talks is hosting an event on June 12th designed to bridge the political divide. With the help of sponsors, and organizations like MITM, they are sponsoring a national conversation dedicated to bringing people of different political beliefs together for a 1:1 video chat. It’s an opportunity to talk earnestly about what is dividing us and why. I hope everyone who reads this participates now and at future events. It’s a brilliant way to share the message of Accept Culture.

America Talks – Repairing America’s Divides, One Conversation at a Time

Let’s get out there and spread the word. You can always follow our blog and follow us on Twitter (@mitm4america) and LinkedIn (MITM, Inc.), and then share our posts. We are so grateful for your engagement and we look forward to having a conversation with you too! Thank you.

Want to Fight Conspiracy and Misinformation? Start with Your Own Side.

Subtitle: Science and Facts Do Not Take Sides.

With the rise of QAnon, the return of anti-vaxxers, and the Big Lie about fraud in the 2020 election, conspiracy and misinformation have returned to the fore of American consciousness. Fact checking outlets work overtime. Social media is filled with bots, trolls, and outright lies. Elected officials claim that California wildfires are the result of lasers from outer space or that Israel is conducting an ethnic cleansing. Many ordinary Americans are left wondering where to turn for reliable information, and what they can do about conspiracies and misinformation.

Fighting for truth starts at home. Everyone has to hold their own side to account. When prominent Democrats accuse Marjorie Taylor Greene of being a nutcase, her fundraising goes through the roof. When Republicans try to hold members of the Squad to account, they are often rightly asked what they think about the 2020 election? If anyone wants to be effective in combatting misinformation, they must police their own side.

More importantly, when evaluating new claims, everyone needs to use extra scrutiny on those from their own side, or those that comport with their own preexisting beliefs. If you want a narrative to be true, you will more easily discount countervailing evidence. As the great Richard Feynman said, “the first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.”[1] Human beings are exceptionally skilled at fooling themselves. In order to avoid cognitive dissonance, we ignore evidence that contradicts our opinions. Which is why you should have extra skepticism towards any new claims that you want to believe. If you want it to be true, take extra care to make sure that it is. Fighting misinformation and conspiracy should start with humility and self-reflection.

Some will contest this. They will say that their side empirically has a monopoly on truth. The prominent left-wing columnist at the New York Times, Paul Krugman, likes to say that the truth has a liberal bias.[2] Journalists, academics, politicians, and even ordinary citizens like to repeat this trope. But despite the efforts of Donald Trump, Matt Gaetz, and their ilk, Republicans do not have a monopoly on conspiracy. They have tried, and succeeded, to make misinformation more obvious on the right. But lies, distortion, and misinformation still exist on the left.

For example:

  • Whatever your opinion of Governor DeSantis, it is clear that 60 Minutes’ claims of corruption in the Florida vaccine rollout are false (especially after the Democratic mayor of Palm Beach said so).[3]
  • While President Biden easily clears the low bar set by his predecessor on truthfulness, he has famously played fast and loose with the truth during his time in public service. Most recently, he called Georgia’s election law “the new Jim Crow” and repeated false claims about restrictions in voting hours.
  • While Donald Trump has sadly convinced many Republicans that the 2020 election was a fraud, Republicans hold only the most recent examples of election lies. Against all available evidence, Stacey Abrams still claims the 2018 Georgia governor’s race was stolen from her. Despite the findings of the Mueller Report, a majority of Democrats believe that Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election. And a small cohort still cling to a belief that George Bush stole the 2004 election from John Kerry.

It is not just politics. Antiscientific behavior also does not take sides.

Many people claim that they are “on the side of science” or that they “follow the science,” without always following science in reality. They post yard signs claiming that “science is real,” but do not understand scientific principles or the scientific method. Oftentimes, the people who most loudly proclaim their devotion to “following the science” actually have no scientific background. They defer unthinkingly to “experts.” Of course, there is nothing wrong in principle with deferring to experts on scientific matters. In fact, we should defer to researchers on matters in their own fields. However, many people who claim to “follow the science” do not engage in elementary scientific reasoning when evaluating claims. Furthermore, they often discount any “science” that does not follow their own political beliefs.

Right now, antiscientific thinking is evident on the right. But it cuts across parties.

  • Many people who claim to “follow science” denounce Genetically Modified Foods, despite the evidence showing GMO foods do not cause harm, and the fact that humans have been genetically modifying organisms since the inventions of agriculture and animal husbandry.
  • Until they seized a foothold in the fever swamp of right-wing conspiratorial politics, anti-vaxxers were predominantly a left-wing phenomenon.
  • Throughout the pandemic, newspapers across the country denounced Florida, Texas[4], and Georgia[5], for having fewer lockdown restrictions. Yet the disastrous outcomes they predicted never materialized. States like New York and New Jersey[6] (with harsh restrictions) had much higher per capita death rates than Florida (and Texas and Georgia), despite Florida’s large senior population, and dense urban centers.

These examples are not meant to indict the left or the Democratic Party. Instead, they serve as counterexamples to the prevailing narrative that “the truth has a liberal bias.” In fact, neither truth, nor lies, have a conservative or liberal bias. Actually, there is some truth on both sides, and quite a lot of lying and misinformation.

The project of Meet in the Middle will require partisans on both sides to examine the truth and falsehood of their own positions. Rather than immediately condemning the other side, look first for the log in your own eye, or the logs in your allies’ eyes. Everyone should be skeptical of wild claims, especially those coming from their own sides (because those are the ones you are predisposed to believe, and which will more easily fool you). In order to counteract misinformation, each side needs to start cleaning up its own camp.

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