I Clicked and Lived: The Epoch Times and The Great Divide


Maybe you’ve been tempted to do it, too. Maybe you’ve been so intrigued by the outlandishness of the idea, the outrageousness of even considering it, that you’ve almost done it. We’ve all seen him somewhere. Maybe hiding in a pop-up ad on the sidebar, maybe waiting to pounce as we go to watch a harmless YouTube video, but there he always is, complete with greased hair, a tweed vest, and a political agenda so reactionary it takes us a few seconds to process what we’re hearing. I’m here to say I did it. I clicked… and lived. 

The experience of reading the Epoch Times was more or less what I had expected. Yes, far right, and yes, far gone. As I read about the “Chinese Communist Party Virus” and the reasons why communism was in fact to blame for the global coronavirus pandemic, I found myself unsurprised in the least that the Epoch Times was the number one financial contributor to the Donald Trump campaign in 2019. The video accompanying the article I read began with a loud roar of thunder, a montage of old footage of Mao Zedong, and a dramatic narration about the origin of the coronavirus concluding with, “Every person it harms is directly attributable to the Chinese Communist Party.”

I would continue to recount my experience, but I’m concerned that this Epoch Times article may be a harbinger of a new age. It serves as a warning that this time, right now, has pushed us further away from one another than we’ve been in a long time. As the days bleed together and we have less and less to talk about, we begin to talk less and less. We think to ourselves, I already texted her a couple of days ago, and there’s nothing new to say. Therein lies the danger. The longer we stay apart, the more convinced we become that other people don’t want to hear from us about our boring lives, and that we are all perfectly capable of flying solo. We decide to stop trying so hard to stay connected, and instead opt to bear the loss of our family, friends, jobs, routines, hobbies, hopes, and goals by ourselves. Solo.

The result of this trend, if we do nothing, will be a bleak future I’m calling “The Great Divide”. The collective strain of people single-handedly carrying mountain-size burdens will pull us farther apart than we are now, and feed a punitive cycle that keeps us worrying about only ourselves and our immediate family members. We will think to ourselves, I guess it’s been a long time since I talked to him, but I need some alone time to work my problems out on my own. This mindset will be catastrophic for our relationships with friends, colleagues, and extended family, because it will communicate that only the good times in life are worth sharing, and that we don’t trust each other to understand when things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. But as this kind of self-centric thinking bores a hole through every tier of society, it will bode even worse for relationships between nations. When a country is saturated with this kind of loss-wallowing and maladaptive burden-bearing, its people come to resent it, and the national finger of blame is eventually pointed somewhere.

It looks like the Epoch Times is ready to point at China. Twenty years from now, will the Chinese-American War be our legacy?

Times are hard for millions of people right now, but the only way to avoid catastrophe is to look up. The Great Divide is just around the corner if we do nothing to stop it, and the Epoch Times seems to be ahead of the curve. Send a text, make a call, or even set a virtual meeting, but don’t let the distance grow between you and the people you don’t see anymore. They want to hear from you, because they miss you, too. If we don’t remind ourselves that we need each other, we’ll be sucked up in the vacuum of loss, and the finger of blame will be pointed somewhere before we know it. We need to look up, because there won’t be any going back if we don’t.