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Together we stand, divided we fall.

This is the foundation of the United States of America.

Cooperation between people with very different cultures, languages and beliefs is what built this country, from the idea that people should run their country rather than kings or priests.

A country where people were protected by their government rather than subject to their government.

A country where people could speak freely without fear of arrest or attack.

Yet in the past 50 years we have become a divided country, with many people no longer bothering to find truth or accuracy but rather assuming immediately that others are lying. People listen to people lie and not bothering to find the truth, which admittedly does take some effort.

Part of this is because the internet has, for the past 30 years, made it possible for people to associate only with people with similar beliefs, listen only to news and other information put out by sources which mirror their beliefs and assume that because everyone they see or talk to is like them, that they are not only in a majority, but are correct in their beliefs.

Mostly it is because the people have forgotten that knowing and investigating and then deciding for themselves is how the country is supposed to worknot merely reflecting the views and opinions of those you see online or on the news.

At the very least, before you trust your decisions to someone else, you need to verify that they are, in fact, worthy of trust.

Charles Barnard, Menomonie

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