Just when you thought the political schism in America couldn’t quite compare to that of the Grand Canyon, Aug. 10 happened.
In a headline that dominated Fox News, MSNBC and just about every other news service in the country, convicted sex offender and former financier Jeffery Epstein was found dead in his jail cell in New York.
In 2008, Epstein was found guilty of solicitation of prostitution involving a minor, resulting in an 18-month prison sentence. Last month, Epstein was arrested in New Jersey on federal charges of sex trafficking minors.
Despite original reports that the death was a suicide and a New York medical examiner confirming that ruling following an autopsy, the internet remained unsatisfied.
In the era of Twitter, conspiracy theories were hurled across the web immediately. Some noted the close relationship between President Donald Trump and Epstein during the early 2000s. Others related former President Bill Clinton to Epstein, discovering that Clinton had used Epstein’s private jet to travel for Clinton Foundation events.
The conspiracies essentially claim that Trump and Clinton are somehow implicated in the predatory prostitution ring, ultimately alleging that one of the two had Epstein assassinated to keep their names unscathed. It wasn’t long until #ClintonCrimeFamily and #TrumpBodyCount were trending on Twitter. President Trump even chimed in on the situation, promoting #ClintonCrimeFamily.
This question dominated the headlines: Which party is twisted enough to cover up pedophilia using assassination?
The completely exhausting narrative of left vs. right in this nation has poisoned the way we perceive daily news.
Instead of focusing on the 32 dead in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, due to gun violence, we would rather bicker over some of the most dark and twisted conspiracy theories the mind can conjure, all in an effort to defame those of a differing political party.
It’s almost dystopian to realize that some still believe in the theories, even after trained professionals confirmed the suicide.
Unlike the El Paso and Dayton shootings, the two-party war in this country will not fade after a proper amount of “thoughts and prayers” have been afforded via social media. We have to live in a nation constantly divided, where anything can and will be used for political advantage.
But that isn’t the end of the story.
While the vast and growing gap between liberals and conservatives doesn’t seem to be shrinking anytime soon, the American people think differently. According to recent research done by the More in Common foundation, an initiative created to combat “increasing threats of polarization and social division,” three-fourths of Americans agree that “our differences are not so great that we can not come together.”
Even if in a wild turn of events the conspiracy theorists are somehow correct, we ultimately must put aside our grievances in order to secure a better future of this country.
The focus of the Epstein debacle shouldn’t be on Trump tweets or Godfather-inspired conspiracy theories. Instead, we must realize how our information systems have been soiled, and how they’ve been used to divide our nation.