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BOGOR, INDONESIA - APRIL 05: Ants enter a jar which is used for breeding on April 5, 2014 in Bogor, Indonesia. Breeders can produce 300 pounds of eggs and hundreds of thousands of ants per month. The ant eggs are an alternative food that is rich in protein and vitamins, with local market demand for the ants and their eggs in Indonesia very high. (Photo by Nurcholis Anhari Lubis/Getty Images)

Last night, I was reading a quote that has often been incorrectly attributed to Sir David Attenborourgh. It’s thought provoking and has been kicking around in my head ever since. You’ve probably seen it floating around over the last several years. We’re not sure who really said it first, and it is, in this case, inaccurate. Ants of different species will most likely act aggressively towards each other regardless of whether or not you shake the jar. However, I do enjoy an Aesop style tale and it does make you think. Who is shaking the jar?

The quote goes something like this… “If you collect 100 black ants and 100 red ants and put them in a jar, nothing will happen. But if you shake the jar vigorously, the ants will start killing each other. Reds will believe black is the enemy and black will believe red is the enemy when the real enemy is the person who shook the jar.

 The same is true in society. Men vs. Women, Black vs. White, Right vs. Left, Faith vs. Science, Young vs. Old, Rich vs. Poor, etc.  Before we fight each other, we must ask ourselves: Who shook the jar?”

You see, the sooner we realize we’re all in this together, the better off we’ll be. We’re all existing on this little chunk of rock, floating in space. We’re all in the same boat and if we keep shooting holes in the bottom of that boat, we’re all going to sink together. So, who is shaking the jar?

The Media

In recent years, there has been an increase in the amount of negativity and anger that is consumed by the average person. This is largely due to the way that the media portrays events. The media loves to focus on the negative aspects of any situation, as this is what sells. This can create a feeling of unease and anxiety in people, as they are constantly bombarded with news reports of bad things happening. Furthermore, many people seem to be addicted to this “rage porn” and enjoy getting worked up about things that they see on the news.

Power Hungry Politicians

The misuse of power has been a problem throughout history. There have always been those who seek to amass power for its own sake, and the results have often been disastrous. In recent years, it seems that this problem has become more pronounced. Politicians appear to be more concerned with posturing and grandstanding than with actually governing. They tell people what they want to hear, regardless of whether or not it is true. They attack anyone who disagrees with them with viciousness and vitriol, instead of engaging in reasonable discussion. This is not the way that politics is supposed to work. People are supposed to come together and find common ground, not tear each other apart.

I do think it is important to remember that not all politicians are corrupt. There are still those who genuinely believe in the principles they espouse and who strive to make the world a better place. The problem is that these politicians are often drowned out by the louder, more aggressive voices of those who are more interested in power than principle

“Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely” -Lord Acton

Social Media

Oh boy… don’t get me started. It’s no secret that social media can be a breeding ground for misinformation and negativity. With so many people sharing their opinions on a wide range of topics, it’s easy for false information to spread quickly. And with the anonymity of the internet, people are often more willing to share divisive or offensive content that they would never say in person. As a result, social media can be a cesspool of misinformation and divisive crap.

At first, I thought… Wow! Everyone should read that quote and take a little wisdom from it. Then, I realized, we may very well be in too deep. One person will read it and blame the right for shaking the jar. The next will scream from the rooftops that the left is shaking the jar. Both will even go as far as labeling the other a traitor for not sharing the same views. Yet another person will blame CNN for the divisiveness currently infesting our country. The next will point the finger at Fox News. It just goes on and on. When exactly did holding opposing views turn people into mortal enemies?

I wanted to share the quote, even though I fear something that appeared so enlightening on the surface, would really just lead to each individual defining it to align with their beliefs and views. Missing the moral of the story entirely.

Who is shaking the jar? I’ll leave that for you to ponder, but I think they’re all guilty as hell. How do you conquer a people? You divide them. Divide and conquer. I’m concerned about the end result when everyone has had their gluttonous fill of “rage porn.” I do hold some hope that maybe, just maybe, a lot of people see things the same way I do, but then I scroll through Facebook or Twitter for five minutes and just hang my head and sigh.

I digress. I have American values that transcend political loyalty. I’ve been criticized for not always taking a side. I won’t change any value or belief I have to fit in with anyone, much less any arrogant, hypocritical snake oil salesman or party who has decided “This is what you are required to believe” Nope, you guys can have your dumpster fire all to yourselves.

I have control over one thing, me… and I’m going to put down the phone and shut off the news and go make the best of what this beautiful life has to offer. I hope you will too. Then when the whackos are trying to out shout each other and spew venom and hate, no one will be listening. Wouldn’t that be grand?

As you were.

Jaxon is the afternoon host on WMMR Philadelphia.  Hear his show weekdays 3-7 pm. You can also follow him on social media.  Instagram  Twitter  Facebook