DIVIDED WE FALL
I thought I’d begin my first post by writing about the gigantic, enormous, ridiculous elephant in the room. Ever since Election Day rolled into the early hours of November 9th and the reality of the stunning upset of now President Drumpf over Hillary Clinton began to sink in, this country has seemingly gone absolutely crazy. I could post or repost any of hundreds of videos to support the idea that we are on the brink of some kind of civil war… but I won’t do that.
There are plenty of people willing to try and divide this nation by displaying what is the very worst of us on both sides of any argument. I don’t think the majority of people in this nation are a reflection of the stereotyped caricatures portrayed by the extremely radical on either side of the debate. Far too often, the media thrives on such derision. I have a great deal of trust and hope in people in general and those of this country in particular. Most of that hope has been developed throughout my life as I visited and lived in many different areas of the US and abroad.
With that as my prelude to this commentary, I would like to make a few suggestions that might help us show more respect, if not love, for each other.
Listen with the intent to understand and not with the intent to debate.
As a human being, I understand the disgust that anyone would have to the ridiculously sexist comments Donald Drumpf made in his past. As a man, I don’t claim to truly understand all of the issues women face or to understand the feelings of disappointment or anger or fear or any other feelings generated from this election.
I also don’t understand what the specific goals or desires of the very publicized women’s march were. So, I asked a young woman, for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect, those very questions. Why the march? What would be the hope or goal from the march? I gained a better perspective after spending just a few moments listening to her thoughts on the subject.
I did not try and debate it or argue about it with her. Her feelings are deeply rooted and very justified based on her very personal experiences. She has a frame of reference to which I cannot possibly have empathy, but for which I can surely have sympathy.
In the end, I still disagree with what some of the women’s march represents. But I respect, what I hope the majority of these women represent. If nothing else I respect their right to voice that discontent in a peaceful protest.
Don’t post or repost the salacious sound bites or video clips that represent the worst of either side of the discussion on social media in an attempt to further your cause or position.
Social media, in some ways, has become a reflection of the worst of what is inside us. If you don’t agree, simply go to any NFL discussion board and read the comments section! That’s kind of funny, but in no way a joke. I have read things that people have written on a comment board that I know they would never say face to face. We tend to believe that since there is a bit of anonymity given us while commenting, that we can unleash the worse and often most profane tirade and it is justified because of that anonymity.
Cyber bullying is also a reality and is every bit as detrimental as any other form of bullying. Maybe more so, simply due to the almost unlimited scope in numbers that can, and too often do, participate. I once saw a post on an NFL comment board where one person derided another for his disability. It was disgusting. I googled the guy who was doing the bullying and found he was on Linkedin. Once there I could see for whom he worked and even find his immediate supervisor.
Armed with this information, I posted a comment asking how his company and particularly his supervisor might feel about what he had written regarding this disabled man? His sudden return to reality shook him pretty hard. He immediately apologized and removed all of the comments. He actually looked (on facebook) like a good young man from a fine family. I imagine he just felt he could post whatever he wanted without ever actually having to face any recourse or consequence.
I think it was a good lesson for him and I honestly believe he was genuinely sorry for the attack. One irony was that as I called him out on the comment board for his bullying, I myself got slammed! Some were appalled that I would threaten to expose someone who was just simply enjoying his chat session about football. Thus, we see that social media is not always bringing out the best in us.
I have to believe that human decency would prevent almost all of us from having these kinds of contemptuous discussions or from using this kind of language in person. But, when people do fail to respond decently in person, there is usually some physical altercation to follow – which happens to occur far too often from gatherings that were instigated on social media.
Social media has had an incredibly derisive and divisive effect on our society in my opinion… especially for our youth. Many have grown up learning to interact socially through different forms of social media and have lost, or never developed in the first place, the ability to interact and to have civil, social or personal, discourse.
We see it in all forms of media these days and then get to watch it played out across America in the form of riots and insurrections, deceptively and dishonestly characterized as peaceful protests or demonstrations. They are revealed every day by numerous trash TV shows that are promoted as intellectual debate when they are simply a screamfest designed to generate ratings derived from of our ever-increasing desire to demean and attack rather than discuss and relate.
So, I am suggesting every time you find some salacious, sensational clip or story that represents the worst our society has to offer, you refrain from “sharing” it through social media. Some of you will claim it is your right, if not your responsibility, to share these kinds of posts to help enlighten others. But, I disagree! I believe we post these to promote our own personal agenda. We are likely posting and typing with much more malice in our hearts than with a desire to educate or enlighten others.
For the most part, we are not journalists. (That definition is an entirely different Blog). We are not news men or women. Unless you were actually the one witnessing and filming the incident, leave these stories to the major networks. I promise you, that they will cover the salacious and sensational ad nauseam. It is not our job to make sure everyone is aware of these ridiculous and outrageous moments caught on tape.
Ask yourself a simple question, how many people have you either defriended or at least unfollowed since November 8th? Either of these can be completely justified at times. I won’t follow or friend anyone that bullies or belittles someone else. But, most of the time when I see or hear these videos or stories that I disagree with, the only emotion it brings out in me is one of contention. “Good fruits” will never be harvested from a spirit of contention. Never!
Finally, seek social and all other media that inspires, educates and enlightens.
The number of internet sites that provide us with uplifting and inspirational messages is nearly infinite. I would much rather see a cat and a dog cuddling with each other than watch another video showing one idiot, or a group of them punching, kicking, screaming or killing another person because they have a fundamental disagreement in their beliefs.
We are more inspired by seeing the good in us than by watching the bad. In the end, the things that unite us are far greater than those that divide us.
President John F. Kennedy said, “Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder. What unites us is far greater than what divides us.”
I would add, “God has made us siblings”. All of us are literally spiritually begotten brothers and sisters. That doesn’t mean I will agree with or acquiesce to all of the ideas and issues of others. Far from it. I believe there are absolute and eternal truths that must be protected and defended. But, I believe even then, the spirit of love can and must be the principal reason defending those truths.
So, thus endeth the first post on this new site and leads into the subject for the next. Love always wins and truth always prevails… eventually!