If you’re anything like me, you’re completely fed up with the downright ugliness of social media. To me, what it boils down to is this:
Who I voted for (or who you think I voted for) does not make it okay for you to insult me. Or anyone else either. If you disagree with me? Again, it’s not okay to insult my intelligence, my integrity, or my compassion for others. If asked for an opinion and I give it? Let’s just say that STFU is not an appropriate response. Yes, I’m a woman, but please don’t tell me what I should think just because I am a woman.
There’s a serious lack of filters out there these days and I hate it. Part of it is social media widens our “circle” to see comments, attitudes, and opinions of perfect strangers who are nothing more than a tiny little box beside their name. For the most part, I think many of these strangers are far too comfortable being rude and insulting to people that they don’t know. I ask myself this question all the time: If this conversation happened in line at the coffee shop, would they say this to my face? Or do they gather their boldness from the anonymity of the on-line arena? I think it’s probably the latter. The Pollyanna in me likes to find the good in people but lately that’s been difficult. And it’s not just with respect to politics that I see the sad decline of civility. Even on forums dedicated to something as wonderful as sharing the love for our pets, a disagreement over advice to seek veterinary care often ends up with name calling and nasty comments about the poster’s appearance. (I know. It’s crazy, right? And mean. It’s just mean.) I bite my tongue on a daily basis rather than get involved in the ugly mess. When I’m not successful and have lapse in judgment and think maybe my opinion does matter, well, there’s usually someone who comes along to set me straight. In the end, I’m just not offering up my thoughts publicly all that often anymore. There’s a lot of toxic comments and as a result, toxic emotions. Hate is strong word, but there’s an awful lot of it out there these days. And I have to ask, whatever happened to the Golden Rule? (And guess what?? It’s not just a Christian thing either.) This blogger has a great post about it and she is spot on when she says, “Stop for a moment and just imagine the impact it would have if every single one of us throughout the world took the spirit of these guidelines to heart and put them into practice in our day-to-day lives.”
Finally, I know that there’s not a lot that I can do about it. Except this: I can be kind; kindness begins with me. And hopefully more people, discouraged by the hate and incivility around us, will eventually opt to be the change they want to see as well. I fear that without it, we’re sunk.