After the events of the last few days, my resilience is worn-down. I can’t read another post or comment by an armchair pundit containing divisive broadcasted attacks against the nameless, faceless “THEY.”
Arrogant sarcastic rants that begin with:
“I love it when…” or
“Don’t you just love it when…” or
“Isn’t it funny, how…”
when no one loves it or thinks it’s funny.
So many one-sided, barricaded opinions using words like “idiots” and “crazy” and the all encompassing and overused label of “hater” to pigeonhole anyone who disagrees with that particular social media blaster on a particular issue.
not to mention the onslaught of profanity-ridden contemptuous ridicule.
and the deliberately cruel comments like the ones below after an alligator attacked a toddler at Walt Disney World within days of the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12th:
The mom in me can’t help but think “What happened in this person’s childhood and life that could result in such a complete lack of compassion and empathy? How did this particular individual’s character deteriorate to this level of having so little respect for others? Why is this person seemingly incapable of extending kindness to people who are different from them or – even worse – to people who are suffering unimaginable pain? Is this person friendly in real life? or at least civil? Would they say these terrible things to the victim’s families face to face? Or are they a consummate fraud and a coward?”
And then there are the reports of commentators “slamming” someone or shutting someone down. Interviewers “grilling” and politicians “firing back.”
This stuff is coming from BOTH sides of the issues.
Neither side holds the high ground.
Neither side truly wins if bridges aren’t being built and crossed.
Making a stronger point is pointless if the conversations remain stalemate arguments instead of open dialogs revealing common ground and leading to softened hearts, opened minds and expanded thoughts.
When explaining the reasoning behind a particular point of view in our society today, the use of the words “clearly” and “simply” is empirically wrong.
There is NOTHING clear or simple about the complex and turbulent issues we’re engulfed in.
Thankfully, I’ve come to understand that those who have the capacity to reject the labels and the stereotypes and the caricatures and LISTEN more than they talk don’t spend their discretionary time pontificating through their fingertips about the issues that threaten to permanently divide us.
And I totally get it. I’d rather mow my quarter acre, knee high, 3 week neglected, sloped backyard in the noonday heat of a Florida summer than step a foot into the mire of these issues on the internet.
Some of my personal facebook friends have unknowingly attacked me individually through a shotgun approach, railing against “idiots” whose opinions they believe are invalidated because those opinions are deemed irrelevant and wrong. I’ll never comment on one of those posts or reply to one of those comments and reveal that I have anything in common with the people my (facebook) friend can’t or doesn’t accept. That would make me and my family vulnerable to continued and/or focused attack. I’m not stupid.
(Contrary to their belief.)
Even so, I roll around the thought of asking a few of these individuals to meet with me and talk. Not to try and change their mind about whatever side of whatever issue they are committed to. I have no hopes or expectations of changing someone’s mind when they are so categorically entrenched in their commitment to a particular belief.
But still. I idealistically imagine that a face-to-face conversation would personalize the target of their attacks. And if so, would the personalizing of their target prompt them to pause before they post the next time? Is it possible that they might intentionally choose non-inflammatory and respectful language? Would they try to see from someone else’s perspective?
And most importantly, would they consider exploring the possibility of collaboration or compromise by patiently and thoroughly examining and stepping through the complex multifaceted issues instead of calling for a tunnel visioned, all encompassing mandate that barrels over anything and everything that might be a speed bump in achieving their goal?
Why do I think that more likely, they would just hide controversial posts from me after our conversation and continue as before, perpetuating the status quo?
My problem with jumping on a bandwagon is that I see so many sides to these issues. I understand that each of us have reasons for what we believe, need and want, and I can’t help but think that hearing those reasons might bridge some distance and be the first step to resolving some of the problems.
We need to consider perspectives other than our own. Because groupthink never serves anyone well.
I find it impossible to dismiss the fears and concerns of someone in order to validate my mindset or to get my way. [click to tweet]
I’ve said this before: Everybody is a #differentkindofbroken I want to #edify and #seepeople as individuals, even when they are different from me.
I’m praying for God to equip me to be not only His hands and feet in order to help in tangible ways, but also His eyes and ears and voice so as to follow His plan for me: to Love God and Love others. Even others who think and believe differently than I do.
I’m praying for people – in real life and on the internet –
to be slow to speak,
slow to anger and
quick to listen.
And I’m praying that if people can’t be kind,
that they will at least be quiet.
2 thoughts on “the most divisive word of all: “THEY””
I’m glad you’re writing and once again you get right to the heart of the matter! Thank you! You inspire me ALL. THE. TIME!!
Facebook has been SO HARD lately! I tend to view it PERSONALLY as a place to share the hilarious things my kids say, to celebrate their and my husband’s accomplishments, and to talk about the joys of redoing our kitchen. It’s not somewhere that I want to be controversial. Even my causes, like Braille literacy, are not controversial.
When the Orlando thing happened, by the time I got home from Ethan’s school it had turned into a horrible and horrid fight online about guns. I have friends and family all over the gun spectrum–from completely ANTI gun to those who belong to the NRA. And all of their opinions are the only right ones. And the fighting and bickering and name calling honestly got in the way of what happened to Pulse. I couldn’t process it, and ended up feeling nothing because I was so bombarded. 50 lives gone and I felt nothing, which is horrible.
One of my dearest friends posted something about being anti-gun and then said something in a comment about “Ask a Republican”. As much as I truly don’t get involved in political arguments, I had to post “Can we not use the word Republican as a curse word? Many of us do not feel the same way about guns”. She immediately apologized, which I appreciated, but it’s that knee-jerk reaction.
Fed up. Seriously fed up.