|Photo by K Whiteford|
These last couple of months have been rough. Being on social media exposes us to some really wonderful things -- heartwarming stories, cute animal videos, pictures of our relatives and friends, engagement/pregnancy announcements, opportunities to pray for specific needs, informative articles, etc. As a writer/writing coach, I always enjoy reading about my friends' publishing news. I would really miss all of the above if I were to quit Facebook.
But there's another side, a darker side, that I wish I could somehow avoid altogether. It's the nasty side... a sort of social media civil war where friends and family members attack each other by posting memes and quotes and news articles that are, at their very core, mean-spirited and demeaning.
I.am.so.tired.of it. I'm tired of the passive-aggressive posts and the fully aggressive ones. I'm tired of the right wing attacking the left wing and the left wing attacking the right wing. I'm weary from the battle.
Caught in between, I feel like the state of Maryland. I try to understand both sides of the debates and feel I could carry on an intelligent and compassionate discussion with either side. However, I'm afraid I am in the minority here. While people are cyber-screaming at each other, I just want to cover my eyes and wish it away.
The news is bad enough without all of us fighting within our ranks. What is wrong with people?? We're better than this.
Remember the saying, "United we stand. Divided we fall."? I fear we're on our way to crashing down, severing relationships in the wake. Some of these relationships are important to us... family members, old friends, colleagues. Others are dispensable, I guess. Not all that important. Just profiles that add to our bulging friends' list.
But I have to ask: do you really hate each other so much? So what if your views on politics differ? So what if your side of the Syrian refugee crisis is the opposite of your brother's? So what if you're passionate about gun control while your best friend from high school supports Second Amendment Rights? So what?
Are you forgetting that one of the things that has made this country great is our diversity?? Diversity means we are not clones. We look different. We talk different. And, God forbid, we think differently. It's what makes us human. And American. We don't have a dictator forcing us to believe and dress and act the same. We're free.
Free to believe in global warming. Or not. Free to breastfeed our babies. Or not. Free to value the life of the unborn. Or not. Free to believe in God. Or not. But if you hang out on Facebook long enough, you'll start to question those freedoms. And I, for one, am sick of it.
There you have it. That's how I'm feeling lately. I'm depressed. I'm angry. I'm just so, so sad. Maybe, just maybe, one or two of you will read this and temper your posts with a bit of kindness and understanding.
Let me tell you a secret: people's minds are never changed when they're being yelled at or demeaned. Want to win people to "your" side? Try listening to others' opinions without treating them like they're morons. They just might return the favor and consider your points as well. Just a thought.