I think I'm losing hope in the human race.
Lately it seems not a day goes by where I don't think to myself several times a day, "What the f@ck is wrong with people?!"
As of late, it's the abundance of political related posts on social media sites such as Facebook and how profound an impact it is having on some people. Not in the sense that it's stimulating intellectual discourse either. I can't help but wonder if those who post their opinions expected some of the reactions of their friends or friends of friends. The rants and blatant nastiness is shocking! Who raised these people? Have they procreated? I'm scared for our future if they did!
It seems to me it's been a great vehicle to unleash the 'dark' side of some people. Perhaps it's in how they choose their words in a post or re-post or in how they reply to someone else's post. It seems that somehow, social media provides a level of perceived 'safety' and distance where people feel comfortable being downright nasty and disrespectful to someone they consider a 'friend'. Or worse, to someone they don't even know who is a friend of their friend! Would they have the vaginas (because balls are dangly and weak, vaginas are strong) to say the same thing to someone's face? To engage in that conversation over dinner, at a party or in some other face to face social situation?
I suspect they'd be far less likely to stand on their very high and mighty soap box and dictate not only their personal beliefs, but be hurtful, hateful and disrespectful to someone else's equally personal beliefs and feelings to someone's face. What he hell is wrong with people?
I'm all for discussion. Differences of opinion and engaging in respectful dialogue about them provides us with tremendous opportunities to learn and grow. It can also teach us the value of holding our tongue and how to be respectful, even when we disagree. It's the art of conversation. Banter. Friendly and respectful banter. Who gave any of us the right to say we are right and everyone else who disagrees with us is wrong? Are you Hitler? No one likes a egomaniac dictator.
In our neighborhood and town, it's expanded to the stealing of political signs from private property. By adults! Seriously? How will our kids every have a chance if the adults are behaving like this?! We have a right to freedom of speech not to theft, defacement and slander.
Is the fact someone simply disagrees with us grounds for stealing/destroying their stuff or un-friending them?! Is that really a solution? Seems like bullying to me. It begs the question were they really a friend to begin with? Because if I'm your friend, and you decide you don't want to be my friend anymore because I disagree with you about a political candidate, how to raise my kids or anything else for that matter, I really need to think about the definition of friend and choose more carefully...
Let's also consider why we are using social media sites like Facebook in the first place. If someone says something you don't like or agree with, you have 3 choices. Ignore it. Reply, respectfully and engage in an open and informative discussion. Or tear them apart, throwing respect and tolerance to the wind. Remember the Golden Rule? Do unto others...
If your feelings are that hurt that you need to un-friend someone (or take their stuff) because of their comments, opinion or lack thereof, I ask you, how is YOUR self-confidence? What do YOU need to work on? Because you are the only one in control of your reactions. It's not them. It's you. Sure, maybe they were disrespectful. Maybe they disagree with you. But there is a high road and a low road. We choose how we react. Always. No one to blame but ourselves for our behavior. Stop and listen to yourself. Watch yourself in the mirror. Aren't you doing exactly what you dislike in the other person? There is a word for you. Bully.
Maybe un-friending someone is the answer. Maybe it's not. If it's all negative energy, sure, I can see the potential gain. But have the vagina to tell them you are choosing to sever the 'relationship' and why. Don't be a coward and do it on the sly and then smugly announce to your remaining friends how lucky they are you still like them! How childish can adults be? Apparently more so than most children I know!
Then there is the whole concept of 'hiding' people, their posts or having groups they post certain info to. Really? Maybe I'm in the minority, but I am who I am. Either you like ALL of me or not. The practice of secretly un-friending people boggles my mind. Are we a nation of cowards?
Maybe if our 'friends' were really our friends these 'incidents' wouldn't happen because the dialogue would be respectful and without judgement. Who the hell has 600+ REAL friends anyway? I have maybe 10. Many more friendly acquaintances, but that's different.
Granted, certain people are energy vampires. They suck the life and energy out of you. They thrive on conflict, on getting the last word on seeing other people get unraveled. Only because you let them. Simply refuse to stoop to that level.
I find Facebook is a nice place to keep in touch with friends and family. Both those who are close and those who are more acquaintances I have no 'friends' who I don't trust. I use my privacy settings. I don't post anything I wouldn't say to someone's face. I know not everyone has interest in what I post. I know many probably ignore much of what I post. That's fine. I don't read everyone else's every post either. I see many things I have no interest in or disagree with. I may or may not comment. I think no less of the person for having a different point of view. We have free will. All of us. It's awesome!
That said, I do hope my friends actually read at least some of what I write and take an interest in it. I don't expect everyone to. I do think it's a great way to get to *really* know someone. Both in what they post and how they respond, if at all. Think about it. What do you use Facebook, G+, Twitter or other social media platforms for? Nonsense posts? Do you complain all the time? Are you bragging about yourself or your kids? What's your profile picture of? Yourself? Your kid? An avatar? Something else? Do you post info for a cause? Are your posts only about one subject, say, political? Do you simply forward other people's posts and pictures and never offer an original thought, explanation or consideration of how that person might feel about their photo or post being shared? Do you post resources? Something wonderful to share like a recipe, pearl of wisdom or educational link? Do you read what others write and comment or are you a habitual 'liker'. Do you lurk but never comment? Why?
What social media has taught me is that people seem to think it's OK to treat people in ways they likely never would to their face. It's really a sad commentary on the direction our society is going in. As a parent, I can't help but wonder how will we teach our kids the art of conversation AND social media etiquette when so many other parents don't know how?
While I'll be glad when this election is over, I'll be far more interested in society getting back to traditional values. You know. Reading. Writing. Arithmetic. Social graces. Respect. Tolerance. Coexistence.
We all share the same planet. We are all human. No one of us is better than another. We're in it together. If we can't learn to work and play together while respecting our differences, it's gonna bite us in the collective planetary ass eventually. We are the beginning of our own end.
I hope we choose wisely.