Elections do, in fact, bring out the worst in people in ways I could not have imagined. So, here it is… my token post about the election. I have been sitting here for days wondering if I should even create a post about the election… or, at least, related to the election. Everyone else and their brother seems to have an opinion, so why not me, I thought. What kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t post something about current events?
Full disclosure… this post has been edited and the original paragraph, occupying this paragraph’s space, was removed. After some very valuable feedback from three people, whom I trust about such matters, I decided to remove it because it tainted the spirit of the article. Now, back to your regularly-scheduled post…
I think the issue, surrounding the election of the President of the United States is deeper than simply bringing dignity back to the Presidency. This is a pretty tired subject, but with the advent of social media, people have gotten more than a few free passes with being jerks themselves.
Here’s a funny quote about how I feel about the whole thing:
There, I said it. I miss the days when, if you wanted to say something nasty to someone, you had to do it to their face or, at least, over the phone. Sure, you could also say something bad about someone behind their back, but there was still a little doubt about something having gotten lost in translation. It wasn’t as direct. Facebook takes that last sentiment to a whole new level. What’s worse is some people keep others on their friend list for the sole purpose of arguing with them. I can’t imagine this is healthy.
Now, with the assistance of social media, you can say something directly, without having to look into someone’s eyes to do it or, immediately, face their wrath. They might not even see it until the next time they log in, which could be days. By then, at least, some damage has already been done and they weren’t even there to defend themselves.
Elections do, in fact, bring out the worst in people. Over the last few months, I have noticed a few things on my Facebook feed. Some people I’m friends with are just jerks when they think they know better… or even when they don’t know better. Some of my friends are uninformed and are ignorant on purpose. Some of my friends just like to stir the pot. Some have no trouble hiding their hate. Some have chosen to show their love. The minority are very well informed and produce posts that one can actually learn from. Still, others are well informed, but have trouble hiding their hate. Since this post will, likely, end up on my Facebook feed, I’ll let you decide which group you belong to.
As for me, I chose to be part of the “love” group with a smattering of participating in well informed posts without engaging too much. Maybe that is the easy way out. It could be that I know God has a plan and he will use anyone he deems necessary to accomplish that plan.
I have a hard time believing that platforms, like Facebook, initially intended their platforms to be used for such divisive purposes as many people do today. Nevertheless, they have created this beast and now have to manage it or else give up massive profits. I’ve seen recent posts about boycotting Facebook in favor of Parler. This seems to be under the guise of “free speech” and no threat of censorship. On the surface, this seems like it might be good, but after some thought, I think this has the potential for being exactly the opposite. Now, people can really speak what they are thinking and not even have to worry about going to “Facebook Jail.”
My plea is this… just show love, people! Try to really imagine that you are looking into the eyes of the person you are “posting to.” Do you not even care that your words have weight anymore? I’m not one to judge people by what they say. I’m more of a “judge by their actions” kind of guy. That being said, it’s kind of hard when my only tool is writing to people I haven’t actually laid eyes on in years. Also, I hope this sentiment reaches some of my friends who have gone the “darker” route on social media.
Just to be clear, I consider everyone on my Facebook friend list a genuine friend for some reason or another. Maybe, I knew you when I was still in single digits… maybe, you’re married to someone I knew in single digits… maybe, we have been lifelong friends and have never lost touch… maybe, I haven’t laid eyes on you since high school or middle school or longer… maybe you were a teacher of mine… maybe I was your teacher, in some capacity… maybe, we played sports together or against one another. Maybe you’re a fraternity brother or lodge brother or coworker.
The point is, I consider you my friend and you are on my friend list for a reason. As a friend, I am asking you to be nice. Don’t be fake, but understand that you can, almost always, get your point across without being mean or disrespectful. If you can’t, then maybe you should just keep it to yourself until you can figure it out.
I hope that my social media legacy is that of a person who tried to bring people together and say nice things… or, at least, say things in a nice and well-informed way. I hope you do the same. Now is the time for us to truly come together and figure out how to be decent again. Love y’all!