From a Facebook post this morning:
I am about to go on a rant. I don’t do rants with any regularity, so if I rant, I’m at the end of my rope. (If you hate rants, move on, that’s perfectly OK. I am not fond of them either.)
I am tired of the hate. It has worn me down. You might say that the hate since the George Floyd murder is what precipitated this, but it goes further back, and deeper.
The post above came across my desk. I marked out all the names so no one will be embarrassed. Take a close look at it. The original post was made without comment, good or bad. I have no idea what their point was. It just was.
Then you see the response ” Where’s your messiah now?” Pretty ugly and uncalled for. It’s extra provocative if you know anything about the last days of Christ in the Christian faith. Provocation for provocation’s sake.
Normally I just let those things go. I am used to people on both sides of the political and religious divide being mean and using the internet as a place to lash out. It has become commonplace. Some of them are just angry. Some just like to stir the pot. In all my years on the internet (and I go back to dial-up and 3200 baud modems, in other words from the very beginning. I have never seen that sort of lashing out and the resulting back and forth ever make a difference.
So normally I just leave them alone. Life is too precious to waste.
But I also read the response and I respected it. That first comment WAS mean spirited, and there is far too much of it out there. And I decided that just this once, I would respond.
I wanted to respond in a way that was true to who I am and true to my faith. In other words, I wanted to be respectful of a belief I do not hold, because I believe in that. I wanted to actually give an answer rather than lash out. And I wanted to stand up for a faith I believe in deeply. I think, mostly, I did OK.
But of course, there were others after me, lashing out that there were no answers give just vitriol.I am not surprised. You put an opinion out on Facebook, and you will get comments that are good and bad. THat’s the nature of the beast.
But something just kicked in. I hit a wall. You want peace? Act in peace. Respond in peace. Try to be kind. You can disagree all you like. In fact, I have friends all over the political and religious spectrum who I love and respect and can discuss differences without a mean, cutting or disrespectful word. It is far easier than you might think. It only takes a tiny bit of self-control and kindness.
But that is not our world these days. Lashing out. Anger. Disrespect is the norm now. We hardly even notice it. And that kind of anger and disrespect does something else.
It cows people. It drives good people out of the discussion. So many of us (I am one) don’t join the conversation when often, they have good and important things to say. Why stand your ground when you are going to be attacked all the time? Most of us don’t. We just avoid it, when a real conversation is a thing worth happening.
People full of anger and meanness know this. They don’t seem to mind the anger thrown their way, and they know people of peace and kindness will often avoid the discussion when it risks becoming mean and personal. It is not a way to have a discussion. It is a way to suppress conversation.
I am done with that. I am going to be more expressive of what I think when I see something or someone being maligned. Love, peace, and kindness need as strong a voice as anger, prejudice, and meanness.
Off my soapbox. You may cut me off if you like. Or spread the word if you like. Most people are good. Most people are kind. It’s time to act like it and scream love as loud as the haters.