I need to learn not to go to Facebook before bed because, boy howdy, it’s like a mine field these days. I get all worked up and then I can’t sleep. It’s an election year and, for me, it’s the worst one that I can remember. The climate in America is super-charged with hate. It feels like everyone took their crazy pills, and it’s getting worse. There is so much hate and rage and ignorance just flung about, especially on social networking sites.
Here’s the thing, I’m fine with my friends and relations having a different opinion than I do, as long as they have come to that opinion rationally. Even if I think that they are wrong, if they gave the issue some thought and came to their own conclusion, so be it. What I can’t stand is when I see people blindly following and, even worse, spreading propaganda out of ignorance because they are following the herd. I have a very diverse group of “friends” on Facebook, ranging from devout conservative Christians to gay liberal atheists and I try to see both sides of the debates that I am coming across. But I keep seeing all of these extremist posts show up in my feed that often don’t even make sense.
For example, here is an excerpt from an even larger post that was attached to a picture that was “shared” by someone I know. (Curse the share button!) “This Is The Most Important Election Of Our Lifetime! It Is A Very Clear Choice Between GOOD And EVIL. Your FREEDOM Is At Stake! This Election Is About ONE NATION UNDER GOD vs One Nation Under Allah.”
What exactly is that supposed to mean? Look at the word choice. How are “Good” and “Evil” supposed to be defined here, and who decides those things? I mean, really, “evil”? We are seriously labeling one of the candidates as evil? Words have meaning, people. Words have weight and consequence. (And for the love of god, please stop comparing everyone and everything to Hitler and the nazis!)
It is so easy to share every ridiculous thought in our heads, and thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. we live in a culture that encourages sharing. There is such a sense of entitlement. We are taught that we deserve to have our opinions heard, no matter how mundane. The problem is that we are so inundated with words that we get numb to them. There are so many words surrounding us that they get drowned out and lose their meaning. But that is wrong. Words should mean even more because they are all around us. When you throw out words like “hate” and “evil” they should feel as extreme to use as they were intended to mean. In an age where our only connection in most cases are simply words on a screen, those words mean everything.
Especially in this super-charged election climate where so many voices are screaming, we need to be all the more careful about what we choose to release into the world. We need to be responsible for the words we use because they are going to reach somebody. Now is not the time to spread hate mongering and rage. Now is the time for diplomacy and tact. And most of all, now is the time for reason. Think before you speak. Re-read your statement before you sit send. Stop using words as a weapon and start using them as a tool. Please understand that every time you hit “share” you are responsible for spreading that message, so you better be certain that it is a message worth spreading.