There’s too little civilized discourse these days, and too much heated rhetoric. Any chance to understand people who hold different beliefs is overwhelmed by insults and comments meant to demean. And social media have become the new vehicle for this kind of derision.
Perhaps this began with the example set by hot-talk media, and by “hot talk” I don’t mean phone sex. Fox is the worst for this–that strident, negative, partisan and belittling commentary, and so is right-wing radio, which specializes in “Hot Talk.” The pretense is “debate” but debate is intellectual, logical and conducted with courtesy. Not so with today’s differences of opinion, which is all about vilification of those who hold opposing views. And once mainstream media outlets turned to the internet, comment sections became rife with invective, sometimes anonymous and sometimes not.
It’s nasty. Impolite. Uncivilized.
Now social media have become the newest outlet for this kind of derogation, with “friends” and “followers” feeling free to castigate others–even on those others’ “pages”.
I wear my politics and my opinions openly, and do my best to couch them respectfully. I can’t think of a time I’ve ever insulted another’s opinion in a comment. There are times when I’ll make a strong statement about a political or social situation, usually because I believe it and sometimes because I am trying to provoke a discussion. Sometimes, both. But sometimes I’ve have regretted that provocation when I find that friends I respect hold opinions that simply do not face (my) test of logic. Or empathy. Or worse, they insult me or my opinions on my own social media account.
I do not make a habit of calling names, insulting or otherwise marginalizing those who hold opinions different from mine. I can’t say that’s been true of people who make comments here or on my social media.
Last year I deleted a mean-spirited (toward me) social media comment from a very smart friend only to be accused of censorship. Made me laugh. Censorship? Not hardly!
Social media and blogs are not the “fourth estate” of journalism. There is no obligation to allow a free-for-all and certainly not insulting comments on privately owned pages. We own our own social media pages (and blogs) and we decide what content we want to add or even retain.
Incredulous laughter is also the way I usually respond to people who say supercilious and belittling things like ” I thought you were smarter than that.” Seriously? Get over yourself! If you’re a friend of mine surprised at any opinion I hold, then clearly you don’t know me very well at all.
I’ve never had any problem with people holding opinions that differ from mine, but I come at it differently–from trying to understand these differences. I try my best to understand the attitude and where it might be coming from. I’d never purposely insult, marginalize or revile someone in public or private.
Disagreement is not license to insult or demean others. So if you’re going to post on my page, post with respect. Because I delete anything on my page that I think is inappropriate.
Someone once threatened to de-friend me if I deleted their insulting comments on one of my posts. Seriously? You post something mean-spirited and insulting on MY social media page and believe that it needs to remain?
Hey, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.