I don't know if anyone's been following their social media traffic over the past several weeks-- their Facebook feeds, their Twitter feeds, and the like-- but I notice an unusually high amount of judgement. Have you noticed this?
Here's what I mean, and these aren't exact words-- then again, they kinda are. And they're always accompanied by a link or a meme or something:
"So you're upset about Cecil the Lion, but not about ______"
"How is Caitlyn Jenner some courageous figure as opposed to (some other hero)"
"Black lives matter vs. all lives matter vs. blue lives matter vs. etc."
"If you respect this flag, then respect THIS flag"
And a whole lot of other similar things about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Tom Brady, A-Rod, and many, many others!
So I have a question. When did we begin to judge ourselves and others by comparing notions about popular culture and issues of the day? I mean, we've always had opinions. We've always been in a society where disagreement is celebrated and where we have a robust exchange of ideas.
But when condensed and packaged into the framework of social media, into short bites and snippets, these expressions of disagreement turn into "I'm better than you because I believe the way I do. And you don't." There's smack talk and absolutes and trolling and all that. And some of that is typical to any sort of discourse. But is the intensity of it so typical?
Check out a day's worth of tweets or posts or whatever you want and let me know what you think! Because what I see is this.
Social media offers the opportunity to allow everyone to become a commentator and a pundit. And I think that's cool. But I've also seen a lot recently in which social media is being used as a bludgeon, so someone can tell their friends or followers what's up, and that if they disagree, they're stupid. That's not something I think most of us would do in real life. And in that light, we shouldn't engage in such behavior when we get behind a keyboard.
Bottom line is, none of us have a monopoly on wisdom and grace in this world. We all have feet of clay. But that also doesn't establish license to use those clay feet to kick the backsides of anyone with whom we disagree.
I hear there's something of local importance going on Friday morning. Something in Howard County government? For the life of me, I can't remember what it is? I'm sure I'll remember sometime or other.
Let's be careful out there.