The vileness, the evil, the anger, and the hostility that drips from the very fingertips of commenters on any and every news story you can find across all media platforms are haunting pictures of a society that I dread for those two little angels that are lying in their beds under our roof right now.
Tomorrow is my little girl’s birthday. Tomorrow morning I will wake up and I will have a 7 year old little boy and a 5 year old little girl. They are beautiful. I was just watching them sleep. I stood there and looked at them to feel a sense of joy because the later portion of this day only left me with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.
That’s probably not where anyone thought that sentence would go. It’s certainly not where I expected this day to go. This was a wonderful morning with cool weather, happy kiddos, and a productive period of work. However, as the day went on I began seeing stories pop up on my newsfeeds about what is going on with the Supreme Court Nominee hearings. I started seeing televisions tuned into news coverage as I walked past offices and grabbed a bottle of water at a corner store.
The political process is nothing new to me. I graduated with a major in Economics and a minor in Political Science with every intention of entering the political realm as quickly as I could. I was involved in local and state politics as a college student, made several connections that have turned out to be very powerful and that would have paid off in the long run, and even had a staffer for a local congressman planning out how I would enter the political scene to accelerate my career. It was fun, and exciting, and exhilarating. But there was one thing that never sat right with me.
I attended a small, Christian based college in my hometown. The classes were small and most students shared similar backgrounds. I’ve always been a person that was an easy conversationalist and quick to make friends so I fit in pretty quickly with many aspects of the university. Most of the people in my political based classes were people that I considered my friends. The semesters all started out enjoyable enough with lively discussion and debate. However, I begun to sour on the worldview of the political realm as we delved deeper into each class over the course of the semester. The conversations became more pointed, more vile. The references were no longer used with the intention of backing up a statement or proving a point, but rather were used as barbs that did little more than anger the opposition. Conversations became rare, arguments centered around agendas became the norm.
I began to realize I wasn’t cut out for anything political because I didn’t handle the inability to talk, discuss, and come to a consensus well. If you weren’t prepared to defend yourself and your view with sword in hand and a far sharper tongue then you weren’t going to survive. It wasn’t about figuring out what was best, it was about winning and not losing at all costs. And this was at a conservative Christian based university…I’ve made many naïve decisions in my life, but at least I was coherent enough to make that decision early.
All that is to say that the anger, divisions, and issues of the political elite are not something that I haven’t been exposed to through some medium in the past. So to turn on the television and see career politicians tearing each other to shreds is not typically something that phases me. It still hasn’t phased me. The reason that I’m sick is because of one very silly decision I made that I always swear I will never do again until the next time I do it…I read the comments on news stories.
Of all the good social media has done, it has done one very large injustice: it has given a platform for the far fringes of belief systems and political structures to voice their opinion in a manner that makes their opinion and voice seem far more prevalent than it actually is. There may be one person in the world that holds a viewpoint, but if they read and comment on the article before anyone else then their comment will be the first thing people see. Instead of ignoring such an awful statement and move on there are always people that seek to refute the original statement with as much hatred as the initial statement was typed. Before long you have a message board full of name calling, insinuations, and stereotyping all in the name of being right. At least I hope to God that is the case because I honestly am not sure what the coming future looks like otherwise.
The vileness, the evil, the anger, and the hostility that drips from the very fingertips of commenters on any and every news story you can find across all media platforms are haunting pictures of a society that I dread for those two little angels that are lying in their beds under our roof right now. Maybe it has such a dramatic impact on me because what some people are willing to put into words is my polar opposite. My blog is titled To Encourage and Inspire and I mean that with every ounce of who I am. If you haven’t I would encourage you to go back and read my “Letter to You” on my main page to find out exactly who I am and why I do what I do through this blog and learn why my heart is so saddened by what some are willing to type.
I worry because, so often, the portion of the people fall in the middle tend to be silent. I know the mistrust and the anger comes from those to the left and to the right of me and even from those nearer to my political views that I may realize, but the most difficult part of the situation is that we can’t tell how many of those like us there truly are. I don’t mean those that believe exactly as we do in politics or religion or opinions, but in terms of love and respect and kindness. It is my honest and genuine prayer that what I read comes from such a tiny fragment of society that, if I were to truly see the full scope and understand the true numbers, those spreading such hatred would be such a tiny percentage that it is only through a social media platform that they could ever be heard. It is my hope that there is a nation of millions and millions who, like me, are looking to be kind to those around them, looking to raise their families and live their lives and spread and share joy; that kindness and decency still hold true.
I lay awake and fear for society because it seems like the only voices I hear are not voices of growth-which doesn’t always share kindness but is always looking toward improvement-but are voices of anger. Anger at a people, anger at a system, anger at a society or a group or a nation.
So I raise my voice in the way that I know best. I write. I pour my heart out in gut wrenching emotion to say that even though all my soul wants to do is nothing more than to withdraw and protect itself I will continue to find ways to Encourage and Inspire.
I will keep smiling at the person that makes my coffee.
I will keep making conversation with the person in line at the grocery store.
I will keep holding the door for the person who has their hands full.
I will keep pushing a stalled car out of the road.
I will keep giving generously when I see a need.
I will keep putting my arm around my hurting friend.
I will keep hoping for good in your life even if we don’t agree.
I will keep loving you, even if you don’t know who I am.
I hope you will join me. I know this blog may not go far. My audience is small. But even if this only reaches 10 people and we all go out and try to impact the world with our smiles, with our actions, and with our hearts who is to say that a handful of people can’t change the world by starting a ripple of hope. You aren’t alone. I’m not alone.