Tuesday, August 29, 2017

"Everything That Is Wrong with Humanity Today"

Last night I learned that my wife represents "everything that is wrong with humanity today."

I had no idea! I know she isn't perfect. I'm aware she has a few flaws here and there. But, to find out she is everything that is wrong with humanity comes as a bit of a shock! There's a lot wrong with humanity; I'm just not sure how my wife is able to represent all of that.

But, I read it on the internet, so it has to be true, right?

Surprisingly, this was said about my wife, and not me, or Donald Trump, or Barack Obama, or Adam Sandler, or Taylor Swift, or that one guy from that annoying commercial that everyone hates.

There is a lot of good discourse and discussion on the internet. But, unfortunately, these discussions often go off the rails when someone disagrees or gets their feelings hurt, and it devolves into an exercise in name-calling and finger-pointing.

That's what happened last night. My wife presented a valid, well thought-out opinion on a subject. (I'll admit that I'm biased, and that I agree with her opinion.) However, a friend of a friend didn't agree. That's fine--differences in opinion happen all the time. But he almost immediately escalated it by calling her names ("stupid,") telling her to "F off," and then telling her, "You represent everything that is wrong with humanity today."

(Amazingly enough, the subject matter wasn't politics, which is what most of America finds so divisive today; it was about a health matter that concerns one of our children.)

I'd like to think this was an isolated incident, but I know it is not. In today's volatile political climate, this kind of name calling is becoming more and more prevalent. Look at the comments section of any politically-tinged story ( be it "real" or "fake" news) and you'll find it full of vitriol, intolerance, and hate.

The thing is, these people are emboldened by the anonymity of the internet. Since they can say it they do, because there are no immediate repercussions. People lose their sense of civility and common decency because they can hide behind a made-up name or a tiny profile picture. They think that because they'll probably never be in the same room with someone that they can say whatever they want with impunity. This man probably wouldn't have said those things about my wife if he had been standing in front of her in person. (And if he had, I probably would have punched him.)

I was grateful that several of my wife's friends defended her and called out the behavior of this bully, many of them doing so in a way that didn't deteriorate into name-calling. (Even though the guy was clearly behaving like a cotton-headed ninnymuggins.)

This kind of behavior has become a big problem. (You could even say it is "everything that is wrong with humanity today" if my wife hadn't already laid claim to that title.) But, it really should be pretty easy to stop. All we have to do is think before we write. Before you hit "enter," "return," or "send," think to yourself, "What would my Mom think if she saw what I have just written? What would my Dad think? What would sweet, lovable Aunt Franny think?"

And if that doesn't work you could try, "How would I react if someone said this to or about my child? Or my sister? Or my Grandma?"

It's okay to have differences of opinion. People can't even agree on something as simple as what is the best Pop-Tart flavor (even though, obviously, it's Frosted Strawberry.) But even though we don't see eye to eye, we can still be civil, can't we? If not, we're no better than the monkeys in the zoo flinging poop at each other.

4 comments:

  1. Great post! I agree with all you have said and appreciate you and your wife's sensible opinions and expressing them in a civil and adult way, unlike the insulting individual we witnessed last night on her post.

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  2. Internet is becoming a dangerous place to voice your opinion. So much bullying and name calling... I am sorry your wife had to deal with this.

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