Ladies and gentlemen, let’s all take a long, deep breath. It has been quite a few weeks and quite a few days and quite a few too many negative comments (and tweets) since November 9th. We have all been guilty of finger pointing, condescending remarks in “friends” comment sections, reposting sometimes false or at least out of context “news stories” regarding one side or the other, and painting each other with broad brushes and wearing narrow labels as a badge of honor. Just a show of hands, how many of you have unfriended, unfollowed, or at least engaged in unhealthy discourse with family or friends over politics?
I know I have and regret not being more understanding. Negativity is tiring, and frankly, I am exhausted.
We are imperfect creatures who see the world differently at times, so let us start fresh and anew. We are not liberals, conservatives, creationists, #NeverTrumpers, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Republican, Democrat, or any other label assigned to us or claim to be.
We are humans, people, women, and men, who are defined by how we treat each other and not by our occupation, income, or political affiliation. You can write this outlook off as blindly optimistic, unrealistic, or overly ideological, but the way we communicate with each other will never change until our perception of each other does.
To blame Donald Trump, surrogates such as Kellyanne Conway or Tomi Lahren, or extremists like Richard Spencer or Milo Yiannopoulos for being directly responsible for legitimizing hate-speak would be giving undeserved credit to individuals who honestly are not deserving of much.
Let us not be shortsighted and think that negativity and hate-speak are recent hot topics that never existed before the last election cycle, because the last time I checked, people haven’t been seeing eye to eye since conceivably the beginning of humanity. However, just because we disagree does not infer that we cannot coexist.
Hate or fear of “the other” is a learned trait, not an inherited one, so maybe, just maybe, we can learn to accept and understand more than we diminish and dislike.
We live in exciting and volatile times, my friends. We are the pioneers of The Information Age and, in regard to our interconnectivity, we are all Prometheus trying to harness and appreciate fire. Social media is the virtual embodiment of all of our beliefs, fears, aspirations, likes, and yes, dislikes. It can be a valuable tool that brings people together or it can be a weapon to cast aspersions and create divides. What we put into this online living organism of our ideas personified is what we all will reap. So let us all live in the present and look hopeful to the future. Let us not feed into our online tribalism and demean each other over ill-conceived labels.
Let us hate only those who choose to advance the campaign of hate.