I wish more Americans would take time to consider their social status updates, posts and tweets before they click submit. I wish more Americans would take time to consider the simple actions of sharing, liking, or commenting on a post before completing them. I wish more Americans would stop producing and encouraging hate.
We are entering another heated political season which ends with a new leader of our great (most of the time) nation for the next four to eight years. This also means that we are headed knee deep into media coverage of the candidates every move, slanderous campaign ads, and a never ending flow of politically charged social spam.
We live in a pretty unique point in time, where it has never been easier to share your thoughts and speak out against what you feel is unjust. Where you can monitor the campaign trail of your favorite candidate while flying in a plane over the Atlantic Ocean.
Unfortunately, we also live in a time where your privacy is completely and utterly gone. If someone wants to steal your identity, chances are they will be able to get what they are after. If someone feels that you did something unjust, they join the internet elite in condemning you. Some take it to the next level and post your personal contact information for the world to take part in the public shaming.
You know, because someone who makes a mistake and posts publicly a potentially offensive tweet deserves to be fired from her job, blacklisted from her profession and receive death threats for months.
Or a dentist who loves the hunt, hires a hunting guide in Zimbabwe to take him on a hunt of a lifetime, to catch a lion. Only, he happens to bag a lion that supposedly is famous (I never heard of him before) on what might be private land that should not have been hunted on. Last I checked however, he wasn’t arrested by Zimbabwe authorities nor broken any laws here in the States with regards to the hunt, yet his practice had been shutdown and he is the target of a good deal of public shaming and death threats.
Taking a step back though, what about the passionate person who advocates for, say, abortion rights for women. Saying that this topic is a hot one I think completely underestimates the heated discussions it stirs. This person has had the unfortunate experience to witness ‘back alley’ abortions during the 60s and 70s as an EMT, responding to situations when they went horribly wrong. Those sort of experiences shape you as a person, what you believe, what you feel, and ultimately how you respond to others around you.
This same person, feels so strongly from those experiences that they believe abortion should be legal and made this comment on a Facebook post of a friend of mine:
I grew up in an age when abortion was illegal, and all of the holier than thou religious perverts had the laws the way they wanted them. The cost in human suffereing was horrific. Working EMS in the early 70's, I had the opportunity to see first hand the cost those oppressive laws had on women. I also did part of my training in an abortion clinic and got to see that side of it first hand as well.
As far as I’m concerned, anyone who is anti abortion is a sadistic pervert, who gets off on the suffering their self righteousness causes. IMO, they are worse than pedophiles and worse than deadbeat fathers, and worse than mothers who abuse their children. Theyt are disgusting, they are deplorable, they are worthless, a total waste of the natural resources that are required to keep them alive..
Regardless of ones position on the topic, this is when I get concerned. I become concerned because all I see is hatred. I would like to believe this Facebook ‘friend of a friend’ wouldn’t actually commit violence against someone with differing beliefs, but who can know for sure. I confronted him and said that his comment was pretty extreme and presented a message of hate. That messages like that spur hatred and terrorism. I asked him why he was so hateful and if he would commit acts of violence against someone for their beliefs. His response, of course not.
Yet, he never considered how youth around him might perceive his message if they respected him, they looked up to him for his wisdom. They wouldn’t understand the source of his anger or appreciate the conditions that he witnessed 40 years ago. All they will learn is that religious people who think abortion is bad are sadistic perverts and do not deserve life. This is the spawn of blind hatred and simple things like this are what result in catastrophic acts of violence.
Sure, maybe no one is ever harmed inspired by this man’s words, but what if someone was? Or what if someone of major influence or power uttered similar words. I know one example in history that resulted in the slaughter of millions of people because they were different. All it takes is an audience.