On media, and its consumption…

I found myself saying this on Twitter earlier:

I fully realize that this likely sounds sanctimonious. I also can’t help that likelihood.

Maybe it’s my small-town upbringing. Maybe I’m trying to maintain some sense of idealism in a world that no longer allows it. I’m not sure. What I am sure of is this:

We are a bitter people these days. We are more insular. More sarcastic. More intolerant — under the guise, ironically, of being more tolerant.

We seek to shut down speech with which we don’t agree. We shout down others — even our best friends, in some cases — when they don’t share our views. The arena of discourse and respectful disagreement has been replaced by the back alley of cursing, threats and insults.

Our political and societal beliefs are no longer the bedrock on which we exist. They are the jerseys we wear in public, reduced to a foam (usually middle) finger with our “team’s” logo. Gone are the days of “think globally, act locally”, replaced with the exact opposite, as we seek to make our own personal foundation the global policy by which everyone must operate.

Two states, including the one in which I live, just concluded special elections for seats to the House of Representatives. After months of endless coverage, primary voting, finger-pointing, mailbox-polluting ad flyers and all of it, we finally made it through…only for it all to start all over again as we ramp up to the next round of elections in 2018.

To borrow a phrase I often see on Twitter — another product, by the way, of the 24-hour news cycle — I can’t even.

Here are some absolutes — in my book, anyway:

The First Amendment exists to protect the speech with which you agree. It especially exists to protect the speech with which you don’t agree.

Agreement is not — or shouldn’t be, anyway — required. Life in an echo chamber, quite frankly, sucks.

Raise your argument, not your voice.

Freedom is hard. Liberty is hard. Finding your own voice is hard. Allowing others to have their own voice is hard. Every damned one of those pursuits, though, is more than worth it.

Extend a hand, not a finger.

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