Quick! Everyone pick a side.
Isn’t this how the world works now?
If you’re tired of being attacked for having an opposing view from family, friends, co-workers or random strangers online raise your hand. If you’ve unfriended, blocked or reported someone in any of the categories above, raise your hand again.
This reactionary, isolationist, gather-the-troops ideology seems to have increased over the past few years and while there may be MANY blame points people can point to for causation I’d like to focus on the initial “relationship” if I may.
Who are these people/groups that have fallen out of favor with you and why? If it’s merely an online group or someone you befriended via social media without the benefit of meeting face to face lower your hand. You have the right to disengage from virtual contacts anytime you like and for no expressed reason. Cool? Good.
Now, let’s talk about the people you have axed, banned, banished or otherwise forbidden to speak to you, either in real-time or virtually. Did you like them at one time in your life? Do you have a DNA or emotional connection to them? Did they make you laugh once? Did you talk about things you have in common and express joy over having them in your life? If the answer is YES…walk back 2 steps and ask yourself what is different now.
Did they not vote for your candidate? Did they express views that personally hurt your heart? Did they post sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic memes, articles or personal opinions online or espouse these sentiments verbally to you? If so, on the last sentiment, did you voice your thoughts on this either online or in person? How did that work out?
I know in my own case it “worked” out to where I no longer speak to my brothers, sister, nieces, nephews, parents and a few former high school friends. Some, because of rigid views posted online and a sadistic need to try to argue every point with me and others because of personal pain long ignored. Do I regret how things imploded? Yes. Could I have avoided all of it? Probably not because I have no control over the actions, ill-advised or not, of others.
Deleted phone numbers, returned mail, rejected friend requests, reported posts and profiles are all part of how we, as a society, relate to one another now. Tweet it, post it, meme it up every time someone insults, disagrees with or ignores us. YOU WILL HEAR MY POINT OF VIEW!!! I WILL ASSERT MY DOMINANCE BY PISSING ALL OVER YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA BECAUSE I AM RIGHT!!!
Nah, you’re just coming off as kinda nuts…
Of course, these same people would never say the same things they post online to your face and most likely you also would not confront them in person but, fuming about it for days, weeks, months and years is somehow acceptable. Amazing huh?
Why is this a thing now? Why?
I recall a time when I liked people I met just because they took the time to talk to me. I liked them because they laughed at some of the same things I did, liked some of the same movies, books, food and we didn’t have time to compare politics, religion or socio-economic status. The only labels that mattered were FRIEND and FAMILY. I didn’t spend time worrying about those different from me because they were off living their own lives, laughing with their own friends and family like me and it was…OKAY!
Yes, I get that not everyone, different from me, had it all good at any particular point in history and I am not trying to be nostalgically “privileged.” I’m talking more generally here about what I knew because I cannot speak for anyone else. Spouting opinions just to create outrage was not something I considered nor something I actively sought to engage in.
Oh, how times have changed!
YOU are wrong! How could you believe that way? Why are you so ignorant, deluded, naive or any other assumption used to express displeasure with the knowledge that not everyone believes EXACTLY the way you do? Sounds ridiculous written out, doesn’t it?
It IS ridiculous. No one person is just like another person and to demand such is the grand height of arrogance. Get off your high horse, the poor thing needs a break! I don’t know how to fix this horrendous tear in the social fabric but I will try to change how I react to things I see posted online that I consider to be stupid, shortsighted, uneducated and reactionary. I will pause before I hit HIDE, BLOCK, REPORT.
This doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly going to be cool with racists, sexists, abusers, homophobes, xenophobes or other deliberate dividers. Odds are I will still boot you motherfuckers but as for everyone else? I will focus on the things I like/liked about you and will refuse to engage in purposeful fuckery designed to break my composer.
That’s a promise. Cross my heart. Please consider doing the same because the world needs a reset.
© 2019 L.A. Askew
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