“A reckless trillions of dollars a year spender and a supporter of homosexual marriage taking the country down morally and spirtually President.”
“Poor Republicans, going the way of the dodo bird…Can’t say we’ll miss you guys, Good riddance.”
“King Obama has outlined his ideas for America -Jobs of course are not part of the plan.”
“Lets see, over 500 Filibusters and counting, think anything can be done, if the Racist GOP would have just passed the jobs bill and at least half of the others, this country would be in good shap…”
And that’s just in the first page of comments. I can go to almost any article — except, perhaps, the notice of Huell Howser’s death — and find someone hating. Our society seems to be consumed with the goal of saying something bad about the other side. The Internet has amplified the voices. Anyone can seemingly post anything, anonymously, in response to anything and then run away. There’s no longer any responsibility for what you say. You can be an anonymous bully.
I even see this attitude from people I know can think and think well. You get into certain areas, and “click” — off goes the brain. You name the area — politics, Congress, gun control, women’s rights, unions. It’s all that they are bad and I am right. We’ve lost the ability to understand the other side’s point of view. We’ve lost the ability to recognize that all sides in a discussion may have grains of truth and fears driving them. More importantly, we’ve lost the ability to address those fears and concerns, and to recognize what true compromise is. Compromise is not “my way or the highway”, despite what both parties think. Compromise is finding a middle ground; finding that solution where you gain some and you lose some. Compromise is finding a solution that you don’t like, but you can barely live with. Each solution where all sides give a little and all side get a little moves us solely, inexorably, to a better place.
I’m not saying this as someone without blame. I look back on how I behaved when Bush was President, and I’ll admit I didn’t behave well. Calling someone a village idiot is not the right way to behave. We can all learn to be better (even us old dogs like me).
So, in honor of the inauguration, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and in honor of my birthday, I ask you to drop the hating. Don’t make fun or denigrate that which you oppose just because it’s fun, because it’s your persona, or because it’s easy. Take time to learn — understand the other side of an issue and speak from a position of facts not “Internet truth” (Remember: just because you read something on the Internet — or see a picture or quote on Facebook — doesn’t make it true. Abraham Lincoln once said that.). Don’t feel that you must get the last word in. Your goal in a discussion is to understand the other side, and for them to understand you–not for them to agree with you. And most importantly, be reasonable, not hot-headed. The Internet aggravates our tendency for speaking in anger (or hearing anger in speech). Go out of your way to be nice, and find the middle ground.
That is my wish.