Have you ever been called an insulting name, blocked, kicked off Facebook, or Twitter? Do you have a collection of choice insults that have been hurled at you? I do! Have you been “doxxed?” Doxxing occurs when a person is stalked on the internet and their identification is put in the public domain in order to put them in a position of weakness. It has happened to me; in fact, I have even had my life threatened.
Sometimes it hurts your feelings, scares you, or just chaps your behind. I have to say that I have developed a pretty thick skin. Now, I usually end up laughing and sharing these posts with my posse, and as we cackle about it, however, I am quietly doing a perimeter check.
People are purposely trying to rile folks up, and it’s working. It’s working because we continually choose to respond and act, instead of ignoring them. I have been developing a simple protocol for myself: I assess and respond either by my silence, or I carefully stay factual with my words. I ask myself three things: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? However, just because it is necessary, does not mean we need to be ugly about it. I will say…there are those who are “triggered by my boundaries” and are abusive. I opt out of those conversations. That’s when I press “block.”
At first, I thought that it was intense because of the upcoming election. However, the level of this intensity is still growing. Insults have begun to be artfully perpetrated with an extra sense of self-satisfaction. I am just tired of the constant sarcasm. There are posts and memes that are so harsh and have such darkness about them that it seems we have little room to just scroll along and take a break from the day.
Gone are the days when I go online to relax. Now, I am going to weed the garden. I am picking up a fretless base to lose myself in sound. I spend more time with my animals, and I am taking longer showers. What are you doing to counter this stressful war zone?
Have you noticed that there are buzz words and trending insults? There is almost an addictive quality to this bullying. In the not too distant past, “Conservative” and “Liberal” were NOT insults. This discourse has devolved to the present, where “Moderate” is an insult on both sides. Who doesn’t know what “the narrative” means?
Where will this lead next?
I believe we are about to find out. I believe this is, in part, what Saul Alinsky, wanted for the devolution and breakdown of our social and political structure, in order to build a Marxist, Communist country in America. Just look at his 1971 book, “Rules for Radicals.” We are reacting just the way he hoped and wanted. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and ANTIFA were some of his students. Social Justice Warriors are taught to verbally assault and push buttons. We have a choice to participate in a given Echo Chamber or to close it down.
In addition, our friendly fire is huge and accurate. The Sacred Cow of Conservatives is OUR OWN BEHAVIOR. It is just a side effect of this Echo Chamber phenomenon. Just go on Facebook or Twitter…people are proud of upsetting others… they brag about it. What I notice, when talking with some Conservatives, is that they can be as rude and ugly as anyone else! I was told I had a good imagination, and that this really wasn't happening among our own group. He, of course, was Conservative.
By all means, let’s go find anyone who thinks differently and vent and stop listening while we are at it. Forget the concept of just talking. If they are a “Liberal” it somehow gives free license to behave in an un-Christian and sometimes cruel way. Because they are “wrong,” it is somehow ok to justify our own ugly behavior. Is this a method of witnessing?
To be clear, I recognize that there are those on the left that have no intention of wanting a resolution, and they have no desire to have a conversation. I also know there are those who have and those who can change their minds. I did. I voted for Barack Obama the first time. It took me three months into his presidency when I realized that I had made a grave error. Imagine my shame and horror of learning who he really was, and what his plans really were. I was sick about it. I am a Patriot, who is for America…for all Americans. I know only too well both sides to this coin. We really can change one mind and heart. We really can.
I believe the Founding Fathers put a plan in place to counter the echo chamber effect by incorporating numerous checks and balances. I believe this infighting is created in an echo chamber because a feedback loop is established and participants amplify a set position instead of entertaining new information. It becomes, who can "shock and awe" the best. As these men began to argue and debate about what was best for this new country, I see their template as a way to show us how to proceed with some kind of dignity and fairness for all.
Who hasn’t been defensive of a question that was posed when the answer was not easy and maybe even uncomfortable. I first came into the awareness of this when I noticed how people began treating each other in online discussions. I saw that when someone would not approve, people would “out” them for whom they voted for, as though it was their place to do so. Other times, I saw people unite in force, calling people names, but they did not explain why they didn’t agree. Brace yourselves--this is a SHOCKER, this is happening within our Conservative group so very much that it is debilitating us! Just cruise around Facebook and Twitter and watch the lack of respect and absence of civility just because we disagree, or “heaven forbid,” ask a question. People will try to shame you for whom you voted, or somehow attribute it to a flaw in your principles or values.
It’s hard to cull pertinent information when there is an attack upon your character, no matter how subtle. How do we grow when people are either throwing stones and we are throwing them back? I remember someone saying, “Life is like a long walk up a hill, drop the rocks!”
There are those who are open to conversation, and last week, I was blessed with that opportunity. We got to converse, discuss, debate, and nudge with respect and kindness. It’s energizing and down right fun! I even learned a few things. THIS does not mean we agreed! What it means is, we had a delightful opportunity to sharpen metal against metal. We also tested our “METTLE!”
This is how we grow stronger. This is important so that when our mettle/metal is really being tested and tempered like iron turned into fine steel, we still have that edge. Here it is folks… When we LOSE this temper, we are no longer effective.
How can we come together with the best of intentions to communicate? Looking back at how our Founding Fathers, designed our legislative process, I can’t help but wonder why we don’t embrace the spirit of their intent. If the use of this template of understanding is a good thing, then shouldn’t we welcome it to our conversations?
Our government was designed for debating and utilizing a cost-benefit ratio analysis to promote a more thorough and thoughtful decision-making process. If within our own ranks people don’t understand that the invitation of different views only SHARPENS THE BLADE OF THOUGHT, how are we to become resolute in truth? Having a basis of fact rather than the norm of castigation without logic? Let’s just be factual instead of just blowing steam and getting mean.
The Founding Fathers original intent by design protected us from the echo chamber. They wanted normal people rotating in and out of office. These people would go back to conducting their normal lives without getting their palms greased. The House of Representatives served two years. These were intended to be normal working class people that brought fresh ideas from their districts. These ideas were vigorously debated on the House floor. Even these people were human. Sometimes these debates erupted into fistfights and on more than one occasion, a dual. Once a consensus was reached, the idea was forwarded to the Senate, where it was written into law. That was how it was supposed to work…
However, later on with the introduction of lobbyists, the voice of the people became muffled by the sound of money changing hands. This isn’t something new; the Founding Fathers spoke of their fears of lobbyist in the “Federalist Papers.” Basically, what they feared has come to pass. People with money, power, and influence have a louder voice than the common man. They knew the outcome of what lobbyist’s actions do, and they would create tyranny and control--their very own echo chambers. The Clinton Foundation is a good example. Giving money creates an environment that seems to cause people to forget why they came to Washington D.C. in the first place. Perhaps, their aim is something all-together more dark and sinister than we imagined. Creating term limits would take care of many concerns, by way of busting up any Echo Chambers.
Basically, the House forwarded ideas and the Senate refined those ideas and wrote laws. People that never leave Washington can’t know the needs of the common man. The Founding Fathers knew this; why don’t we?
I see the relationship between these people in Washington and the people on social media. They have a very similar problem. On Facebook, deleting a person just because you don’t agree with them on their politics fosters an environment where all the data shared is very limited, like inside the D.C. beltway. What higher good does it serve to limit opinions when doing this limits our ability to use a cost-benefit ratio evaluation? How can you make your mind up without all the facts? The Facebook algorithms naturally create a divide. This is an organized plan that was to assist people in creating groups of friends, however, one of the side effects is that it also creates echo chambers and huge divisions. Even now, Harvard prepares for two separate graduations. One for black students and the other for all others. There is no mixed message of racism. It simply is racist and is a huge step backward. They have chosen their own echo chamber. Division should be the word of the year.
Anyone on social media will butt heads with someone, somehow, someway, sometimes. Sometimes they become agitated and unwelcoming to the challenge of justifying their beliefs, regardless of the topic. Our people are on edge and many are showing signs of political PTSD. We, as civilized people, can utilize discipline and raise a standard of how to treat one another. I believe we can take it across the chops, and if the shoe fits, own it and change it…or not. I grew up treating a people with respect--like they were a lady or gentleman, NOT necessarily because they were one, but because I am a lady.
Breathing deep with you and still learning- J.D. Jackson