I haven’t spent much time on social media lately. I don’t have the energy. See, my newsfeed is falling apart, becoming factions more and more specific to a particular mindset. No one is listening anymore. The media certainly doesn’t help. They get viewership by creating conflict of some sort. CNN recently upset an entire nation, mentioning the POTUS’s trip to his father’s homeland as a trip into a terrorism hotbed. Why did they do that? Because it’s what they think people want to hear, because it’s scary, because people are far more likely to tune in if the news is bad. Once again, I remind you, Ted Turner tried a good news program, and no one watched. Oh, everyone thought it was a good idea, but no one watched. No, instead people want to see trauma and tragedy, violence and sex, and feel better about their own lives or own decisions, on why they arm themselves to the teeth, and think everyone else (just like them, of course, can’t have the wrong people getting armed – just don’t take away MY guns*) should do the same. All teachers, all medical professionals, anyone who has to deal with the scary people in those places where they themselves don’t live, they should be strapped at all times, in the event someone who is on the news all the time as a dangerous criminal (i.e. everyone else) comes along and starts shooting. Sure, that makes perfect sense. Just shoot ’em all and let God sort ’em out. Of course, there’s always the belief that this country was founded on Christian values, and that any special laws that exist should support that, especially since they are taking over, whenever they is a group that is considered The Enemy (homosexuals, Muslims, atheists, progressive Christians, the Pope, et cetera).

Oh, the other side isn’t immune to this stupidity, make no mistake about that. It’s just right now, the groups who support this brand of inequality are in charge. It changes, of course, although I don’t recall a time in history where it was quite this extreme in the other direction. Yes, there are those who would disagree, who point to laws that level the playing field for the disenfranchised, to social support nets and the odd person who makes a lot of money on them. Many of them appear to be the ones who now believe the Pope is a tool of the Left. That equal rights doesn’t mean everyone has the right to be who they are in public, because it’s icky. That it’s okay to refuse service to someone that you don’t want in your establishment, for religious reasons.

Fear, ignorance, and hate. That’s what those things are. I’m tired of seeing it on my newsfeed. I don’t unfriend those people, though, because I want to know what the fringes – either side – are thinking. I don’t rely on Fox news any more than I do The Huffington Post; neither have the best track record for unbiased reporting. I want to see what they’re saying how they’re pandering to the fears of their viewership/readership, because I want to know what stupidity will be spewing out of the mouths of those who wish to be told what to think.

So, I’ve spent less time on Facebook than I have in the past. And it’s getting worse. Why? Because others who are tired of it are also taking a vacation from it. So that leaves those who wish to be heard, who are “right” while everyone else is wrong, although they certainly don’t mean to divide, as long as everyone agrees, we’ll get along, free speech and all, you know.

I don’t have the energy to deal with it. I have enough on my plate. I make appearances, but I don’t spend anything like a significant amount of time there anymore. People who I thought were rational (on either side) are becoming less so. There are still those who are capable of thought, who express their opinions with supported facts, rather than twisting them to their liking, but they’re leaving, too.

It’s easy to find an opinion that supports your own, easy to find someone who will be happy to use facts to show just how right they are, perhaps leaving out little tidbits that might prove otherwise. I’m sure there will be those who’ve decided I’m picking on one side more than another, and there’s some truth to that. I’m not perfect, I have my own biases. Not my stance, necessarily, but my willingness to listen to other sides, other points-of-view. Mind you, I already make an effort to do that. My opinion on certain issues has changed, too, because of it. It’s also become strengthened in other areas.

Remember when you were a kid and your parents yelled at you for something? Did it change your behavior? Why? Because you knew it was wrong, or because you were afraid of making your parents angry again? Now, remember a time when someone calmly explained to you what behavior they don’t like, and for what reasons, and you changed? Why? Because they appealed to your sense of fairness and trusted you to be able to think for yourself. Did it work every time? No, of course not. But it was a decision based on information, not fear, not ignorance, and not hate.

Listen to each other, okay? Don’t confuse waiting for your turn to talk with listening. Deciding exactly what’s wrong with the other person’s point of view is not listening; you’ve already made up your mind. Just listen. Doesn’t mean you have to change your mind.

Think before you speak or type. Maybe we can stop this fracturing before it’s too late.

2015-07-22 Party in the Park_0075a2
Reflections along the Ohio River


*These overreaching gun laws that the current POTUS is supposed to have passed, that disarm everyone…where are they? Since 2008, how many people have had their arms taken away, hmm?


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