The one thing about social media is it isn’t always social. All one has to do is post a comment or an article that someone disagrees with and you’d think it was the 4th of July the way what I’ll call “firewords” show up–and a lot. It happens almost, if not daily and without fail, and in every election year. What some see as their passion actually draws disrespect toward others.
Each of us has a soap box we stand on when it comes to the cause(s) that are near and dear to our heart(s), whether it be from our community involvement or candidates running for office, both local and not.
Many times (not all), discussions become very heated and sometimes downright indignant. It is one thing to have a strong opinion and voice what you believe in, but when you start calling someone else (especially those who are supposedly “friends”) truly nasty or vile names or wishing death on another, it makes you step back and re-think the actual relationship (if there is one) with that person. Words like dumb and ignorant come to mind too, but I guess that becomes petty and thin-skinned.
Face to face conversations/debate is usually a good thing to happen when possible, because you’re right there looking at one another.
However, having a debate over social media is a whole different ballgame altogether. You can’t hear a tone, you can’t see body language, or any human action for that matter. Instead, you read words, which many times are taken out of context, because we all have a tendency to read something which may have a different intent than was to be portrayed. And there are other times when what you read is what the person meant. Eventually, you’ll find out which.
There are also those who get upset if you don’t see eye-to-eye when talking about candidates, especially within your own party and no matter what the comment. You dared to oppose.
A little over two months ago, I posted on Facebook my feelings about the endorsement of a particular person. The person is considered an ally. It’s great when a person is there to support the LGBT community, but that doesn’t mean other parts of that person don’t exist. It shouldn’t mean that person is can only be seen in a favorable light; nor does it mean any negative things about the person should be overlooked. Good Lord, you would have thought I was asking for the person be executed the way I was jumped on by one of their supporters.
Looking at myself, there are people who value my opinion and consider my words worthy. But that doesn’t negate that there are others who don’t, and I’m fine with that. When you’re in the public eye, it goes with the territory. That’s life and we can’t please everyone. However, I’m not going to chastise someone because we’re not on the same page. That’s why it’s called an opinion, and each of us are entitled to our own.
Now that people are feverishly discussing Bernie, Donald and Hillary (let me clarify I put the names alphabeticall–not any other reason), people are getting even more hyped and calling others out like there will be no tomorrow and many comments are far from standard dislike. The next few months will be far from pretty.
What happened to the old phrase agree to disagree?
IT IS OKAY to think unlike someone else. IT IS OKAY not to see eye to eye. IT IS OKAY to not like the same thing someone else does. IT IS OKAY to be different. IT IS OKAY to disagree.
IT ISN’T OKAY to discount someone because they aren’t you.
I leave you with the words of Bernice Johnson Reagon: “There is nowhere you can go and only be with people who are like you. Give it up.”
Rev. Joel S. Slotnick is an ordained Interfaith minister and full time digital court reporter. He can be found on Facebook and followed on Twitter.