<<< First of all, I want to express my condolences to the people of Paris and France as well as the families of those affected by the terrorist attacks that just happened. It’s so sad but we have to be careful not to hate just because others share commonalities with the perpetrators. This post, which I had been mulling for some time, is pertinent in a lot of ways. >>>
I wrote more than 4 years ago about how as I became older, I increasingly felt the need to express my opinion. That was back when Facebook wasn’t nearly as popular and things were a little different. I always looked upon my blog as a way to share my thoughts and opinions to hopefully make people think. In this way, I might influence the world. I might as well take advantage of the fact that the internet is an amazing forum from which we can express ourselves. But recently, things have gotten ugly… and hateful… and divisive. It’s getting to the point that opinions are becoming so extreme and polarizing that they keep us from getting along. I blame this on many factors.
Because opinions can be given anonymously, people feel protected to spout off how they really feel and that’s not necessarily a good thing. They don’t have to look you in the eye or meet you to realize that you are also just another human. It’s disheartening to know how many people hate others just for their ethnicity or religion. Ultimately, some thoughts are better kept to yourself. And by sharing such thoughts, the fervor increases and others are emboldened to spread more hatred
Add to this the fact that people join groups that are biased and perpetuate the same opinions. This only bolsters the resolve of the members of the group to convince them they are right and everybody else is wrong. If that’s all they read and hear, they don’t consider opposing viewpoints. They don’t open their mind.
To be honest, I’m getting sick of on-line discussions. The racism and hatred I read (especially towards Obama and Muslims) makes me sick. To make things worse, lies are perpetuated. The energy that is created to support viewpoints is often based on falsehoods. Dismissing a viewpoint in this manner is like wrongly convicting a person who is accused of a crime.
We all have convictions and opinions and I wrote a quote before stating, “If you don’t think your opinion is the best one, then you need a new one.” But nobody’s opinion is perfect. And just because somebody has an opposing opinion shouldn’t make them your enemy. Let’s be civil. Let’s discuss. But let’s not hate.