I keep seeing these things going around Facebook. You know what they are, because you’ve seen them too. Stuff like:
– “If you’re an American and a Christian, you’ll do/believe/say X.”
– “The Democrats are fools because of such-and-such.”
– “Republicans are idiots because fill-in-the-blank.”
– “Liberals are the devil’s spawn because…”
– “Conservatives are bigoted blah-de-blahs…”
So, I am here to say this:
Stop it. All of you. Those of you that are creating these Memes, GIFs, and Posts, AND those of you who are re-posting them. I include in this request our Elected Officials who are posting rude, obnoxious, and vitriolic Tweets.
KNOCK. IT. OFF. Seriously.
Creating and perpetuating stereotypes like these is unhelpful, inaccurate, and only worsens the division that is tearing apart our country on every level.
Throwing around insults is not something done in the spirit of cooperation. So, to those of you on Facebook and Twitter I know and love, I’m telling you this behavior is beneath you. And from our elected officials who are acting this way, it’s not only appalling and hugely unprofessional, but should not be tolerated by those of us they supposedly serve.
Whether I am Christian or Jewish, Muslim or Sikh, Buddhist or Atheist is NOT the sole indicator that I am or am not a compassionate and loving person.
Whether I am a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, or Socialist is not the sole indicator that I do or do not care deeply about the well-being of our society, healthcare, children, abortion, poverty, social security, LGBQT rights, global warming, or any other important current issues.
What I AM is a Human Being, living on this planet, in this country, with other real, live, Human Beings. People who breathe, and live, and work, and struggle, and love, and raise families, just like I do.
– Having compassion for others is how I was raised. It is what a large majority of us are taught from infancy.
– Being proud of my country is what I was taught.
– Living in harmony with my community is what I was taught.
– Having RATIONAL discourse with others who may or may not agree with me is what I was taught.
When we stereotype and sling insults generalizing a portion of the population, what we are doing (intentionally or unintentionally) is dehumanizing OTHER REAL PEOPLE. This makes it easier for us, because “they” become a faceless mass to spew our anger and frustration on. We cease to look at those we target as other people, who may also be angry or hurting. The Internet has been fantastic for helping us do this. We never have to face anyone we bully and dump on anymore and can remain oblivious. Safe in our anonymity behind computer screens.
What we seem to have forgotten is that the way we carry and present ourselves sets the example for our children. THEY see us all the time – there’s no hiding who we really are. How will future generations act, and what methods will they use to problem-solve in the future, based on the poor examples we are giving them now?
We are not solving anything using current methods, and potentially causing vast amounts of hurt and damage to our people, our government, and to our country as a whole. Your actions MATTER, on a daily basis, whether you realize it or not. So please, think long and hard about what you are putting out into the world.
Because what goes on the Internet lasts forever.