I am proposing a political-post ceasefire for December. It’s the end of the year; it’s the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays for many, and, well, what we all need right now is niceness. We need forgiveness. We need people to be kind to one another and stop, at least for a time, with all the half-true political posts, the snarky memes meant to piss some people off while preaching to the choir of those who agree with. We need a general willingness that we will stop posting things knowing full well someone out there will be made to feel bad, mad, or sad upon seeing it. And don’t tell me you don’t do that, because you know perfectly well that sometimes you like or share something knowing full well it’s going to piss at least someone off. I’m not claiming innocence here. I do it, too. But we should stop.
“But why?” you say. And, well, the answer is simple:
Because it’s not nice. Nor is it going to change anything.
If you count yourself spiritual—and I don’t even care what religion you claim—then you know that your religion tells you that you aren’t supposed to be a douche bag on social media anyway. Your sacred writings say it very clearly and say it often throughout the text. You might be sitting there going, “Nuh-uh, it doesn’t say “douche bag” anywhere in there. That’s fine. Equivocate if you want to, but you know perfectly well it says it quite clearly, many times, and regardless of what the exact wording is.
And before my atheistic acquaintances allow themselves a sanctimonious gloat at that last bit, you, my godless friends, are ones who see themselves as being ruled by reason and logic first and foremost of all! So ask yourself how logical it can be to intentionally make people mad, push their hot buttons, or gloat over some seeming political or spiritual bit of hypocrisy when you know full well it’s not going to fix, change, or alter the problem as it exists in the real world? How can pissing people off or making them feel stupid be considered “good” any possible definition of the word? I know a crapton of atheists, and to the last of them they will agree that humans do not require a supernatural being to illuminate what is right and wrong. Given that, it is even less excusable for an atheist to willfully defy reason and be mean-spirited simply for the gratification of being an A-hole than it is for someone who believes in “magical beings, unicorns, and fairies” as many of my non-believing buddies might snarkily put it when referring to those who have Faith.
Yet be they spiritual or logical, so many among us are so willing to broadcast and re-broadcast half-true headlines and incendiary memes on their social media pages. It doesn’t matter what opinion or political sphere these glib partisan pokes come from. In the end, it’s all the same act of social media terrorism. People will hit the share button on that stuff in what is nothing less than a willful act of harming others. It is a purposeful act of political, religious, or cause-driven aggression, intentionally thrown out to a wide social media audience with full knowledge that many have other and even opposite opinions. Memes are not invitations to polite and reasonable debates, an exchange of well-researched ideas; they are simply a shot fired. And we all know it when we share them or post them. We share that shit because it makes us feel good. Plus, those assholes who keep piping in their crap on the other side are, well, assholes. They should agree with us. And since they don’t: fuck them. Even though they are just regular people like us.
Which makes posting that half-truth, or that crap you didn’t actually read even though the headline made you go “hell yeah!” … it makes that the emotional equivalent of tossing a hand grenade into the coffee shop of your neighbors’ feelings. You post that because you don’t give a shit what you just did to anyone else, including people you actually care about.
As humans, we all claim to be good people. We all see ourselves as representatives of our loving faith and/or enlightened intellects. We universally proclaim hatred for terrorism. But what is terrorism other than the willingness to inflict damage on as many people as possible? Ideally, on a terrorist level, we want to inflict damage on any who don’t agree with us, but, you know, whatever. Just do it! Collateral damage is fine.
So if we are actually what we tell ourselves we are—as in not total selfish, unthinking, small-minded shitheads—then we are all on the same page when it comes to believing we understand what right and wrong looks like. Since we all know, down deep, when we are making an aggressive act, then I think that, regardless of which holy text or Darwinian tome we read, we ought to at least think before we post. We ought to consider not just taking a big nasty crap on every person out there who doesn’t line up, line-by-line, with our political opinions. Odds are, we actually haven’t even read 50 pages of actual, real researched content on our opinion anyway (I laugh because the reality is, not even 10 pages, but hey … ).
At least for December. Not simply because it is Christmas for Christians, but because it’s the end of a long exhausting year of people being mean and awful around the world. Yes, there was lots of goodness too, but nobody shared any of that. We all wallowed in the worst of it. So I think it would be great if we could just be nice now. Just until the end of December even. Just that. A week or two is all that’s left anyway. Just that. Then we can go back to being dicks if we want. But, how about it, ya’ll?
Consider sharing this if you agree. And if not, well then go on and post something political or demoralizing and give the gift of insult to someone for the holidays. Accuse someone of being a closet racist or a xenophobe or whatever. I’m kind of exhausted now anyway. I hope you’ll join me and not post or respond to political anything until next year. But, whatever. I’m going to get another beer.
Yes, I’m starting to think that Facebook is where ideas go to die. But I do love the cat and dog videos.
Actually I’m kind of sick of the internet and TV both.
Interesting and thoughtful piece. Thanks. Will blog a reference to this and your site.
You have put into words what I and many I know have discussed at length.
People I once thought perfectly normal now appear as lunatics to my way of thinking. I’ve gotten to the point where it’s just easier for me to scroll right past any political/religious/overtly racist nonsense I see on Facebook.
That is kind of sad when you think about it, but it’s so common that I’ve given up,trying t change people’s way of thinking.