Do you know THINK?
Is it True?
Is it Helpful?
Is it Inspiring?
Is it Necessary?
Is it Kind?
I was just talking with someone tonight about this. I try to use this when I speak because I think it’s important. I don’t want to intentionally or unintentionally cause someone else pain. I work hard to use compassionate speech and to respect other people’s rights to a dissenting opinion. Sure I joke that I’m always right but right or wrong I know everyone will not always agree on everything.
I know I’ve written about this before but I think it bears repeating. Social media has taken away our compassion. It invites us to release our dark side and use memes or article links to personally attack people with whom we do not agree. I’ve taken a break from a lot of it in large part due to exactly this kind of behavior.
I met a man about twelve years ago. He was very nice and quiet and would do anything for anyone. Everyone loved this man because he was genuinely good. He was shy and soft spoken but mighty in his faith in God and his love for his family. He was one of those people who you would say “Oh let’s ask ***, he will help” whenever there was a need.
The internet broke him. Honestly I know you’re probably chuckling and that was my intent but I absolutely feel as if that is what happened to this man. He’s an angry, sad, mean-spirited person and he has completely lost his empathy. For a long time now I have been making excuses for him. I’ve been telling our mutual friends that it’s not his fault, he has been misled.
Today reality set in. Yes, he is a lemming and has always been but the internet conspiracy theorists and the meme patrols have stolen his compassion. They’ve rotted his soul and he is no longer kind. I used to worry about him but I have decided, as much as it pains me, that I must walk away. I hope only the very best for him but I don’t see this ending well. I tried to help him with gentle guidance and reminders of how words can hurt. He doesn’t care any more. He’s broken.
I think what took him into the land of no return was this election. Like a lot of other religious zealots (and I think this is a fair assessment of him) he is a Trump supporter. I, big shock, am not. He calls me and people of my ilk names like demons and liars and has no remorse even when I try to call upon him to ask if what he is saying is really what he meant.
He did. He does. He feels that I, because I believe in the right of a woman to choose and I believe that everyone regardless of race, religion, sex or sexual orientation deserves to be treated the same and I believe that college should not cost $100,000 and that taxes should not be a burden on the poor and middle classes and allow the wealthy to keep their millions safely tucked away. I believe that we should take care of people who can’t feed or clothe themselves or who are unable to afford housing, health care or child care. Because I believe these things I am less than he. I am a demon and I should be vanquished. I’m not exaggerating, truly I wish I were.
The thing is, I’m just a hippy. I want peace love and understanding. I want no wars and love for everyone. I want farms in empty lots in food deserts and I want to see us find ways to educate our children so they feel like there’s a future. I want us to pay attention to people so much smarter than we when they tell us we are destroying our planet. All of these things are part of who I am and I am not going to be embarrassed or sad about that. I know when I place my head on the pillow that I have tried to be a good person today.
Here’s the worst part. So does he. He uses God as his shield and says things like “God knows” as though that will somehow make his venom more palatable. Spewing hatred and calling people names in the name of God is reprehensible. I’m an agnostic and I even know that. Don’t call me a Libtard out of one corner of your mouth while you’re drinking the blood of Jesus Christ who died on the cross so we could live.
He broke my heart today. I told him so but I don’t think he cares. I think he is so broken that he has lost his sense of proportion and his compassionate side has left the building. I wanted to believe he was just confused and maybe he is but when someone who genuinely cares about him tries to reason with him and show him how his words hurt and he just pushes them away – he is lost.
So today I chose to walk away. It is with heavy legs and a pain in my heart but I can’t fix this. I will just have to hope that someday that nice man inside comes back and he can be happy again.