I’m really disappointed with my country right now, for so many reasons. There are serious issues going on right now that can’t be resolved easily. With issues come opinions and with opinions come arguments. As disappointed as I am in the country, I’m even more disappointed with how I’m seeing others conduct themselves, both in person and online when it comes to such issues. We can’t change policy overnight, but we can change our attitudes. I wanted to share some thoughts on how this can be done.
I didn’t have any social media accounts during the time of the last election 5 years ago, so I can’t compare it to my current newsfeed. I think that social media is a great thing when used in moderation. I think that it’s an easy way to connect people and can be a fun tool to share bits of our lives with people we care about. What I can’t stand about it is when people use it as a platform to preach divisive things for everyone on their friends list to see. Picture this: you’ve gotten everyone on your friends list together and you’re standing in front of as many as 2,000 or more individuals. You see the faces of your college roommate, your lab partner, your church pastor, your co-worker, and maybe even your 82-year-old grandmother. If this were the case, would you still spew such hateful and divisive things?
Some of you probably still would, and for those people, I genuinely feel sorry for you that you find some kind of bizarre enjoyment in starting arguments that do nothing but cause hurt and resentment. For the rest of us, I’m sure we wouldn’t be as comfortable saying things in person that we would say behind the protection of a computer screen. Social media can often become something people use when they want to say hateful things, but don’t want to face the repercussions that they would have if those things were said in person. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be allowed to talk about things on social media that could spark controversy, we live in a country with free speech after all, but I personally believe that during a time when the country is so divided, making such divisive statements and insults towards people that you disagree with is just plain wrong and isn’t helping anyone on either side.
Many who say these things will delete them later on, but the danger of social media is that once something is said, it’s out there forever, and those who already have seen it can’t un-see it. It doesn’t allow us to think through things before blurting them out because it allows us to post things instantaneously. No matter how upset you may be, lashing out online isn’t the way to do it. Have a heart to heart with someone you love. Write it down in a journal. Go for a walk to blow off steam. But don’t say things that will cause people who care about you to feel personally disrespected and attacked just because their opinion is different from yours. What happened to tolerance? Togetherness? Love for our neighbor?
I don’t want this post to get preachy and lengthy, because that is not my intent. My intent is to encourage you to spread love during this time. As the age old saying goes, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I think that saying certainly goes for social media and face to face conversations, too. I hope that we can all show some grace and maturity during this time and really come together as one. For this nation, unity may seem like a daunting word, but it really doesn’t have to be that hard in our own circles and communities. We need to start small, showing the same amount of respect for our friends, family, and acquaintances alike, republican or democrat.
I’m going to try my hardest to be optimistic during a time when not only our nation is so split down the middle, but in our communities, friend circles, and even families. I’m going to strive my absolute hardest to show respect for those I agree with and totally disagree with. As a Christian, I have faith in something bigger than myself. I don’t believe that my higher power is found in the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, or the president, but in God and God alone. I believe we should be praying for our leaders, whether we like them or not. 2 Timothy 2:24 says, “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” None of us are perfect, but let’s at least try to be a little more like that. Next time you want to start a hearted argument or post something online that you know will ruffle some feathers, maybe instead call up a friend or family member that you don’t agree with and tell them why you love them. Maybe even try to find some kind of common ground. It’s little acts of kindness and maturity like this that will keep us together and make our future generations proud to call themselves Americans.