Just some Liberty Speaks musings that popped up over the weekend regarding our current social environment.
I have a routine every morning that I’ve kept for a few years now. Wake up and grab some coffee, turn on the news, then peruse my various social media sites. Usually, they are filled with meme’s, links to news stories from the day before, or just various postings and versions of “hi, how’s everyone”, or “we went to a new restaurant” or “Mondays suck” (depending on the day of course).
However, one posting I saw on my Counter.Social timeline stood out among the rest. The individual wished to remain anonymous but gave me permission to use their words.
We conflate people with policy positions and come to sweeping generalizations. We attack people rather than beliefs or positions. Based on our new political vocabulary, cross-aisle dialogues no longer pit Democrats against Republicans or liberals against conservatives. Instead, it has shifted to “libertards” against “white supremacists,” “communists” against “Trump supporters” or even “feminazis” against actual neo-Nazis.
In many cases, the reality is not nearly as simple as these insults would denote. The result is a trench-like warfare where both sides hurl insults at one another from the safety of their own echo chambers, with no one willing to venture out of the “no man’s land” of bipartisanship and open dialogue.
If that doesn’t make you sad, instead of angry…That’s why humanity is doomed, don’t kid yourself it was one political party or one man who made a decision to end it all.
We did it with hate.
Normally, I would skim over such postings and just move on, but this one for some reason was different. It was raw and emotional and unfortunately accurate with its description of our current environment. After some thought, I decided to engage the account with a few opinions of my own.
Here was my reply.
There are 3 words that come to mind upon reading your last 3 posts. The first being realism, the second is pessimism. It is the third I wish to discuss, however, I’ll address the first two in order to establish context before I state what that third word is. This may take a few posts, but I’ve got the time.
From a realist’s view, we have entered into a zone of blind rhetoric, bias, and assumption. Our mindset has become rigid against the very nature of individuality.
We have effectively created walls, barriers, blockades against the idea of individuality, and made these our strongholds. Whatever bias we hold, has become a shield against any other thought process that may allow us to see beyond our walls.
This is the reality. The realism of this is palpable… If I were to choose a specific visual of this current environment, I could do so with just one image. The image being a specific hue.
The realist will understand the color without explanation.
For the second term, pessimism. So many people have the feeling that this current reality is of an Armageddon level event. That there is no way around it, and that as you said, humanity is doomed. I do agree if this current path we are on remains to fester then we are in effect creating our own self-fulfilling prophecy.
However, humanity was not designed to be this way. We were meant to be social, creative, part of a whole.
Yes, we have it in us to argue, disagree, fight, at the same time we instinctively know how to protect ourselves by flight, or surrender in certain battles. However, it is our true talent to rise above division, despair, fear, and come out the other side better for it. We have the capability to NOT allow this environment to destroy what we previously held so dear. Decency, civility, and not hate.
This brings me to Optimism.
I am a combination of a realist & optimist. I fight all the time to keep pessimism from my debates, dialogue, daily life. It is a struggle, but one worth fighting for. I have faith that whatever storms we create in our own bubbles, will pass. We have the ability to look past that color of our current reality. That those who hate the color will listen to those who like it, and those who like it will understand those who hate it.
If we continue to blindly attack, relentlessly allow our bias to destroy the idea of individual thought, and choose to demean those around us, then all we will see is the reality of the color or the pessimism of the void that color creates…. we will never see the true nature of what lies beyond our rigid walls of anti this, or pro that… we will never see each other as anything other than what our fear creates.
After my reply, the individual commented back with something I wasn’t expecting. They called my post “the lesson of orange”.
It truly was not my intention to preach or teach with the words or images I used. However, the more I think about it, the more I understand that it is our words that shape our society, and for me that offers a little comfort in knowing that someone understood mine.
I really do not know if civility will come back into our debates, or if viscous personal attacks will remain just a fact of life. I do know it will be the individuals with cooler heads, calmer reactions and rational thoughts that will suffer the greatest if this current vitriol persists.
Realistically speaking, it’s going to take a lot more than optimism to win these battles, but then again I am optimistic.