August 2, 2012

Revisiting Resolution No. 6

The rhetoric around the Interwebs is getting heated. Some days, the quantity of vitriol pouring out of my screen makes me despair. How can the world contain so much hate, fear, and anger?

This question has been weighing on my mind. But the thing is, I knew at the beginning of the year that it would be like this. That's why, in my list of New Year's Resolutions, number six states that I resolve "To face the hate and anger in the world with love and prayer. To love my neighbor and trust in God and pray for mercy and love with compassion toward all."

Many people have pointed out that Facebook is part of the problem. But I think that it's also part of the solution. -

Yes, Facebook is where a lot of heated opinions get aired. But behind every one of those angry memes and cartoons and petitions is a friend. It's not some anonymous idiot posting those words, it's a person I've known and liked for years. When I look at that person's name, it conjures a flood of memories. If I click on their name, I might even see pictures of our shared experiences.

I have friends who are opinionated and passionate and intelligent and funny. That's part of what made me like them in the first place. If my friends are fearful, I want to be a reassuring presence. If they are angry or hurt, I want to listen to their troubles. I want them to know that, whatever madness is going on at the moment, at least they have a friend they can count on. It's what I'd want them to do for me.

I'm just one person and I can't stop all the anger on the internet. But I hope that by loving and praying and just being a friend, I can help create a small island of sanity in this crazy world.


  1. I have been dismayed by the reactions on all sides and have not participated in Facebook "debates." Facebook is not the best medium for these types of complicated issues. People sit in the comfort of their homes and type out their perspective as they see it, and there is no penetrating into any sort of understanding the other person, it seems...It seems to always be delivering your side and never absorbing the other person's perspective. Maybe that's why this particular controverary has such staying power, becuase no one is listening to each other--only posting their side. It's not the message from either side of the argument that has gotten to me, it's the self-righteous attitudes (ON BOTH SIDES!!) that make me cringe.

  2. I agree that Facebook isn't a great format for serious debate. I guess how I use it is more as a barometer for how people are feeling. Often when someone posts something particularly angry and self-righteous, what I'm trying to say is that because I know that person, I should stop and think "Why does he/she feel this way?" It might sound kind of hokey, but I think those kinds of posts are often just a way of saying, "I'm scared. Please tell me I'm not alone."