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Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Death of Civility

What's with all the snarkiness these days? From political posts to gay marriage posts to posts by animal rescue groups, everybody is attacking everybody else on Facebook. I have had enough of the name-calling and snarky responses!

There is so much hatred, anger and vitriol these days. It seems to be impossible to have a civilized discussion about a polarizing topic such as politics, religion or gay marriage without quickly deteriorating into name-calling. Calling someone an 'idiot,' 'moron' or 'libtard' hardly adds anything to the discussion. Veterans are even attacking other veterans in some very heated discussions. Racists are making gorilla sounds at a group of black Americans and throwing bananas at the American president. Really?

Even non-polarizing topics are not exempt from the nastiness and name-calling. I commented recently that I thought a non-profit's post of an accident scene photo showing a dead body was inappropriate. For daring to express my opinion, I, and others with the same opinion, were labeled as 'haters' and told to 'shut the f*** up.' (The photo was taken down a few hours later.) Since when are people who express an opinion to be labeled as 'haters'? What happened to our ability to express our opinions in a non-judgmental, non-attacking manner?  When did we lose the ability or willingness to listen to the positions of those with whom we may disagree? What caused this widespread lack of civility?  Why and when did society shift from an emphasis on the greater good to an emphasis on the individual?  Why are so many people so unable or unwilling to deal with our differences? Has civil discourse become extinct? It would appear so.

I am appalled by the negative comments I read, even about positive stories. Country star Tim McGraw has donated 100 homes to wounded veterans. While most of the comments about this story were positive, a few asked why he wasn't donating homes to homeless people who aren't veterans, or why wasn't he also paying the taxes and utilities for the donated homes? 

 Frankly, I'm tired of the anger, the hatred and the nastiness. There is so much evil and hurt in this world. Why are we wasting our time and our energy sniping at people over inconsequential issues? And really, why waste our energy sniping at and attacking people over anything at all? Can we not respectfully state our opinions without attacking those who may disagree with us? And does everything have to be turned into a diatribe against one political party or another? It seems to me that there is more than enough blame to go around for the pathetic state of affairs in our country. Attacking people and calling them names isn't going to make things any better.

I have been around for several decades, and never have I seen the amount of hatred and nastiness that I see now. Maybe it's because people feel emboldened by the anonymity afforded by the Internet, where they can spew their venom from their computers without having to actually face those they are attacking. Whatever the reason, it needs to stop. We need to work to find common ground. We need to come together to start tackling the problems our society and our country are facing. Most of all, we need to keep our noses out of other people's business. If you don't like gay marriage, don't marry someone of the same sex. But don't try to force your beliefs on everybody else. If you don't like the fact that Bruce Jenner is now Caitlyn Jenner, ignore the stories in the news media. Accept the fact that not everybody feels the way you feel, and move on.

If we cannot have civil discourse without stooping to name-calling and personal attacks, I fear for our country.