As I look back over the last 20 to 30 years at the human condition one thing stands out above all the rest, and it certainly does not bode well for the future. Society, pressured by the ever-increasing onslaught of social media, has become a very hostile place.
We now treat each other, at least online, in social media, with little or no civility or dignity. The amazing thing about social media and this trend is that we know little or nothing most of the time of the person we are conversing with, yet we seem to have no qualms about judging this person or persons, dismissing their opinions, and ofttimes we do this to the point of name-calling and demeaning them.
The question of our times has quickly become simply,” why do we do this?”, I have no answers that would satisfy an educated social engineer of today, but I have some thoughts about it.
Having the benefit of age, I can remember 20-30 years ago when people’s opinions were their own, not broadcast to the world and not subject to scrutiny and ridicule by the great unseen masses hiding behind a keyboard knowing they could dis-respect almost anyone anonymously and get away with it. In the 60s and 70s people respected the fact that EVERYONE is entitled to their own opinions, that’s why this country is called the land of the free!
Today, society, lead by corporate media with agendas on both sides, seems hell-bent on division and divisiveness in general. Do we really dislike our fellow citizens that much? Does a difference of opinion really matter that much when there are so many other issues and people that are in dire need of help and attention that we can’t come together to address these REAL issues?
We are, mostly, all in this together, there is much more in everyday life that binds us together than separates us; we want the same things, basically; we want our children to have a life of happiness and opportunity; we want to help those truly in need; we want equality of opportunity for everyone, and the chance to pursue as much happiness in life as we can find.
The premier of Russia in the 1950s, Nikita Khruschev, once said at the United Nations,” Russia does not need to go to war with the United States, we don’t have to, the United States will fall from within.”
If we don’t get back some modicum of civility and dignity among our citizens, I fear this very well may come to pass.