Everybody has an opinion // controversial post

syriaI was inspired by my friend Jim Baker’s blog post earlier today on the etiquette of social media in light of tense times (you should probably check out his blog anyway because it’s one of a very small handful I consistently read and it’s pretty great!)

I have been thinking a lot of my friends who live in Boston and how they might be feeling right now.  Some of them were at the marathon earlier that day.  My husband Mike actually completed his first marathon about a year and a half ago in Erie in right around the same finish time that the bombs went off.  Anytime you can fathom those most important to you being hurt (or worse) causes one to shudder.  This moment is one of those close calls for a lot of people, and a very sad reality for too many.  It is heartbreaking.

So what I’m about to say is in no way intended to diminish the reality of this situation – this is a bad thing and people are justified in feeling upset, scared, angry, and a host of other emotions.

The thing that nags at me is this: we as a country don’t respond to situations like this very well, especially in social media.  It seems like at first, everyone posts heartfelt messages of prayers and thoughts going out to people in a tense situation.  This is a good thing – people need to know in this situation that they’re not alone.  But then within a day or so, it becomes heavily tempered about political points of view, a sudden patriotism for some that seems so artificial or anti-patriotism for others blaming everything on the current leaders.  This is the point where we start to turn ugly.  What comes next, inevitably, are posts/comments treating whatever the tragedy as if it is the single worst thing that has ever happened in the entire world.

I’m bothered by each of these things for different reasons, but probably by the lack of perspective people have for what is going on in our world the most.  Millions of people spend every day in fear of terrorism that encompasses their every single day… and many of those people are living in fear because we are attacking them.

Senator Lists the Death Toll from US Drones at 4,700 People

We have killed THOUSANDS of people, including many, many innocent people.  The title of this article is a little misleading, though, because there isn’t really a count on how many people US drones have killed in the last decade – no one’s keeping track.  “Using the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s count, the U.S. has launched between 416 and 439 drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia since the U.S. first successfully weaponized an MQ-1 Predator a decade ago.”

This, in my opinion, is the worst thing in the world.  These attacks are happening and they’re happening as we continue to support them.

I’m really not trying to diminish what’s going on in Boston, or any of the other national tragedies we’ve experienced as of late – they are tragic and terrible and I hate them.  What I am trying to put into perspective is the reality that bombings like this are a regular thing on our planet and we only seem to take notice when it’s on our soil.

People in the Middle East where these attacks are happening spend every day living in a deeper fear than the Bostonians felt today, or than the residents of Newtown felt when school resumed.  But for some reason I’ll never understand, the social media response and the general vibe of our country is, “Who cares!  They’re not our people.”

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3 thoughts on “Everybody has an opinion // controversial post

  1. I’m glad that my post inspired you to write your own!

    I think what you’re talking about has a lot to do with what the news chooses to report… which is a whole other topic, frankly I’m pretty sick of the news. At the end of the day, news is a business, so they report what is going to get ratings, and ratings lead to $$.

    Secondly… I feel like in the past couple of years facebook has gotten a lot more political. All of the sudden instead of sharing what we’re doing and about our lives, we’re reposting pictures of poorly designed political sentiments that we agree with.

    I wonder if people that often post political things have these types of conversations in real life too? Or is social media is their outlet?

    I’m not very political, and I don’t share my political view on social media because it often feels like you’d just screaming into a vacuum. Further alienating people that don’t agree with you and getting a worthless “like” from people that do agree.

    That’s part of the reason I blogged today asking people if they liked when I post links to other peoples blogs that I’ve found useful. –> http://jimjessbaker.blogspot.com/2013/04/do-you-like-when-i-link-to-other.html

    Maybe people view my social media sharing as too religious, and I’m just creating more noise, who knows.

    Actually Donald Miller posted this blog that kind of touches on some of the things we’re talking about –> http://storylineblog.com/2013/04/22/talking-points-for-the-pro-life-movement/

    • Thanks for the thoughtful response, Jim! I agree- the news does tend to focus on what will get higher ratings, and maybe not everyone realizes that it tends to be disproportionate to what is going on in the rest of the world. I think I’m overall just a little frustrated by how many people are content to leave it at that and it becomes ever apparent in social media.

      You’re right about Facebook becoming more political… I’m equally guilty of broadcasting my political views there, although I try to put them here on my blog because I think it’s a more appropriate outlet. I do have similar conversations, though, in my day-to-day. What’s interesting about talking politics online is that I don’t come across as many people in my everyday who hold a different view from my own – I suppose that makes sense considering I’m surrounded by people leading similar a lifestyle to mine. I like the dialogue I’ve been able to share with some friends via Facebook (usually in messages, not on the walls) about different issues. And, I’ve been angered by some unwelcome opinions forced upon me without any attempt at a dialogue… (I was forced to block an acquaintance recently because of her persistent and frequent messages telling me why her opinion was “truth” and mine was wrong.)

      All that said, I don’t think it’s going to change – increasingly, I think people will engage in communication online for good or for bad. Ultimately, I just think that people need to be proactive about how they get their information and not rely on news sources to report all of the news, or even the most important news. The beautiful thing about the web is that it’s self-service — you get what you want. (Which is what I was going to comment on your blog). I don’t think people are irritated when there’s more out there – I just think people pick what they ultimately want to engage in and ignore everything else.

      Thanks for the comment!

      • “I don’t think people are irritated when there’s more out there – I just think people pick what they ultimately want to engage in and ignore everything else.” – truth! thanks!

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