Saturday, July 25, 2009

A tirade against intolerance

Sometimes people try to hard to prove their superior intelligence, yet only make greater fools of themselves in the process. They rage themselves to the extremes of belief systems, political positions, scientific theories, etc. and lose sight of the fact that, in the end, all they're doing is trying to pummel someone else into submission and acceptance of their own viewpoint.

Both the conservative and liberal media do this all the time. Watch Fox News one night, then CNN the next. Each has gone to extreme opposites in reporting political occurences. Neither has taken the high road of their calling and stayed true to the impartiality of the press. But then again, who has anymore?

Individuals, particularly those self-righteous enough to try and bludgeon their family, friends and acquaintances (online and off), have been guilty of doing this since the dawn of America's statehood. They've annoyed us with their political positioning in town squares, pubs, street corners, picture shows and, more recently, television and cyberspace.

The way the media handles itself on TV and in cyberspace don't really bother me. As a former member of the media I'm accustomed to it, and have become de-sensitized to the degeneration of the media from its impartial beginnings to its partisan current state.

It's the way that individuals position their political crap on social networking sites that drives me insane. Last night I went to a good friend's facebook site to post a quick "hello". After scrolling down a bit to find the posting box, I noticed that an old mutual acquaintance had posted some politically-charged hatemongering on my friend's page. I was suddenly and terribly pushed into an enraged state, and I could not stop myself from responding to his statements.

This particular acquaintance is a die-hard political conservative along the lines of Bill O'Reilly. A person so blinded by what family politics and conservative media have pounded into his eyeballs that he can't see beyond what he himself thinks. But then again, he's always been easily influenced.

Now my own views reflect political moderacy. I don't hate the current president, nor did I hate the last one. They are both fallen men, subject to mistakes, corporations and all the other influential machines that, unfortunately, run America. I realize that each individual is entitled to their own viewpoint, and I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is when one individual brandishes the spiked club of opinion against another and attempts to bludgeon them with it.

But back to the my friend had fallen prey to the fanatical ravings of this acquaintance. This friend only uses facebook as a way to keep in touch with friends like me, who live a few hours (or farther) away. Not as a forum, but as a networking tool. So to see what our mutual acquaintance had spouted had the same effect as brandishing a red cape in the eyes of an angry bull.

I won't go into the exchange...there was a lot of verbal gunfire from both sides, much of it unnecessary...but it helped me realize that, as fallen human beings, it is so easy to lose sight of the big picture. Ultimately, that no one man, political party or government knows what is best for all of its members. Nor will it be able to act in a way that will benefit everyone. As individuals we should not delude ourselves into thinking that we know what is best. Rather than hatemongering back and forth, we should respect the opinions of others and try to understand how those opinions make those individuals who they are.

Above all, we should love the differences God put in each of us and, even if we don't necessary like it, embrace those differences in each other.

So Ben, rather than use online social networking tools as a political forum, why not kindly ask individuals what their opinions are and have open, respectful discussion with them rather than bludgeon them with overly-conservative negativity?


  1. Love it. There are lots of people that I wish I could get this exact same point across to. I blame a lot of it on the church, who has more of a tendency as of late to focus on social and political issues instead of on theology.

  2. Adam, YES!! Thanks for the comment! I'm excited about the wedding AND the Ward Blog. And I added your RSS feed to my reader, so keep the posts coming. I have an acquaintance who also uses facebook as an obnoxious political I feel your pain.

    Anyway, love the tirade. Write often!