Right now people are saying they are going to get off Facebook and social media because reading their feed makes them feel annoyed and angry. Friends are posting political memes and stories that shout, “My side is better than your side!”

Is the purpose of political discourse to yell loudest or is it to change hearts? If you are trying to change hearts, posting out-of-context words written in the most inflammatory way with an over the top graphic and a title like, “This republican did this despicable thing.” or “This democrat said this horrible thing.” is not the way to do it.

You also aren’t sharing truth. If your first feeling about reading a post is outrage, check the facts before you spread something.  Even when you think you are sharing truth, it needs to be done with gentleness and compassion or it won’t be heard.

Calling people clowns, buffoons and cankles is not a way to elevate the talk. Not too mention there are real people at the other end of these words. A screen doesn’t protect people from hurt. If you wouldn’t call someone that to their face, why would you through a screen?

Assuming stupidity and bad motives of everyone that doesn’t believe the way you do is also not helpful. People have different life circumstances. We see things through diverse filters. Which is why it is so important to work together, not demonize opponents. No one side has all the answers. We need answers.

Countries need leaders working together to solve problems not one-upping their opponents.

Politicians are great targets, but at least some are trying to do something. As citizens, we need to be working together as well. We are innovative people. If we listen more than we try to be heard, problems might be solved. Are you involved in fixing things? Do you mentor? Help at the food pantry? Volunteer at the pregnancy center? Have real conversations with people of other races? Sponsor a child? Do Kiva loans? Work in local politics?

To work together, we need to build bridges. Try listening to people with opposing views instead of debating them. Get informed on the issues and get news from other places than Facebook and late night comedy. Read from more than one source of news, preferably at least one with a different bias than yours.

Back to social media – before you post something, ask yourself, “Is this unifying or divisive?” Ask if you are spreading truth with grace or half-lies to prove a point?

Let’s all post with care.

 

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