Yesterday was a crappy day, and I was really depressed for most of it. A few small things factored into that: I broke two ceramic tea bowls I was working on, the book I’m reading turned out to be heavy and quite on the boring side so I couldn’t stay focused and only ended up running on the treadmill for 12 minutes yesterday, my little math student didn’t take her medication so in an hour she was focused for only about 3 minutes, and the bridesmaid dress I ordered is out of stock.
But really, the big main thing that set my entire day in a very sour and depressed mood is the constant swarms of negativity that I can’t seem to hide from that are all over the internet right now, and all to do with our recent presidential election. Maybe it’s because I’ve been more involved in this election than any other in the past; maybe it’s because social media plays such a larger part in people’s lives now; probably both. But I have to say, I had a much stronger faith in humanity until recently (at least in the United States).
So, just about half the country voted for the guy who’s not President right now, I understand that that means a lot of people are disappointed, sad, maybe a little angry. But I never would have predicted the amount of hatefulness being spewed all over message boards, blog posts, news articles, Twitter, Facebook… It is literally everywhere.
Sure, I understand people are hiding behind their laptop screens and they don’t have to tell someone to their face the hateful things they’re writing to them, but the way social media is, things are pretty much never anonymous. I saw an article yesterday that reported racist hate speech regarding the election in the forms of tweets by high school students. The administration at these high schools were notified and the students were dealt with. (The article went on to say that this was in violation of these kids’ First Amendment rights. So, hate-speech is considered free speech?)
Then, I was on a public business’ Facebook page that was honouring Veteran’s Day. The comments escalated within minutes to some of the most racist, vile, and hateful things I feel like I have ever read. People who knew nothing about one another were practically gripping at each other’s throats. And the craziest thing is, not only can you more than easily track these people (they’re posting on Facebook), but most of the nastiest things were said by people who had profile pictures depicting kindly grandmothers snuggling with their grandkids or happy moms & kids sitting in pumpkin patches.
Maybe that’s what makes it scarier. If the people saying these things stayed in the high schoolers on Twitter group, fine. Kids can be really dumb. But so much of this hatefulness is coming from people I would think to trust and respect if I saw them on a street. And that’s another things: It seems like many, if not most, of the Christians I know are Republicans. And the Republican Party for this election had a very strong Christian support group. If someone’s going to claim they believe in Jesus’ teachings, then I’m going to hold that person to a much higher standard; a standard of kindness, love, and peace.
So…. Maybe it sounds cliché, but can’t we all just get along with each other? Can people just quit with the hate-speech, the racism, the Doomsday predictions, the anger, …the I-worked-hard-for-my-money-why-should-the-government-take-it-away-and-give-it-to-lazy-people attitude. (That one blows my mind, Jesus constantly told us, under no exceptions, to give to the poor. People on welfare are the poor. He didn’t say, only give to the poor who you think deserve it.)
There was that one guy before the election who said rape could be viewed as something God intended, or (to put it more nicely) that God could bring good things out of something horrendous. So. If you believe that, don’t you think maybe God intended for the President that we have now? By that account, our President was appointed by God. And Jesus said we ought to respect the authorities appointed over us. I mean, right? Come on, do you believe this stuff or not? So instead of trying to put a halt on everything he tries to do to help the country, or tear him down every chance you get, or disrespect him, can we just learn to get involved and actually work with him?
Well, I guess that’s all I have to say. I tried to say something like this in a much shorter version on that Facebook post for Veterans, and I got attacked for it. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again. I just want people to be kind to each other. And if you won’t, well, I’m going to keep trying. But you make it harder with your meanness.
These last two things aren’t directly from me, but they illustrate pretty perfectly what I want:
Wisdom and perspective from Mike Schutz:
“1960, 1964, 1992, 1996, 2012. Those are the five elections in my lifetime after which some Christians proclaimed that the country had lost its Christian moorings. Of course, that was also the claim after the election of 1800 when a guy named Jefferson was elected. Folks, that is poor social commentary, and it’s even worse theology. The poor spiritual state of America is not due to a failure of secular govt leadership, it is due to a failure of the church to fully be the church , to live out the gospel, and instead attempt to be a political power. If we as the church decide to get back to living out the great commission, the great commandment, and taking care of the least of these, we will see revival- no matter what happens in Washington.”