I’m having one of those days. I had no Internets access for hours, when I was finally able to post my first one of the day, The Political Carnival crashed, plus there are about a zillion personal issues going on (we all have those), and I’m hours behind because of the first two setbacks. Hence, I am experiencing severe crankitude and would love to scream at someone, preferably the nearest Republican.
However, I won’t. And you know why I won’t? Because, call me crazy, but I’m a firm believer in civility. Even during heated arguments. Even with right wing nut jobs.
As I said in my initial post about Current firing Keith Olbermann, there has been an onslaught of harsh critics who wasted no time in sending venomous tweets directly to Keith and about him to anyone in the Twitterverse who would listen.
I also said, to those who have that much hostility toward him, don’t watch him (which you can’t now, anyway), and that it seems childish to send rude (and from what I’ve seen, irrationally so), blatantly offensive tweets to him. It accomplishes nothing.
And I ended with the novel idea of the Progressive community treating each other with some civility when it comes to dealing with one another. Instead of eating our own, I posted, please save your vitriol for the right wing extremists, because we need all the liberal voices we can get.
Most who responded agreed with me, but a few Twitter followers justified the unreasonably vicious frontal attacks on Keith by saying, essentially, “Well, he’s an asshole, so he deserves what he gets.” One even rationalized that, hey, he’s a millionaire, so go for it. I beg to differ.
His celebrity, even his high profile controversies, don’t make him fair game for random abuse.
Was he ever disrespectful to you personally? Those who tweeted me about this said, no, only to others. In that case, were those others rude to him first? And aren’t conversations between Keith and those others just that, between the two of them? Of course, anyone should feel free to disagree with one or both parties, and even express an opinion… but jumping in uninvited when an exchange doesn’t immediately involve you as an excuse to gratuitously name-call, disparage, or pile on seems unnecessary and destructive.
After all, love him or hate him, KO is on our side, politically. He’s a powerful Progressive voice, someone who is not afraid (clearly) to speak up, most often for causes that we libs support.
Bullying is wrong, whether used against a child or an adult. I’ve run up against some pretty brutal cyberbullying aimed directly at me, and it makes me wonder: What is the other person getting out of it? Do they feel so powerless, so cowardly, in their own lives that they feel that hiding behind their computer and/or anonymity gives them license to intentionally try to hurt another human being? Is there nothing else that pumps them up, preferably something worthwhile and worthy of their time and attention, something that they could contribute to society in a positive way?
Keith has feelings. He’s human. Even if you don’t like his style, his politics, or even the way he tweets to other people, he still feels pain and the sting of vulgar insults. So do you. So do I.
Civility matters. Kindness and patience matter. Taking a breath, taking a moment to think, using reason all matter. Without these things, communication between us would be reduced to the equivalent of the old wild west days of shooting first, asking questions later (or as I like to call it, Florida).
And from what I’ve observed over the past few days, months, even years, there seems to be an increase in emotional disarray, lack of consideration for others, and respect, grace, and thoughtfulness are being replaced with a license to kill (with words and otherwise).
Sure, if you’re a target, if you’re ambushed, fight back, bring on the snark, stand up for yourself.
But if you’re a person who has no qualms about verbally assaulting others for sport, please think twice. Would you do the same face to face? Would your parents be proud of that kind of unsolicited behavior? Or your boss? Or significant other? Or anyone else you truly care about?
Would you want to be the recipient?
Stream of consciousness over. Thank you for letting me get that off my chest.