Dear Social Media Users,
I'd like to ask you to perform a courtesy.
Recall your six-year-old self on the elementary school playground. You're likely to have overheard (or perhaps made) statements like this:
- "She's stupid."
- "You're a fatso."
- "He's such a retard."
We all give a hearty frown of disapproval. These things are not said as constructive criticism, or to open a dialog or solve a problem. They're said out of malice. They're said to hurt. When we hear children say such things, we intercede. We try to explain to them that this is not appropriate behavior.
Now I'd ask you to consider a few recent one-liners derived from various social media:
- "Romney's a two-faced Mormon liar."
- "The Supreme Court are all smoking crack."
- "Obama is a fascist hell-bent on undercutting your freedom."
Of what constructive value are these? How do they help mature US citizens engage in meaningful political discourse? Who is better off after reading these statements?
I know it's an election year in the US. I know feelings are running high when it comes to politics. But ostensibly, if you're old enough to vote, you're old enough to discern a legitimate political point from a playground insult.
So to turn a phrase, act your age.
I'm not pointing fingers. I'm not naming names. Nobody's on the stocks for this. But from here forward, can we agree to operate at a higher plane of discourse?
If not, if you insist on using your God-given right to freely express yourself any ol' way you want, I will simply employ my Zuckerberg-given right to unfriend you.