Tag Archives: election

Don't Drink the Water

As I watch (and I admit, occasionally engage in) the meltdowns on Facebook and other social media, here’s a non-partisan thought on politics:

It’s not weakness to admit the shortcomings of the candidate or party you support. It’s not treachery to admit where the other candidate or party does well. Rather than making you a traitor to your own, it reveals you’re a person of consideration and character, refusing to be swept along by a stream of half-true headlines or news bites that tell you exactly what you might want to hear.
More than the evils of either (IMHO abysmal) main party candidate, I fear the drones on both sides who refuse to see anything that disagrees with what they want to believe.

Those who dismiss everything their candidate does wrong as if it isn’t on record and readily available for public review.

Those who turn on and savage public figures who they counted as allies for years prior to some perceived slight or difference of opinion.

Those who rely on the most suspect and sketchy source as fact when it is not supported by even one mainstream media outlet (and I include Fox in that).

This year I feel left with two horrible choices and perhaps a couple slightly better options that have no realistic chance of winning.

I want to blame the parties, the system, those in power.

But in my dealings with friends on both the right and the left, it’s all too clear that we’ve got the election the American people asked for.

I don’t unfriend people on Facebook. I may not agree with everyone but I like the variety of viewpoints (which I thought was one of the strong points of social media).

In light of willful, repeated ignorance in the face of several corrections or challenges, I’ve had to consider it several times now. Even people who concede one day that their extreme points take it too far–these same people will repeat the exact same words the next day as if it’s some obvious, unassailable truth.

In Rio, some sources report the water is tainted with sewage. Athletes are reportedly being advised: “Particpate, but keep your mouth closed to avoid contamination.”

I feel like that is good advice for social media over the next few months, as well as for the voting booth in November.

100 more days. (Followed by four years of further baseless and myopic vitriol on both sides.)

Good luck, America, and good night.

America, It's Malignant

This is a little old (early March), but it popped up in my Facebook feed and triggered some thinking. 

I don’t get Trump’s candidacy, in much the same way I don’t get how some people still support Clinton. It amazes me what we’re willing to overlook when we decide someone is the best choice–or the least horrible choice.

In this Vocativ article, they look at Twitter data to see how people are treating Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly throughout all the debacle between her and Trump over the last few months. Since the start, Kelly has been treated to a fairly constant stream of vitriol, much of it from people I’d bet thought the world of her prior to her brazen and irrational questioning of a Presidential candidate about behavior that could affect his performance in the election. 

It’s more proof, as if we need any, of the downside of social media. Just because everyone has a voice, it doesn’t mean we should listen. 

I want to point the finger at Trump and say, “Look at yet another example of what this man produces.” I don’t see him as Presidential.

But the article is challenging, because it points out how Trump might not even use a particular sexist term… yet data show usage of that slur spiking on Twitter in the wake of Trump’s comments. His mistreatment of Kelly got the ball rolling. Now he can sit back and his supporters “take care of that,” rushing to his defense by attacking his victim online, like a noisy protestor at a campaign rally.

Trump is merely the symptom, the bump on otherwise smooth skin that reveals there’s a tumor spreading beneath the surface. The real problem is that there’s too many of us happily encouraging and engaging in the same kind behavior under cover of the Internet’s relative anonymity.