vendredi, mai 10, 2013

Selective outrage can make asses of us all

Benghazi! Mark Sanford! Climate change! Abortion rights defense! Anti-abortion horrors!

My twitter feed sometimes seems clotted with the voices of the ticked off, the morally righteous, the snarky and the occasionally annoyed.

Truth be told, I join them now and then.  Gun control is a reliable hot button issue for me, and I can often be counted on to rise, like a fish to the hook, when somebody NRA-affiliated riffs on the armed revolution that's a comin.'

But sometimes...sometimes I wonder. Why don't I see conservatives posting about the collapse of the Bangladesh factory?  Are there liberals campaigning for better schools in urban areas? Aren't people appalled by the rise in female mortality in more than forty percent of American counties?

In other words -- why can't we agree on anything?

I know who is going to respond to MY tweets or FB status updates on controversial topics (though I try to keep them under control). It's either people who already agree with me (wink, wink, nod, nod, we're club members) or people who vehemently do not.

But what do we accomplish with our rantings?

Whose lives do we make better?

Or are we simply satisfying ourselves -- and that basement dweller in some city two thousand miles away?

Or maybe two basement-dwellers -- we must be pretty insecure, given the volume of self-complimentary retweets.

Information -- that's great.

Some well-sourced opinion -- I've been known to change my mind. That's why I try to read across political fault lines.

But for Pete's sake -- the next time you are about to nail some person you've never met with a well-aimed arrow bent to your own perspective, take a deep breath.

Before you jump the snark, ask yourself who this is going to help in the long run.

Then think about whose blood pressure you might also be raising, and what you are really accomplishing.

In the spirit of "doctor, heal yourself," I'm going to try to administer my own medicine.

If, given due provocation, I can remember my own counsel.

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