I've been off social media more and more lately because of work obligations, but also because I'm just tired of the tone. Maybe I'm overly sensitive, but I am so discouraged to see people turn so angry with each other, assuming the worst about people they've never met. Or, worse, people they've known for years.
We seem to be losing our ability to be soft and gentle. Then we act as if this is good. I really don't think it is and it concerns me that we speak with pride about various manifestations of this trend.
Everything seems to be a cause for taking offense and proving how terrible our foes are; we seem to truly delight in assuming the worst about each other and then shouting it from the rooftops, often in a way that proves our own intelligence and superior virtue. We are destroying straw men and women with the vigor and alacrity our forbearers used to tame the wilderness and fight the Nazis.
I'm worried that we are quick to define enemies by the way they think, speak, and view the world as opposed to the fact that they do us actual harm. And I'm worried, terrified actually, that we don't care and maybe even think this is good. Because it's not. Not for our souls, not for our families, our friendships, or our country.
The milk of human kindness seems to have curdled lately, including in people I love and admire. I get swept up too. It's so easy. I found myself writing an angry post about an angry post last night. I deleted it when I realized it would add heat but not light, but it worries me how instinctive it was to raise my hackles.
I've blocked and unfollowed like crazy lately and while it's cleaned up negativity in my Facebook feed, it also feels like a loss, a surrender of sorts and makes me sad. I miss those friends, even if I don't miss the anger.
We seem to cherish the hardness of our hearts and souls. We celebrate it in many different ways each day. But I worry that we are not soft and don't even seem to want to be. I've been thinking and worrying about this a lot. I'm not terribly unique in being worried, nor am I particularly eloquent in my expression of that fear.
I don't know what to do about it. I don't know what any one of us can do about it except try harder not to get swept away. We must fight to hold on to what little bits of softness we have left in our hearts and, perhaps most of all, celebrate it when we see it in others.
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