Now that the newly elected President of the United States is in office, some of the loudest shouters and bullies have quieted down a bit. It’s been a relief. Sadly though, there are some people who seem to be consciously trying to incite something, much like Trump has been accused of doing on January 6th, with words.
Having lived in Lancaster County, PA for over 14 years and working in the hotel industry, I, of course, became invested in the people and places there. As such, I still follow the one local news station that is located in the county and whose most important stories are often centered around the county.
Recently, there was a post on their Facebook website about a couple who had been married for a large number of years, who both contracted COVID and who both died from complications of the virus – within hours of each other! It was intended, no doubt, to be a heart-touching story. The very first comment to the post claimed, “It’s Biden’s fault.” Shortly down the list, someone else added ” I thought Biden said he had a plan! Why are people still dying?” There were not a large bunch of comments made, but 95% of them were negative comments towards Biden.
My first reaction was to be stunned! I tried to wrap my head around why anyone would chose to make the shared story into a political event. My second reaction was one of ire – angry at the persons who felt it was necessary and proper to make those kinds of comments particular to this story.
Here’s where my conundrum comes in….. Do I keep quiet and move on, or respond in some way? I mean, I’ve heard countless times that bullying happens because someone insecure wants/needs to make you look or feel bad, and if you ignore it, the bully will get tired of not being able to get you to react and move on. On the other hand, I have never forgotten having read the words that John F. Kennedy said during riots and other protests rocking the country in 1963 – “An innocent bystander in today’s world is no longer innocent.”
While it’s my opinion that Donald Trump set a newer bar in the definition of bullying, many of those he attempted to bully took the higher road and chose to ignore him. What played out is that Trump did indeed move on – to someone else to bully, to someone else, to someone else. So, while choosing to ignore him thinking things would change, they didn’t – only his victims did. And if we listen to the words of JFK, we as a nation decided to stand by ‘innocently’ as long as we weren’t the victims of his bullying.
I can’t convince myself that inactivity and/or lack of response doesn’t, in some way, condone the behavior itself. If we make no response, couldn’t the person acting out in negative behavior decide that our silence means we’re okay with his/her actions? If we choose to respond, we may well be setting ourselves up for additional aggression from the aggravator. I mean, it’s pretty safe to say that these people aren’t possessive of an open-mind, so nothing we say is ever going to make a difference.
I did finally choose to respond to those two particular comments on the post. To “It’s Biden’s fault”, I said something to the effect that I was sorry that his parents were unable or unwilling to teach their children to pay respect to the dead and not make someone’s death into a political comment.” For the comment about “Biden’s plan…why are people dying?”, I said something to the effect that I was sorry that our school system failed in not teaching him/her that having a plan is not the same as having a magic wand
I don’t know if I made the right choice and it appears in my search that the TV station deleted the post from Facebook to avoid any additional comments or let the comments that HAD been made to appear visible. Kudos to them for making that choice. And yea, I’m okay with seeing my comments disappear as well.
How is everybody handling this kind of stuff on social media? Do you consciously choose to turn a blind eye (which again, feels to me like condoning the action) or do you speak up? I still feel the need to speak up sometimes, but I am trying this new tactic of responding because it doesn’t lower me to their status of arguing but still allows me to make comment and not ignore. And this hasn’t been easy, as my hackles rise up pretty quickly at those kinds of comments. I’m trying to get my brain to pair up with the words “I am sorry that” whenever it reads that kind of post. I guess it’s my compromise between the two…