August 22, 2017

I Am so Tired of Defending my Optimism.

I’m sure what I am about to write will anger a few people—which I deeply regret—but someone needs to say it.

There is a great big world out there that does not include Facebook, Twitter, or television news.

In my travels with work this week, I have found myself in various neighborhoods with a variety of people of different ethnicities and backgrounds and I have been inquisitive about how all of this media coverage is effecting everyone in their day-to-day lives.

Obviously, my research has been anecdotal, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting. Most people I see “in real life” are not really experiencing what’s being portrayed on television and social media. They are working, they are driving up from the city to drink wine, get silly, flirt, and laugh…and live.

I’m beginning to get suspicious that what is being incessantly fed to us over social media and television news, is really just to keep us divided, or sell advertising. Don’t get me wrong—I am well aware of what took place last weekend. You’d have to have been in a coma not to know. But, the need for this negativity to continually keep ricocheting from the television to Twitter to Facebook to late night TV and back again—I really don’t see the point.

Someone brought up the idea recently that these marches have been going on for years, but this one became so publicized, it was as if civilization was coming to an end.

I, personally, wasn’t terribly effected by the news because, truth be told, I don’t own a television. I do, however, spend time on social media and it really became an ugly circus this past week.

Typically, I don’t engage in arguments over ideologies or political views because it has always been the quickest way to get all spun out in a whirlwind of anger and depression, but this week I noticed that my “friends” were finding creative ways to try to drag me in the muck.

One person, who I have been friends with for decades, actually took the time to stop by the most innocuous Dr. Wayne Dyer quote to pick a fight. The quote was about not judging others and they yelled with their keyboard:

“This is a time to judge people! I will not allow these evil forces to…” and on and on and on.

A Wayne Dyer quote? Really? Here is a man who dedicated his life to extolling the virtues of not feeding the anger and hostility in the world and you just decided that all of those years of work and contemplation are no longer relevant?

Then there was the person whose status went on to say that she is keeping track of who is not being verbal about their vehemence with what was going on. “I see you,” she warned.

So, we have finally reached a point where it is not enough to disseminate as much malevolence as you can, but now you are allowed to decide if your neighbor is “woke” by the volume of negativity that they are posting. I mean how many people need to share the same awful video? It showed up in my newsfeed in eight or nine places—that seems like more than enough.

When you reach a point where you are alienating the people who share your ideology because you do not approve of how they are advertising it on social media—you are sadly becoming just like the thing you despise.

Think about the time Mother Theresa—a woman who you may have heard was canonized for her prolific work with the poor and downtrodden—explained, “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”

I am not suggesting that we all become ostriches with our heads in the sand. But, there is truth to the saying that what you constantly think about expands. For this reason alone, I don’t find it reasonable to present myself to the world in a bitter and acrimonious way.

The world is doing just fine without one more angry person.


Author: Billy Manas
Image: The Wizard of Oz/Imdb
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Danielle Beutell
Social Editor: Leah Sugerman

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