The story goes that after signing of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin said to his newly minted fellow Americans, “We must all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” In spite of this time of home quarantining, social media has given us the gift of staying in touch with each other. Even though we cannot be together physically, we are still laughing together and sharing our lives. Unfortunately, there are those who are taking this gift and twisting it to spread needless hate, shame, and blame on people. I say that in this time of crisis, we need positivity.
Please don’t spread hate.
This comes in the form of biased politics, rumors, and unsubstantiated “news” about people and their actions. When even the experts can’t yet seem to come to a consensus as to what’s going on and how to resolve it, is it really credible that someone with a keyboard, a blog spot, and an opinion is really going open everyone’s eyes to a solution? Maybe, but not probable.
My point is that we, as a society, seem to have forgotten what personal shame is, but love to publicly shame others. As I write this, it is April of 2020. The Covid Pandemic is taking hold of America and the world and we are currently living in an atmosphere of terror. And the worst part is that it isn't necessarily because of the sickness. We are living in fear of each other. One of the worst things about living in fear is that it motivates some to turn against their fellow human beings. Placing an article about someone far away who is flaunting quarantine isn’t going to stop that person from doing so. Placing hateful and untruthful memes about the actions of politicians both highly placed as well as local isn’t going to make things any different in a positive way. If anything, you’re going to help these people’s causes just as if you poured water on an grease fire. Your mistake will cause it to erupt even larger than before. On the other hand, if you starve it for oxygen, it soon runs out of fuel and dies.
This lesson isn't just useful for this pandemic. It's useful when it comes to any type of animosity. If you want end hate, don’t talk about it anymore. Don't give it your attention. Give it your silence. The hate will have nothing to grow on.
It’s not an easy lesson to learn and I’m just as guilty as anyone, but just because I haven’t gotten it right doesn’t mean I shouldn’t spread its teaching. Right now, we need to stay positive. We need to share what’s right about our world. We need to share what’s good about our world. Since we can’t directly help even our neighbors, we need to make them feel as if they’re not alone.
So when you see that link to that article that spreads hate, rumors, or manufactured scandal, go ahead and read it if you really feel the need to, but think twice before clicking the share button. Will spreading this really help anyone or will it just satisfy your temporary need to sooth your righteous indignation?
Hate is a lonely monster and attention is its only food. Starve it.
- S Chavez