It goes without saying that social media has become a place for us all to voice our opinions in the hopes that if we “shout” loud and long enough, we will be heard.
This is not, of course, a new phenomenon… you know, the idea of expressing ourselves. It’s been going on since the beginning of time and is definitely the reason why countries like the United States made sure to include freedom of speech in our Constitution without having to fear some despot would chop off our heads. I know, terrible image so here is a rainbow with a unicorn to counteract it…
Anyway, in theory, the idea of freedom of speech is a fantastic concept. We can say whatever we want…whenever we want, right?
In reality, though, it doesn’t play out so great especially these days on social media. And if the past week of monumental U.S. Supreme Court decisions and debates in state capitals throughout the South hasn’t proven that I don’t know what will.
I am not here to argue for or against any of the hot issues du jour, but I am here to plead for common decency as I became yet one more victim to another human being’s very mean and cruel spirit via social media. I am talking a message of such hate that I couldn’t sleep after reading it. It was only 5 words long but I am telling you they were the ugliest 5 words I have ever had directed at me personally. And while I know I have to ultimately feel sorry for anyone that feels it is necessary to use Twitter, Facebook or any of the thousands of online outlets to make such horrible statements, it still hurts me to my core.
If you don’t know me personally, don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook and have never read any of my blogs until now, then I will tell you that I am a rather tongue-in-cheek kind of gal. I simply try, as my tagline claims, to keep things real one day at a time.
I suppose my definition of “real” is mine and mine alone, but I am overall a good person who is just trying to get through each day with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. I know, very corny but true and it is the reason I embraced social media years ago. Sure, I wanted to spread the word a little faster and easier about the baked goods business I had at the time, but I am a people person and to me that is what social media is about…the people, especially the ones we might otherwise never meet.
So, call me crazy but…when I saw what was a very disturbing message from someone on my Call Me Crazy Maybe But fan page after the #SCOTUS gay marriage decision, I seriously questioned closing all of my social media accounts. I know, I shouldn’t ever give one person that kind of power, but I definitely didn’t feel like smiling or singing the rest of the day.
The following morning while I was still feeling my social media sting, I was compelled to do something with the overwhelming disappointment I had regarding such a hateful message. I am smart enough to know I will never change anyone’s opinions on such matters, but I was still curious about the person behind the message.
I checked out the woman’s Facebook page (yes, I was kind of shocked that it was a woman) and it wasn’t filled with what I expected…more hate and disdain. It was actually a page filled with messages that if I didn’t know better was from a person with great compassion and no tolerance for ignorance especially this one…
Side note: The source for the photo above was the Single Parents of Children With Autism Facebook Page but they had nothing to do with the woman that posted it.
I guess the problem is the woman who sent the message to me wants all of us to walk a day in her shoes as a parent with an autistic child but doesn’t appear to be willing to do the same for others, most obviously anyone who is part of the LGBT community.
Ignorance is the true tragedy of our society ladies and gentlemen and I wish more than anything I could sprinkle some magic pixie dust and make it disappear into thin air. And, yes, that does make me a dreamer as well as a realist.
A few months ago I wrote a blog about two women that I met through a local business organization who were finally able to get married in Florida after the U.S. District Court officially made it legal in our state (Brenner v. Scott). As I mentioned in the blog, I was so honored to have been there to witness their union. And I didn’t receive a single negative comment on that blog nor on any of the social media pages that it was posted.
I do remember, though, someone asking me whether I was afraid to “put it out there” that I was in support of gay marriage and how it might affect the business I now work for.
If I only did business with people that shared every…single…one…of…my…beliefs I honestly would have no one to do business with. Isn’t that what we were supposed to learn in kindergarten, play nicely in the sandbox?
I know major companies were very quick to show their support of the historic gay marriage decision…big, well established companies with deep roots in Americana like …
I have to wonder if the haters that are gonna hate will be giving up on Garanimals and Original Recipe Buckets anytime soon.
So here’s the deal people…just be nice and stop trying to convince everyone you’re right and they are wrong. I honestly don’t think any one person or group has the answers. Agree to disagree and move on. I’m fine with those that feel it is necessary to unfriend and unfollow me as a result of anything I may post but for the love of whatever you believe in, don’t be nasty about it.
Maybe being part of a religious minority (i.e. Jewish) all of my life has made me more sensitive to the discrimination and hate that seems so pervasive in our society and world at large. Or maybe I am simply just a very sensitive soul who thinks that being 100% tolerant of all people regardless of race, religion, creed, color or, dare I say, sexual preference, is an all or nothing thing. Either you are or you aren’t…period, end of story.
Bottom line, social media is awesome but let’s all use it responsibly and then, maybe just maybe, as John Lennon said, we can in fact…
“Imagine all the people living life in peace.”
That’s all for now…#BlackerOut!