I know some Associated Press style rules, but I just don’t feel like journalist. Trying to keep up with current events makes me angry to the point of stress. I look at websites like al.com, which is probably a mistake, and see how hatefully and stupidly people react to seemingly benign articles; and I die a little on the inside.
Any news site that allows comments on their articles ends up being a breeding ground for some of the dumbest things I’ve ever read.
Sites for major news sources like CNN, MSNBC and even NPR look like they are holding online Klan rallies in every comment thread.
I wish I could say that these strings of insanity only belonged to neo-conservatives and fundamentalist Christians, which are becoming harder to tell apart, but even people with liberal sensibilities are pitching in on this bonfire of idiocy.
Now, I’m not saying I’m better or smarter than these people, whoever they may be, but I do feel like I have something they don’t—the ability to shut up.
Not every news article needs to turn into a 10,000 word debate on the fate of our country. Just because you don’t like an article about Auburn or the University of Alabama doesn’t mean you have to spend four hours battling with faceless strangers on the merits of the 1986 Iron Bowl. Simply put, you are not accomplishing anything.
You will never convince a conservative to like President Barack Obama. You will never persuade a liberal to listen to Rush Limbaugh. You are not engaging in thoughtful discourse with a fellow human being; you are arguing with a Facebook friend about Chick-fil-A.
What you are doing when you participate in these ridiculous arguments is making yourself look stupid. No matter how smart or well thought out your diatribe may be, no one cares.
My father once gave me some advice after he saw a three day long fight I was having on Facebook. That’s right, I spent the at least two hours each day for three days trying to take down the tea party on the same site as Farmville. He said, “Son, you’re making yourself look like a fool.”
I want to encourage everyone, whatever your beliefs may be, to take my father’s advice.
What does it say about our society that we would rather spend time arguing with strangers than work to solve the issues we disagree on? The debate on universal healthcare is the perfect example.
I don’t know the actual number, but there is a large portion of our population that can’t afford to go to a doctor. The easy solution is to help them either through a government program or a non-profit organization.
That is not what’s happening.
Instead, Republicans and Democrats have spent almost three years and countless amounts of money trying to get the Affordable Care Act either put into law or destroyed. Why?
Because neither side is willing to back down or create a useful compromise, and all for the sake of political agendas. Again, it makes my head hurt.
The United States is obsessed with the idea that winning is not enough unless the other side suffers, and I think that is where we have lost our way. I believe in free speech and healthy debate, but saying all the fans of a football team should be euthanized, which I have seen multiple times on al.com, is insane.
It’s time to shut up.