Oh, the name-calling and the slurs and the coded messages coming from both sides of the street… It’s a way to vent, to release some of that pent-up frustration and anger and dissatisfaction we’ve got bottled up inside. Sometimes it’s a bit humorous, sometimes it’s crass and tacky. It’s almost always a simplistic generalization of a complex, multi-layered issue. But that’s beside the point.
We’re all granted a finite number of days, an exhaustible supply of energy that is either sapped slowly from us over decades, or can be snatched away in a heartbeat’s time. And we’re spending some of that precious time doing what? Making snarky posts on social media and writing hateful letters or emails?
I, too, am sorely tempted to burn up my life battery on those tasks. However, I’ve lately caught myself thinking “but does it help?” when I want to strike back with an “eye for an eye” response. The answer, in almost every instance, is no, it won’t help. It may even make things worse.
Have a civil conversation with any reasonably rational person about the state of the world and you’ll probably find yourself in agreement that most everything is a giant mess no matter which team flag you’ve unfurled. And yet instead of finding ways to fix the mess, we sit in the middle of it and start throwing things at each other. It reminds me of my grandkids when I tell them to clean up the playroom. No one picks up a toy to put it away, they just look at each other and whine, “he’s not helping!” and nothing is getting done. Sound familiar?
I think there are better ways to choose how we use our time, and ways to vent that are healthier for all involved. It may not be the easy way, but the easy way rarely produces the best results.
By NIKI TURNER – firstname.lastname@example.org