The internet and the so-called social media sites are ablaze with hateful posts and hateful performative Mimes. Apparently ugly language and aggressive positions is what gets people energized. The algorithms behind the social media sites glorifies these posts so that those on the extreme politically and those who are hateful bullies have their posts featured and people respond with “likes” or opposing hateful rhetoric. The majority of the people in the middle, almost 85% according to some estimates, are left to respond or stay silent. It's as if those in the middle cannot turn away from the horrific car crash, so they slow down but do not stop to help. The result is that the social media sites are accelerating the popularity and pervasiveness of hate in all its forms. Why? Because their only currency is attention. Our attention is being turned into cash, and I mean billions of dollars. Those that benefit from the divisive culture generated could care less what actually happens in real life. Life on the streets of our neighborhoods and cities become more tense and conflicts tend to pop up seemingly out of nowhere.
The power of the “big lie” has been demonstrated most recently in national politics. But it doesn’t only exist in the political arena. The bullying that takes place in middle schools and high schools is a carbon copy model of what we now see in larger society. One person in a clique tells a lie about someone else who may not be popular with the clique or their opposing faction. The rhetoric escalates on social media until there is a violent confrontation or someone commits suicide. These situations have become normalized throughout society. Those in the middle who are not directly effected stay silent and glued to the scene to see what will happen. Sure, they will condemn the outcome and wring their hands about the absurdity of the events but will not have the courage to step in and break up the calamity before any lasting harm is done. This is how and why the haters are winning.
One day the haters will come for you and there will be no one to help you or stand with you. I love this country and the principles it aspires to. Problem is, it's getting more and more difficult to reach these lofty goals when it feels like everyone is at each other’s throat. No one is talking and discussing how we get to a beautiful, loving place – we’re just screaming into the ether of social media at each other. Keep silent and the haters will ensure there is no society left in which to be social.
The Angry Man
We all know an angry man. It seems he always speaks with passion even when the words appear