Since the 2016 election I have taken a somewhat intentional hiatus from social media. The vitriol in which people spew their thoughts, emotions, reactions to every minutia of information real or fake has caused me to hit the pause button. I have un-followed folks on both sides of arguments. It seems as though the 24/7 news feeds are streaming us with a constant barrage of “hypotheticals” where we expect the worst rather than assume the best of each other. It’s less news and more hot air and heated rhetoric. At the end of the day it is not entertaining, informative or really helpful. So I have backed off.
Some of the social media feed is simply a distraction from the day-to-day tasks that I have on my “to-do” list. Who has the time? Every now and then when I troll Facebook for a few minutes I am tempted to wade in the waters of political discourse. I have opinions, I am fairly bright and can make an argument. I have gone as far as writing a post but discretion got the better part of me and so I deleted my post before hitting the send /post button.
To some it’s borderline criminal to be a Republican. Others feel the same towards Democrats. The rhetoric has become so charged that the recent shooting at an Alexandria Baseball field should not surprise us. It’s so sad, and so unnecessary. There are wiser folks who can figure out and explain how we came to this place but the reality is we are here. If we do nothing we, our nation will not survive.
I am reminded of this passage from the bible… All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12) I do not want to be dominated by the positioning, posturing and endless barrage of commentary.
My freedom of speech is a guaranteed right under our Constitution. I can speak and say almost anything without recrimination from the powers of government. I may pay the price with people who disagree, who will un-follow me or call me out for my position but that does not take away my right as an American citizen to speak my mind. I would not want to take those rights from any of my fellow Americans, regardless of their political stance. In an Information Age; knowledge and data are expanding at an unbelievable rate. There is too much information and not enough wisdom, reflection on all the information flooding our lives. .
Is it lawful to have a play that portrays President Trump being assassinated? Is it lawful to have an ISIS like beheading photo of the president passed around the internet? Evidently, Yes. Is it profitable? I would say no. It raises the tenor of the conversation instilling a real hate of one side against another. Let’s go back a few years, Is it a good idea to hang in a noose the a depiction of President Barak Obama in effigy? No, it is not helpful. Our enemies do this sort of thing. American citizens should not be enemies of each other. I believe this level of protest weakens our call to be One Nation. It is a clear and present danger to our democracy and way of life.
We can do and say many things legally but is it profitable?
We need a healthy debate on the issues facing our society and culture. We need wisdom on healthcare and tax reform. We need greater understanding, compassion and mercy regarding race and border security. We need to understand the real threats in this world in which we live. We need economic justice. We need to squash the ideologies that use violence and acts of terror. We need to respect others and choose to coexist amongst our differences. On all these issues and more we need a respectful, healthy exchange of ideas. We need to find compromise where we can and work for the common good.
One last thought, my friend David Teems recently composed some music, really an anthem to another biblical text…
whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8)
This was wise counsel in an age when Christians were being killed simply for being Christian. Yes my blood can boil when I hear certain rhetoric, I hang my head in disbelief over the hatred and heat in our national dialogue. So I pause and look for what is honorable in our nation’s leadership. What can I commend? What lifts my eyes to see something deeper, more profound and eternal? What is lovely and of good report? If I look for it I can see these things and meditate on them rather then the hate and evil in the world and in doing so we can alleviate some of pain and suffering. Maybe we should take this to heart and Think On These Things.