The Art of Civil Discourse

“Mainstream media is fake news.”

“Yeah, the only fake news site is [News Site A].”

“We’re talking about [person 1], not [person 2], who committed [accusation number eight].”

“[Person 3] is the greatest president we have ever had. G-d bless [Person 3]!”

“[Person 3] is the worst president we have ever had. [They] should be indicted for [accusation number eleventy]!”

“Four more years of [Person 4]!”

*sigh* Some things don’t change like they used to.

Both sides of the American political spectrum (I mean, let’s face it; even independent elected officials get a designation whether they tend to vote more side A or side 2) have basically learned how to fight the other with the same cookie-cutter catch phrases, the same overused memes, and worst of all, attack in a gang mentality. That gang mentality is similar to that one scene in the 1995 film, “Kids,” where Casper bumps into a random skateboarder and carnage ensues (skip to 4:48 in this video: warning violent attack). As a result of these weapons of social war, the art of civil discourse is dead.

This was one of the reasons why I decided to retire (mostly) from social media a couple of years ago. For people – friends and family alike – to grind the heels of their footwear into the ground and hold their stance on a set of information, regardless of its origin, is preposterous at best and malicious at worst. And I was no better than the next person with their beliefs and values. As a result of my actions in this social war, I ended up losing a lot of friends. The more friends I was losing, the more isolated and depressed I became. And I knew something had to give. It was either me or the social war.

I chose to give up on the social war.

I left Facebook unofficially in October 2017. I tried to establish a basic profile while having all of my activity go onto my page the following month, inspired by the one established by American actor and voice actor D.C. Douglas. Between November 2017 and January 2018, Facebook locked me out about four times. Each time I had to prove my identity. In the end, the last time I got back into that Facebook account, I deleted that, ending my 11-year on-again off-again relationship with the social network officially in January 2018.

Since I have been back (of sorts) in social media (you can find me and my engagements on Twitter here), I have found myself participating in some discussions over American politics with folks. And while some of these discussions led to name calling (I’m guilty of using “ok boomer”, heh), there was one conversation with a Twitter individual that led to a civil conversation. Unbeknownst to us, we had agreed to disagree on something without stooping below ourselves or utilizing the “mute” or “block” buttons.

Now that it is January 2020, I ask myself: if [whoever] is re/elected as president, will there be an actual civil war? Will the country divide, not by topography, but by ideology?

And if you don’t know who I am talking about, then maybe you should ask yourself: does it matter? Will it matter five minutes from now? Will it matter five years from now? Here’s the spoiler: it won’t.

Published by Vera This, Vera That

Disabled autistic writer and blogger.

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