An End to Rancor

by

I follow a few popular news aggregation websites. I won’t list them here. However, I will share with you a pattern I see emerging.

The early adopters enthusiastically participate in the community, sharing ideas and having lively debates. Sure, there are a few trolls around, but either they are ignored or banned.

Over time, the community grows, and a new element begins to overwhelm the old. Where lively debates took place, suddenly one side begins vicious attacks on the other. It rises to a fever pitch such that any news item or any mention of the hot topic sets off a number of people with outright hate and ill wishes on the other.

Rather than “fight” those unsavory few, people just leave. They don’t want to participate in a debate where one side curses or shouts epithets or behaves in ways even chimpanzees would find offensive.

So the community degrades until only one viewpoint is presented, with occasional contrary views that are quickly shouted down.

The process repeats itself as a new issue arises that divides those rancorous members. And one side leaves, and the community shrinks ever smaller still.

There is a certain element of our society that we have lost. It can be called reverence or respect or civility. It is the idea that simply because someone is a human being, they are entitled to a certain level of dignity, no matter what their background is. It’s why we don’t throw vegetables at the same people we execute for gross crimes against humanity. It’s why we don’t have to be disagreeable with people we cannot agree with. It’s why, no matter what your religious beliefs or political affiliation, we should be able to sit down, break bread together, and be good friends.

I challenge all my readers, on any side of the issues, whether you agree with me or not, to try and restore what we have lost. If you disagree with me, I won’t think any less of you as a person. I am not going to single you out for abuse or vile language. I may laugh at some of the things you say that are absurd, but I won’t think of you as absurd for saying it. I will try to find any way I can think of to take advantage of your arguments, but I won’t do it at the expense of you as a person.

I can only expect you would do the same.

What motivates me? My belief in a living Christ, who taught me that power, real power, doesn’t come from viciousness or vengeance. It comes from compassion and honor.

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