Folks, excuse me as I dust off the old soapbox. I have something I need to get off of my chest. With the turmoil in recent weeks around the world and on our own shore, I am left in a state of bewilderment as to what is going on.
I know I come from the generation of grunge music and a general discontentment with everything around me. However, I really find myself shaking my head more and more. I was listening to a video on YouTube and I think the presenter summed it up pretty well — we’ve lost our virtue as a society.
Now, you can define virtue however you like. I won’t get into politics or morals here per say. But, I think we can all agree, the general kindness for our fellow human being is fading and fewer remnants of it remain.
I know quite a few people were upset by the news of Robin Williams’ passing. I was one of them. But what I was more disturbed by was the reaction of trolls on the internet to Williams’ daughter Zelda — flooding her social media pages with doctored photos of her deceased father and other equally heinous acts.
How dare someone do that! How dare they! I don’t care who you are, no one, and I mean, no one deserves that. I lost my father to a brain aneurysm in my early 20s and cringe at the thought that someone would do something like that, period — let alone during a time of grief.
Reading the reactions to the situation in Ferguson I equally shake my head at both sides of the issue. Violence counteracted with violence gets us nowhere. Looting does not get your point across. Likewise, pointing military-grade hardware at unarmed journalists and other civilians doesn’t help the matter either.
I am all for peaceful demonstration and standing up for your beliefs. I will champion for the underdog whenever I get the chance; it’s the social activist in me. But I can’t justify destroying people’s livelihoods who have nothing to do with the situation at hand, or threatening and/or hurting those who are not harming anyone.
I just don’t get it. I look around and I see more and more violence, hatred and distrust.
A little closer to home, my friend Beccie and I decided to participate in the ALS ice bucket challenge. We like to help groups however we can. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. So after soaking ourselves and challenging our friends, we posted the video online. Call me naive, but I really didn’t think that of all things I posted to my Facebook would cause a backlash. If I’d posted something political or religious, I’d get it. But two people trying to do something nice and have a bit of fun? I was naive.
Within minutes of the video being online, one friend who I was sure would have stepped up to the plate informed us she “didn’t do internet fads.” While I found that disappointing, I dismissed it. When her friend, a man I have never met, left a video in response that essentially said anyone participating was only seeking attention and not doing it for the right reasons — I got a little hot under the collar.
You don’t know me, Mr. Random Internet Person. You have no clue what I do or what my intentions are. If you think I dumped ice on my head to get attention or become famous, you are sorely mistaken. I know we’ve established I’m naive, but that doesn’t make me pretentious or deluded. I just don’t understand the need to attack someone you don’t even know for doing something most people would consider positive.
I’m not saying we should all hold hands and sing “Kumbayah,” and please don’t think I am suggesting the actions of Mr. Internet are on par with the situations I mentioned previously. Not even in the same league; not even the same sport. It merely serves as another example of that lack of virtue or maybe someone’s mom not reiterating that “If you can’t say anything nice…” advice enough.
I just think if we showed our fellow man an ounce of respect, we’d all be a lot better off. Maybe it is because I subscribe to the credo of live and let live and try to treat people the way I would like to be treated. I don’t know.
What I do know is I am looking for the brakes on this handbasket our world’s riding in.