I’m not feeling it this week. I try to be funny from time to these columns, or insightful or maybe informative. (I said I try. Didn’t say I always succeed.)
But I’m struggling a bit right now. Personally, I’m OK. But I see so much worry and heartache and genuine fear around me, it’s tough to know what to say.
I do find myself less tolerant right now. Not of races or genders or any of the other things that people decide they should dislike. I am a lot less tolerant of stupid.
The British philosopher Bertrand Russell once said, “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”
I think about that phrase a lot. Especially at times like this.
And again, social media seems to be the conduit for a lot of that stupid. I see half-baked opinions fly around. And if you don’t agree with that person, then you get mocked or shouted down.
I see heaps of indignance and friend turning against friend or families shouting at each other. I see people who are just trying to be honest and express themselves caught in the middle of a firestorm because they are too compassionate, or not nearly compassionate enough.
I worry about the long-term effects of that behavior. I don’t think some of the things I’ve seen people say to each other will be easily forgotten.
Remember, arguments on social media are free and open to the public.
There are a few lessons we’ve all learned over the years, but they seem to be generally forgotten.
1. The Golden Rule: Treat people the way you want to be treated.
2. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
3. Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.
Probably the most important is what Jesus refers to in the New Testament as the second greatest commandment. It is to love your brother as yourself. I have always understood that my “brother” is everyone else on this planet. Not just the people who think like me or look like me.