In today's world of constant Internet connection, it has become extremely easy for people to share their opinions and beliefs over social media. This is not a terrible thing, providing a voice to those who are not otherwise heard is one of the great benefits of the Internet. The issue arises however, when someone who believes different from the original poster retaliates by verbally attacking and belittling them. It makes me wonder if we, as a society, have always been this angry and bitter toward our fellow man and the Internet has offered us a "safe" place to voice the vitriol and disdain toward others. Or, perhaps is it because the Internet has made the world a much smaller place, thus causing us to become vulnerable and frightened that if we do not fiercely protect what is "ours" we might lose it to those less fortunate?I have many friends and family members who have different political and religious views than I, however I would never call them names or tell them they are stupid for having a different point of view. I try to see things from their perspective, I try to remind myself about the generational and socioeconomic environmental differences that may be causing our differing viewpoints. I try to be empathetic and sensitive and respectful, just because I disagree with them, does not mean that I hate them. But that does not mean that I will tolerate hatred and bigotry based on superficial differences and I expect the same from those I associate with, on-line and in real life. It pains me to know that hate and lack of empathy has ended friendships and has destroyed families.
I keep hoping that we will somehow find a place where we can accept our differences, and open our hearts and our minds in effort to learn from each other. But I do not know if that will ever happen. I do not know if you can close the gates of hatred once they are opened. Every time I log on, I see people from both sides bashing each other and I wonder where all the adults ran off to. It almost feels as if I've crash landed on a deserted island run by pre-teen boys as described by William Golding's "Lord of the Flies". I keep hoping rescue comes soon to save us from ourselves.