Outside Looking In
Social media has now made it nearly impossible to voice an opinion without being lambasted by someone. Yet, we feel it’s important to let everyone know how we feel with little regard to someone else’s feelings.
It used to be easy to have a modest debate over a cup of coffee; now it’s getting downright ugly.
This was never more evident than on the nation-wide political scale for those who followed the impeachment proceedings. People across the country hid behind their electronic device and said whatever they felt was necessary. In the old days, if you had something negative to say to someone or about someone, you said it to their face. Obviously, the number of those speaking out then was a mere trickle to the flood of social negativity we read today.
But it’s not just President Trump calling someone a liar or claiming the media is reporting “fake news” when something negative is reported. Nor is it just Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez calling someone an idiot for not understanding her Green New Deal.
The ugliness is prevalent on all levels and from all ages, genders and political parties. Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing until things turn ugly. Political debates on Facebook, even on a local scale, have at times descended to name-calling. Sometimes the banter gets so ugly that it can be difficult to read.
One of my friends posted a photo of Abraham Lincoln on my Facebook page with a humorous caption that poked fun at Democrats. It was not a vicious attack and I figured others would find it humorous and clever, no matter if they were a donkey or an elephant, so I left it on my timeline.
Within 30 minutes, I was messaged by 10 to 12 people blasting me for posting it, even though I hadn’t. Four people unfriended me over it and I haven’t heard from them since.
We should be able to have an opinion without terrible repercussions. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine recently reported that she had received several death threats since voting to acquit President Trump of impeachment charges. Democrats have felt the same wrath when speaking out.
No one is going to change anyone’s adamant political stance by incessantly blasting them for their views. Take the recent impeachment proceedings as an example. Nearly all Democratic members of the House and Senate felt he should be impeached, and nearly all Republican members felt he should be acquitted. They debated at length, although it fell upon deaf ears. And when someone crossed lines, such as Colin Peterson in the House or Mitt Romney in the Senate, some people reacted as if someone had killed a mockingbird. In this day and age, the only way anything will get done in a smoother and more timely manner is by compromise. Both sides will have to give a little.
The word compromise is defined as: “A deal between different parties where each party gives up part of their demand. In arguments, compromise is a concept of finding agreement through communication, through a mutual acceptance of terms — often involving variations from an original goal or desire.” It’s similar to a baseball player going through an arbitration process in which a designated non-partial arbitrator decides a fair amount in regards to his salary.
There seems a fat chance of this happening in the political circle. It would be like an immovable object going up against an irresistible force. Even if both sides agreed to utilize an arbitrator, good luck finding one willing to throw himself to the wolves with the decision he or she makes. Social media would blow up.
More on Lincoln
Last week I revealed what led to me being a collector of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia. I received numerous emails and text messages from people revealing the Lincoln items they possess, vacations they took to Washington D.C. where they viewed the Lincoln Memorial and Ford’s Theater, and more. One of the more interesting messages I received was from Chassidy DeRoode of Ghent. Chassidy went to high school in Lincoln, IL, a city of 14,000.
She noted that Lincoln’s school colors were red and green because when Abraham Lincoln was asked to christen the city they were naming after him, he christened it with watermelon juice; thus the colors red and green for the colors of a watermelon.
There is even a two-foot metal watermelon sculpture in the downtown district to commemorate the christening. The school’s mascots are the Railsplitters, a nickname Lincoln was given long before he became President of the United States, because he was known as a hard worker and split thousands of logs with his axe to create “split-rail” fences. Visitors who enter Lincoln are now met with the world’s largest covered wagon, a statue of Lincoln seated on the buckboard with a copy of the Constitution in his hand.
The Mascot is looking for part-time help in its front office, as well as a part-time reporter/photographer. The front office position would be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, and from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays. Responsibilities include answering phones, greeting customers, receiving and recording orders and payments, and some bookkeeping. The reporter/photographer position would be based on need and would require some weekends and some travel. Reporters can be trained. Some photography skills required. To inquire, call 507-872-6492 or stop in the Mascot office.