We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."
One of my more politically divisive Facebook friends posted this quote yesterday morning, which she termed her favorite from Martin Luther King. She used it as an admonition to differing "political sides," capped off with an impassioned "Get it the Hell together!"
Of course, she then attached with it an Instagram that was a less-than-subtle put-down of Obama. This may have her weakened her main point just a wee bit.
Since today is not only Martin Luther King day but also Inauguration day, it seems that all the Obama-haters are doing their darnedest to compare the two in an attempt to pull a Lloyd Bentson and point out that "Obama is no Martin Luther King." (Those of you who aren't 800 years old can look that one up later on.) Now, I think it's probably a safe bet that Martin Luther King, if he were alive today, would probably not be an Obama hater...and also, that many conservatives that hate Obama would probably not have been huge lovers of Martin Luther King, back in the day. And besides that, did Obama compare himself to MLK, somewhere? I must have missed that one.
My point is, linking a politically-charged Instagram to a plea for "getting it together" is probably a less-than-effective way to set an example for brotherly love. Then again, who the heck wants to set examples, nowadays?
We all do, I suspect...or at least, we all should try to do so more often. One of the reasons I've become less than enamored of Facebook recently (along with the persistent requests to play the Bubble Witch saga or try male enhancements) is that I'm finding it's making me less than enamored with some of my friends on Facebook.
Knowing them in the real world is one thing. Friending them on Facebook only to discover that they use their page as a 24/7 progroganda machine that promotes the same old tired invectives over and over again, packaged nicely in Instagrammatic splendor? Well, it gives me pause. It's like seeing someone in a certain light that you think could be pretty cool, and then discovering when they open their mouths that they have extreme halitosis. Do I really want friends like that?
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for differences of opinion. However, what I find is that in most cases, there's absolutely no room for civil debate. Uncivil is more like it...it's all angry, there's no brotherhood at all. Invariably, the slogan and pictures, along with the verbiage that accompany them, are all hateful to the other side (whatever side that might be.) If you make the mistake of commenting to provide...another voice? Something out of lock-step? Well, that instantly propels you into a steel cage death match between that person and about a dozen of his or her like-minded friends, who all think you're an idiot.
My heart just can't take the pain.
I honestly thought that after the elections were over, things would get less polarized. However, the Newtown tragedy brought things into a whole new world of crazy. Now it's all guns guns guns, all the live long day. If you support gun legislation, you're either someone who hates basic American rights and prefers to live in a dictatorship, or you're a fool. If you don't support gun legislation, you're a throwback to the Wild West who clutches to your bosom the right to blow away whoever the hell you want...or, you're a fool.
There's just no in-between. It's like the junior high school debating club--you take the pro side, you take the con, and have fun trying to score points for your side. Hulk smash. It's either black or white, and no shades of ever grey are permitted. PS: Ninety percent of life is shades of gray.
Thank god for the hide button. That at least can bring the conversation back to superficial again. But why does that sort of sanity-censorship have to take place? Why do we elect to communicate in such an outrageous fashion? Is it that we fear that if we don't make it outrageous, don't make it snap, don't make it instantly Instagrammable, our opinion will go unnoticed?
So, happy Martin Luther King/Inauguration day, brotherhood of man. Is it foolish to wish that some semblance of civility could be introduced into the political dialogue? My divisive Facebook friend's point was a good one, in spite of the bells and whistles she was compelled to add. But the bells and whistles simply cannot be dismissed...how can we expect to work together as brothers and sisters if we spend our time ringing those bells and blowing those whistles, and removing any hope of working together, whatsoever?
I dare say, one's point could probably be made a damn site better if it weren't wrapped so snuggly in righteous invective.