Quite a contrast to my last post, when we were still in South Africa and having the time of our lives…
Now two weddings (Colorado and Germany), one puppy (Ellie), and one year of marriage later, I’m sitting at my desk trying my darndest to study for two upcoming exams, Neuropsychology and Arbeits- und Organisationspsychologie (best translated as work and organizational psychology…?).
Of course I wouldn’t be a student without the typical Facebook distraction. Today my blood has been boiling, however, because I am one of those that actually occasionally embroils herself in a Facebook argument. I know it’s usually pointless. I don’t usually get myself into these messes unless I think the person might have the potential to be swayed and I feel like I have enough knowledge on the subject to not make a fool of myself. If I’m honest, it may be partly due to the fact that I miss being able to sound eloquent and intelligent, presenting arguments free of fallacies…any platform I have for that here usually requires German rather than English. But anyway, I read a comment, I had to respond. The original post was talking about the ridiculousness of (trigger warning) the fact that Brock Turner, the rapist, goes free, after three months of jail, and no one seems to be that upset about it, rather calling him the “Stanford swimmer” or some such thing that minimizes what he did. The comment that someone left behind was that he is not a rapist, because by California definition of rape, he did not rape the victim, but rather *just* sexually assaulted her. He also didn’t believe that 1 in 4 women experiences sexual assault, rape, or attempted rape in their lifetimes. I don’t think this man knows what a comment like that feels like to someone who has been assaulted, let alone raped. It angered me that he did not do any kind of research, just left a comment, and then intentionally and vocally unsubscribed from the post, letting his words reek havoc as they would, not willing to answer to any kind of argument from the other side.
This isn’t the only issue that has resulted in complete polarization of commenters on social media. Athletes taking a knee at sporting events. Black Lives Matter. Iraqi and Syrian refugees. It frightens me that people can call someone they have never met all kinds of terrible things, write assumptions based on little evidence, post articles coming from “reliable” sources (someone’s mom’s blog), and get away with it, receiving likes, shares, reposts until the “information” melds itself into the subconscious.
With the presidential election coming up, polarization is a dangerous thing. I am grateful that, no matter the personal beliefs of my immediate family members, I am generally able to have a level headed discussion with them about the issues at hand, the pros and cons of party candidates. I am encouraged by the many young people I encounter who are able to see both sides of an argument and realize that, more often than not, the solution to a problem lies somewhere in the middle.
Bit of a ramble. I feel like 2016 hasn’t been the greatest of years in our world, and sometimes it leaves me down.
I have to hope that the leaders of tomorrow learn that choosing a side, rather than working together to find compromise, only spawns more animosity. Especially, I hope that Christians remember that Jesus said, “blessed are the peacemakers”, “blessed are the merciful”, and “love your enemies”. I hope they long for opportunities to practice what they say they believe. I hope they seek out ways to love and be a servant of all, not just those who hold the same views, are of the same political party, orientation, skin color, religion, or culture.
Til next time, I promise it will be sooner rather than later…