Friday, August 14, 2015

Standin' On My Soapbox

As we are entering another (dear Lord, help me) election season, I'm already noticing some things on social media.  They're here year 'round, but they become overwhelmingly apparent during election season.  

I'm seeing memes, videos, "news" clips, personal rants - every. day. - multiple times a day - from all kinds of folks - about the upcoming campaign. 

We live in America. We get to say what we want, almost without limit or restriction, to anyone we want, any time we want. And boy, are we ever doing that. I am already at my limit with slander, gossip, ugly rhetoric, mocking... I see it from every political persuasion, from every religious and non-religious vein, from every economic category.  But, speaking as a follower of Christ, and speaking to, likely primarily, other followers of Christ, I am the most saddened by us. There couldn't be anything less like Christ than what I've already seen in the brief time since this season opened up - from us.

We get to say what we want. I get that. We have rights. I know. We are Americans. I get that too.

What I'd like to see more of is you telling me who you're voting for, who you're researching as you consider supporting them, why you're voting for them, or the reasons you're considering them.

This would be helpful.

What I'd like to see less of is who you're NOT voting for, who you're "researching" so that you can tell us how horrible they are.

This is not helpful.

We are so prone to reading something that supports our world view, our opinion, our bias, and we just hit share with little to no thought of the consequences. I'm certain that, at some point, I have been guilty of this.

True? I have no idea - but it must be true if it agrees with what I believe!  
Kind? It doesn't matter as long as it's true!  
Helpful? Again, doesn't matter as long as it makes me feel better about myself!
Slanderous? Doesn't matter. Even if it may not be completely true, they're horrible people so they deserve it!

We are followers of Christ. Truth MUST be our priority. Truth IN LOVE must be our priority. Being right is not the primary objective. Proving our point is not the primary objective. Standing up for MY rights is not the primary objective. Slandering our neighbor should NEVER be our objective. It's so easy to vilify people we don't know personally, those we'll never have to look in the eye or sit across a dinner table from. Those people we're slandering? They're people. They're moms and dads, friends, coworkers. They're broken just like we are. They need Jesus, just like we do. 

If you haven't seen these websites, consider this a little bit of a PSA - there are places that, usually within 30 seconds, you can find the truth of something before you pass it on to the rest of your world. If you don't have 30 seconds to check it, then just let it be - the world will continue to spin without one more share.

These will help all of us. Some of you may have found others that are easy to use and reliable - I'd love to hear from you on what they are. I can't tell you how many times I've used them - countless. I can usually enter the first sentence of whatever I've read into the search bar of the website and within seconds have my answer. Seconds. Seconds to know if, at the bare minimum, it's at least true. Most of the time, y'all, it's NOT true. There are times that the quote may be true, but it's taken horribly out of context (and if you're wondering, passing it on out of context - even if they said it - is passing on a lie). There are other times that it was true - 15 or 20 years ago, but it's been long since resolved. Sometimes it is just a complete, shameless, lie. And sometimes? Sometimes it is true. Then I can work on deciding if passing it on is kind, helpful, beneficial to other readers, etc.

Check your facts. Immigration? Check it. Planned Parenthood? Check it. Welfare? Check it. The Democratic or Republican candidate that you hate? Check it. President Obama? Check it. Former President George W. Bush? Check it. Minimum wage? Check it. I have STRONG opinions about nearly everything in this list and I'll share them openly if you ask me. But passing on lies helps no one. Spewing hate and ugliness does nothing constructive.

Let's be kind, y'all. Just be kind.

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