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Words & Deeds

I don’t know about you but I am coming up on twenty years of being on social media. And during that time, I’m sad to report, that I have seen a real deterioration in the civility of human beings towards each other.

It feels like a certain segment of our society has gotten angry about just about everything. If you read through the comments on any post that has to do with politics, even in an indirect way, you will see it pretty clearly. This great divide was always there, but over the past five or six years, it has become quite toxic.

There have always been liberal and conservative schools of thought in free societies, and the whole idea was to disagree and make your point as respectfully as you could. Because nobody really wanted to be seen as a bully or a fanatic.

But that’s all changed. And not for the better. Mainly because it has morphed from healthy debate to unhealthy antagonism and in many cases outright hatespeak.

Now you might think I’m talking about America here, but it’s by no means contained to that country. It’s pretty much everywhere you look. And the fact that people can hurl these nasty slings and arrows from a relatively safe distance has, I believe, been responsible for the exponential increase in this type of online behaviour.

If I was writing this a couple of years ago, that would have pretty much-summed things up., But this situation has morphed again, into real threats of physical harm from people who are fanatically in disagreement with others.

So the loss of civility really becomes just the tip of a much deeper iceberg of ideological fortresses firing at each other. Not so much to convince the other side of whatever position they have,  but to harm them with insults and threats and intimidation.

Now, for sure, this is only happening in a relatively small subset of each country’s population. But it’s way more than the fringe thing than it used to be.

The trouble, I believe is with social media itself. There is so much blather and propaganda disguised as information that people are, unwittingly, for the most part, forming their opinions from sources they aren’t questioning.

One of the big bones of contention these days surrounds the whole Covid 19 issue. There is a pretty substantial anti-vax movement out there that is getting their information from somewhere. But there is so much misinformation out there that it’s really hard to find out what’s real and what’s not anymore.

In order to make an informed decision you really need to look at the available government statistics, and not just take someone’s word for it. If you do, I sincerely believe you will find that vaccines have been responsible for a great deal of the containment of this virus. Those who have been vaccinated are better protected than those who are not. That’s the indisputable fact.

But because there is so much misinformation out there from questionable sources, people can actually end up believing that quite the opposite is true.

At the end of the day, we all have to make our own decisions. But social media has made it far too easy to form opinions based on other opinions. And once they have formed their opinions, they become, through some weird social media osmosis, extremely pissed at anyone who tries to correct them or offer a dissenting opinion. This then deteriorated into name-calling and worse.

Granted, for the most part, it’s all just a lot of hot air blowing around. But then some kid named Kyle shows up at a demonstration and kills two people with a semi-automatic rifle he wasn’t even old enough to legally own. And you have to wonder about words and deeds.

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Jim Murray
Jim Murrayhttps://www.bebee.com/@jim-murray
I have been a writer since the age of 14. I started writing short stories and poetry. From there I graduated to writing lyrics for various bands and composers and feature-length screenplays, two of which have been produced. Early on in my writing career, I discovered advertising. While the other media have drifted in and out, communications writing and art direction have been the constant through a 20-year career senior positions in Canadian and multi-national agencies and a second career, which began in 1989, (Onwords & Upwords Inc), as a strategic and creative resource to direct clients, design companies, marketing consultants and boutique agencies. Early in 2020, I closed Onwords & Upwords and opened MurMarketing which is a freelance strategic development/copywriting/art direction service for businesses working to make a positive difference in the world. I currently write long format blogs in 4 different streams, encompassing, entertainment, marketing, and communications, life in general, and the renewable energy and recycling industries. These are currently published on beBee.com. I have, over the years, created more than 1500 blog posts. I live with my wife Heather in the beautiful Niagara Region of southern Ontario, after migrating from Toronto, where I spent most of my adult life. I am currently recovering from spinal surgery and learning to walk again.

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5 CONVERSATIONS

  1. Wow. That’s the most really civilized comment I have received on a political/social post I have done. I can’t really disagree with much of what you said, except for a couple of points. My logic regarding Covid vaccinations is simple. We are all better off if the vast majority of people are vaccinated. I think that most of the people who object to this are doing so for political reasons and not health or science related reasons. I also have a slight disagreement with your point about the the news media.
    Certainly sides were taken, but as far as I know, CNN reaches very few people who would get their information and from their opinions from say Fox news. And I do agree that statistics are corruptable.
    I think the main problem that the US has is that they have been stressing rugged individualism for such a long time now, that when it came time for the whole population to act as a collective entity, it proved to be impossible. In Canada, we tend to pull together to a greater extent, mainly because our political parties are more centrist, and there are fewer dissenters. Believe it or not the tensions in your country contributed greatly to cooperation here, because nobody really wanted to see and kind of civil war erupting. And I’m afraid that’s what’s coming in the US.
    Thanks for the thoughtfulness of your comment. You sound like a sane centrist Republican. I hope there are enough of you to flush out the toxic wing of your party and bring it back from the no-man’s-land of the far right.

    • LOL… I am actually an Independent with conservative values… but I absolutely agree their is an unhinged extremist side to the right. I’m not part of that rabble. Just know that if I comment it is because I value the article and the author. I am not trying to start a literature war on BC-360… only to present certain facets of an argument that may come from a different place. As you stated, civil is the key word. It’s not always easy, but we all need to get that peaceful center. Take care Jim. 🙏

    • We do indeed need to get there. I’m probably what you would call a Liberal. I have done work for both parties, and when I was in the agency business, there was very little ideological difference. The Conservatives here are trying to move more to the right, but it really is uphill work in a country that is as centrist as Canada. Thanks for the conversation. I read a couple of your posts this morning. I see exactly where you are coming from. Stay sane, brother.

    • Jim… I gotta add this footnote… I did watch a few minutes of the trial this morning. Watching that kid try to conjure up crocodile tears was indeed pathetic. He’ll certainly never win an Academy Award… Good grief. 😖

  2. Lots of great points Jim, but in many ways… you are taking your own veiled shots with your article. I know this because I do the same in my own articles. That is an observation… not an attack on you. We are both infected by the rhetoric of our ideology. But guess what… I am perfectly fine with that. It is okay to be hardened in our philosophy. I do not apologize for my viewpoints, nor should you. As long as we remain objective and open-minded, we can have friendly, spirited discussions. We have both absorbed toxicity and radiation from online sources. For instance, the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse is yet to be determined. While I am not defending his actions, the assumption is that he is a white supremist, mainly because that is what our legacy media and our current administration have already determined. He may well be found guilty, but let’s see where the facts and trial play out. Hopefully law and truth will prevail, then society can brand him accordingly. Lest we forget, Nick Sandmann was treated with equal measure by our prestigious media, yet he didn’t even shoot anyone. He ended up suing CNN for defamation… $250 million. As well, the riots of January 6th were in part stoked and fueled by a bloodthirsty media. For four consecutive years they poured gasoline on the Trump-hate fire, then fawned outrage while ignoring the looting, rioting and burning of Seattle and Minnesota. It’s truly sad how many double-standards exist on both sides. Worse, it feels as if we are experiencing an unspoken Cold War in America. Perhaps it is different in lovely Canada, but here it is a powder keg ready to ignite.

    More to your point, the toxic nature of humanity flows like magma on social media. I quit LinkedIn because of the open hostility and ignorance… often directed towards conservatives. You and I are polar opposites, but I appreciate your willingness and determination to defend your position. We can still have a civil conversation regarding sources of information. As for vaccinations or anti-vax sentiments, the assumption is that people who resist are dangerous fools. Perhaps some are… but many have very logical and principled reasons. It is a disease manufactured by scientists in a foreign laboratory. Let’s hold those accountable for lying first before we target citizens who are rightfully skeptical. Following the science is important, yes, but that same science and those same statistics are often corruptible. I am resistant to trust anything my government tells me as fact, let alone forces me to do against my will… all this while scores of infected immigrants enter the southern U.S. border unchecked against Covid. Again, the vast double-standards. I’m sure we could duel off a cliff, but I don’t want to. I enjoy your articles and your approach. Besides, neither of us are willing to budge… such is the nature of our struggle as human beings. I wish you nothing but the best, and hope you continue to stand your ground on many divisive topics. That is what freedom is all about! Best regards sir…

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