Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm trying to figure out when things changed from polite disagreement to "I disagree with you so you are obviously not worthy of life in any form and should go away and die now you scum!" I mean, there once was a time when you could disagree with someone about politics or religion or other subjects and everyone would understand that it was simply that, a disagreement. The disagreement didn't mean that one person was essentially evil and the other wore a halo, it just meant that there were two sides (at least) to every viewpoint and there were always going to be people who supported each side.

Now I watch the political world with sadness and a longing for the days when disagreement was civil and polite. It really wasn't that long ago, I can remember it. Sure, things weren't as outwardly civil thirty years ago as they were during, say, the Victorian era but things were a darn sight more civil than they are now.

Have you ever read the comments on various news articles that appear on the internet? The article can be a fairly moderate story about something fairly middle of the road, and then the comments begin. People call each other names, they insult each other in graphic terms, and they rabidly blame every one of the world's problems on whichever entity they disagree with most. Some blame the President (whoever it is at the time) and some blame the "other" political party. Some blame gays, some blame straights, some blame Christians, some blame Muslims, and it goes on and on.

When did we lose the ability to discuss an issue with the intention of trying to find a solution? When did it become all about who is "right" and who is "wrong" without any thought given to how we can fix things? When did picketing the funerals of dead soldiers, or stomping on the head of someone holding a sign that we disagree with become acceptable? And they ARE acceptable behaviours, because if they weren't acceptable then they wouldn't be tolerated and wouldn't continue. But we see them, and actions like them, continuing every day.

If I had a wish from a genie, I think that I would wish that everyone from now til forever would receive immediate and appropriate consequences for every one of their actions. So if you make someone hurt, you get the negative consequences of it right then and there. If you rescue a stray animal, you get the positive consequences of it right then and there. Yes, this means that people will do good things out of self-preservation or self-interest, but you know what? I don't mind that if the end result is a nicer, kinder world. I'm just tired of how we seem to be spiralling down into this pit of cold-hearted negativity. The light of hope dims a little more every day, and that saddens me, because hope is such a basic need for humanity.

I wonder how many people will read this and find some way to be positive instead of negative? How many will take a moment to bite back words intended to hurt someone or degrade someone? How many will give a reasoned and thoughtful response rather than throwing more hatred against the wall to see if it sticks? I wish that everyone could be respectful of each other and the world that we are in, but every day I see evidence that respect is becoming a thing of the past along with (un)common courtesy.

I hope that I'm proven wrong, and that hope, respect, and courtesy all become part of our world once more.