Skip to content

Viral Vilification

For several years since the 2008 Presidential Election, I have made strides to distance myself from the political negativity that permeates American social life.

I learned a valuable lesson in the election season of 2008 when I wrote a vile comment in response to what I believed was an offensive political post. I unleashed rage in response to a Facebook post that I had interpreted as more ugly than the poster likely intended.

In short, I lost a friend. Upon reviewing my comments with a more level head, I realized that my response was overboard. So, I deleted the statement but too late.

From then on, I made an effort not to engage in political arguments online or offline. Hard work and years of effort gradually distanced me from the temptation of political rage.

Right now, I am witnessing a majority engaging in it. It is ugly and will lead to division.

Now that we are connected more than ever before, it is easier to divide.

There are many news posts online that I recognize as fake. I am not referring to “fake news” as much as I am referring to blatant misinformation.

I read one post that referenced a real executive order from over 20 years ago, but the Facebook post claimed the order was about something very infuriating. When in fact, one can look up said order as it is a matter of public record and find it was about financials, not the ugly horror the post claimed.

Viral vilification is very easy now. Those behind it should be ashamed of themselves for the damage caused.

Perhaps, this has always been around. Wars begin with misunderstandings, tempers, and poor moral choices. Word of mouth spreads the twisted views of another group like a virus. Now it is easier than ever.

Misunderstandings between people can begin with ineffective communication and flawed reasoning. This divisive toxin can spread through social networks both online and offline.

The more connected we are, and the more instantaneously we communicate, the more vulnerable our society is to an explosive political eruption. It is like dominos set closely together; it is effortless to start a chain reaction.

I believe that technology and mass communication is for the most part, beneficial. But, as with many innovations, it can be used both intentionally and unintentionally with devastating effects.

Let us be mindful of what we spread. Negativity pollution on a large scale can lead to scary consequences. With an incredible reach, we hold a great responsibility to share positive and truthful messages.

Standing up for justice is essential, but do so positively. Spreading anger will only stir up trouble as it will spark a wave of counter anger leading us all into chaos.