31 March 2010

I Think You're A Jerk.

Computers and the Innertubes have changed our lives dramatically.
I pay most of my bills online. I buy most of our big-ticket items after finding the best price online. I stay in touch with my family either via email, Msn Instant Messenger, or Skype. If someone set an E.M.P. device off tomorrow and took these capabilities away we'd all be scrambling around like "Keystone Kops" for a while, wouldn't we?

But there's an ugly side of this system too.
Over in my blogroll you'll notice "Bloviating Zeppelin" listed there. As indicated, I do try to check most of the blogs on that list daily. BZ is a kindred spirit... I seldom disagree with him on matters of import.
If you go back and read some of his older posts and you'll see he had a couple liberals contributing comments there. One was mostly rational... although I disagreed with him most of the time on things political, he was at least trying to add to the dialogue and maybe illuminate why liberals think the way they do.
The other commenter was just a "hit and run" idiot...
His comments added nothing to the discussion and ended with childish name-calling. BZ must be a Saint... he was always more tolerant of both these guys than I would have been.
But then the unexpected happened. The guy that normally had something intelligent to add to the discussion stepped over the line... DRAMATICALLY, and "Saint" BZ became "BZ, bringer of Blogowner's wrath".

Much of what is written on Blogs is done anonymously. I have met a few of the commenters that come here in person. I have had email communications with a few more. A few are even listed as "Friends" on my Facebook page, so I obviously know MUCH more about them personally. But the folks that come by and say really nasty things would probably, for obvious reasons, want to remain anonymous. If BZ were a little unstable, (which he's not, thank Goodness!), I can see where saying the evil things his normally rational commenter said might make him go hunting for the guy that said those evil things if he knew how/where to find him. But the reason the guy felt comfortable saying them in the first place was because he knew there was little-to-no chance for repercussions.

So that's where we now find ourselves-
We have this wonderful system where we can easily communicate almost instantly with one another. We can freely express and argue about our opinions. And we can say nasty, vile things about one another with almost no worry of paying a price for being uncivil.
But we're getting angrier and angrier with one another.
We've now had the window of a Republican Congressman shot out. Liberal talk-show hosts are openly suggesting the world would be a better place if Conservatives were killed. Anti-Semitism is once again rearing its ugly head. Our "Uniter" President(?) is fueling the fire.

I'm afraid. Most folks I chat with are afraid. The fear builds and builds. In some, the fear begins to convert to anger. That anger causes more uncivil behavior. It seems to be a vicious cycle.

Our country is bankrupt. We have terrible unemployment and that situation is getting worse by the day. Our leaders are doing nothing to put people back to work... on the contrary, they are legislating and regulating in such a way that businesses are closing or outsourcing their work to countries with more "business friendly" attitudes. Folks who have money also have the ability to move that money elsewhere to protect it.

But the overall atmosphere...
It's one thing to have "anonymous" commenters adding stupid comments on a blog.
It's another thing entirely now to have discussions with relatives and acquaintances and have them suggest that rewarding negative behavior will resolve a problem. (A few members of my extended family are no longer welcome in my home because of comments they have made about "Socialism being a good thing".)
I could never have foreseen feeling this angry with loved ones.

We've seen a guy fly an airplane into an IRS office.
We've seen militants in Michigan trying to fan the flames of revolution.
We see folks on the left trying to further restrict our freedoms of speech, religion, and our right to protect ourselves.
How long can this go on before something really terrible happens?


Themav1977 said...

I'm not that worried about things getting out of hand.
Those very things you mention and Facebook and other social media provide an overpressure valve for people's frustrations left and right.
I just looked at my Outlook items the number was 1776. I'm sure there were periods of history were things were more "uncivil" in this country.

ddf said...

I wonder how it started in previous revolutions. Is this 'normal' human behavior, the building anger and distrust of our leaders prior to changing the government? Worth reading the American Spectator: "America's Quiet Anger

By James P. Gannon on 3.30.10 @ 6:07AM

There is a quiet anger boiling in America."

Is this the prelude to a long hot summer? I'm sorry, I just don't see a pressure relief valve.

cj said...

I was talking to a coworker tonight. He's a custodian and pretty much a liberal. Health care came up and he feels the same way I do. We talked a little more and he agrees that our country has somehow become something it is not meant to be.

It is conversations like this that give me hope that a violent revolution might be avoided.

It is a slim hope but I will do what I can to nurture it and hope for the best.


the golden horse said...

Don't you just love it when the far left start screaming it's racial. How can that be, when white people voted for Mr. O. and black people show up at the Tea Parties?
Then the coup De grace is the person that blew the lid on Jeremiah White in 2007, was actually a black man.
And then you have Mr. Hanks, who has to have been drinking some serious Kool-Aid, start spouting off about Pearl Harbor being a racial fight, since we hated the Japanese so bad.
I beg to differ with Mr. Hanks.
You had whites, standing next to blacks, standing next to filipinos, standing next to Asians from all walks of life including Japanese-Americans fighting in WWll, all fighting for this wonderful country that they believed in. Our country that was attacked, not the other way around. A country that their ancestors came here for the Freedom they would never have otherwise. Freedoms that are now being taken away from us chunk by chunk.
Yeah, GB, things are going to get much worse.
Now corporations can't stand up and shout, the HC bill will sink them.
People being forced to buy things they don't want nor might not need.
Drs. being treated like second class citizens.
Special interest groups running amuck.

"You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred." A.L.

I still say, impeachment or voter recall is the way to go. Both can be done.

cary said...

How long before it blows up?

How long is the patience of the average American citizen? I've heard people that are fed up now, and others who are still not boiling yet. Some from both groups are not very well informed, some from both groups are very well informed.

The common ground is that it's not just conservatives, or just whites, or just one pin-pointed group. It's a majority of the people in this country, from all walks of life, and who actually read what congress doesn't - the bills they are voting to pass.

Come November, if there is not a sea change of a magnitude not evident in the last thirty to thirty five years, then the lid will no longer be able to contain the anger, mistrust, and distrust that We, The People feel for the "representatives" in DC.

(i sure wish we lived closer, bro - sitting down and chatting with you would be sweet!)

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I submit the average American is remarkably patient. The average CONTRIBUTING and TAXPAYING American.

I believed that I too have/had remarkable patience. But that comment was entirely unforeseen. It was so out of "left field" from that individual; but it was the LAST straw on my blog.

I HATE comment moderation. I ENJOY a good repartee back and forth. I had ALWAYS ENCOURAGED disagreement and had, up to that point NEVER begun censoring responses. I would never, NEVER have considered going to his blog and insulting him, ever.

What will actually happen with this country? For once in my life I really have no clue. All I sense is that it is not headed in a pleasant direction and I see insurrection in our future. Now, whether this takes the form of continued TEA Parties and demonstrations and blogs and radio and TV and magazines -- or another form more revolutionary -- I haven't the foggiest.

I wish peace. But I actually have my fears. You ignore the American People, give them no place to vent, no other options, no way to seek redress, block and oppose their wishes. . .

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
John F. Kennedy