Are We Getting Meaner?

Or does it just seem that way. Politics. Crime. Inequality. Race relations. Health Care. Climate Change. So many issues are dividing our nation right now, I can’t help but wonder, were we always this angry? Or, should I blame that on the fake news media, too?

The short answer is yes. We are getting ruder, angrier, and meaner – it’s not just the media taking a magnifying glass to the ants, the ants are getting restless. There is documented proof of an uprising in civil discontent, according to Face the Nation this Sunday, about today’s escalating negative rhetoric triggering violence in our nation, and that’s why someone decided it was okay to pick up an assault rifle and settle the score on the congressmen he blamed during their softball practice.

In 2006 there was a Harvard study that concluded 1 in 10 men had IED, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, but in the ten years prior, just 1 in 25 received this diagnosis. IED wasn’t identified until the 1980’s, but don’t worry about that inequality stuff on this category, women are growing angrier, too, though it doesn’t always manifest as violence.

One reason for the uptick in negativity began when the internet was born and people discovered a way to say the cruelest things while hiding behind anonymity. Anonymity allows us to spew anything we want, truth and lies, with little or no consequences. And the internet is the perfect tool for bullying.

Over the weekend my son’s college mentor was the recipient of death threats for a tweet that was, at best, lost in translation. At worst I can see why it ruffled feathers. It was political in nature and unfortunately Ann Coulter sent a negative tweet, inciting a very large pool of haters. These are what we call character building moments.

I’ve had my own issues with Twitter, but never have I ever received death threats. (Take a drink if you haven’t either.) My gut tells me these individuals saying the want to kill, hurt, and maim will find a new cause and/or person to hate in the following days, but you never know what kind of crazy you can attract on the world wide web.

I once tweeted a copy of a poster of the do’s and don’ts for becoming a Washington University cheerleader. The suggestions were straight of the 1950’s, so I tweeted the meme, “WU-Thanks for setting women back 100 years.” You have no idea the amount of hate tweets I received from that. And it didn’t matter that I deleted the post. Many people had retweeted it, so the unfortunate post would live on and on. Twitter followers even set up fake accounts to send me hate filled messages. But luckily, no death threats.

So now what? Definitely you should only tweet something you’d say to that person’s face. Like that’ll happen. Perhaps comment sections should be eliminated, or closely monitored, but that’s big brother watching us. Sorry if you thought by reading this blog post you’d find some answers. I don’t have any right now, I’m just wondering what it’s going to take to turn the corner.

Missed last week’s Random Thoughts? Check it out here about having a conversation our younger selves.

Random Thoughts – Are We Getting Meaner?
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