I’m not sure how to write this without my intention being misconstrued and I have been warned that anyone speaking out these days is setting themselves up for negative backlash. But, I keep replaying that quote in my mind: “All it takes for evil to win is for good people to do nothing.” so, here goes:
Our world is spinning so fast that people are starting to fly off. The bearings that have kept us spinning smoothly are slipping and grinding and we all feel it. Each day brings another onslaught of fear-filled media and its taking a toll on us all. But, is this shift entirely “bad?” Or was it necessary for the pendulum to swing this far and wide to get our attention?
Because of the events that occurred in Charlottesville, we now have internet providers blocking and banning websites that promote a message they don’t agree with. While some are focused on dissecting the terminology (hate speech, fascism, alt-right, etc.), what caught my attention is that people are finding a line-in-the-sand where they approve of censorship.
Think about it: since the advent of the internet people have argued over what is or isn’t “acceptable” content. Where does our right to freely express ourselves conflict with the harms that freedom may be causing to our children and our society?
We have known since the early 20th Century that watching violence can lead to violent thoughts and behavior and yet products like Grand Theft Auto are marketed as recreational “games” and consumed by millions of people daily. People who speak out against this type of media are condemned as overreactive and shut down verbally and politically. Do we really think that killing people with hammers and running them over with cars in the virtual world won’t somehow spill over into the real one? Why are these crimes of hate being promoted as pleasurable entertainment?
And what about the “P” word that we’re not even allowed to talk about in schools? I receive calls weekly from parents who are frantic because their child has been exposed to or is addicted to internet pornography. The latest estimates are that 90% of it promotes cruelty toward women. Yet, the multi-billion-dollar porn industry cries “censorship” at every attempt to limit access. So now we have a generation of youth who think women are supposed to be beaten, choked and spit on. Why is this material not condemned as hate crime?
All you have to do is click on Youtube or read a few comment threads to quickly realize that there are a lot of people spewing venom today. The pendulum has swung wide and we’re going to have to start pulling back if we don’t want it to break. We’re going to have to start making choices that promote kindness over cash and empathy over excess. We’re going to have to realize that we’re all in this together and that allowing hatred against anyone has a negative effect on everyone. Things won’t change until we start putting people over profits….