Shouting Back and Forth

I was caught in a social media trap. Browsing through countless posts by friends, I came across a fairly innocuous “shared” article. Straightforward, to the point, and, by my judgment, fairly innocuous.

Then, I noticed that there were more than 50 comments tied to it. So, I clicked to see what the conversation was about. And that’s when the noose tightened around my ankle and pulled me in.

It seems that a couple of individuals had made comments supporting the theme of the article and expressing gratitude to the one who shared it. But then, for deeper and darker reasons, those two people began to fire insults back and forth at one another.

Seemingly playful jabs at first. More pointed in only a few rounds. Then outright hostile and mean. Others joined in apparent attempts to protect a friend or bolster a point. What had been a misbegotten tirade by two, became a swirling mass of hate for a dozen. And then suddenly, a couple of shouts went back and forth dismissing the opposing sides. And it all sank below the surface.

To what purpose? Shouting, argument, debate. Little is ever won with these behaviors. And now I, too, am a victim of the carnage as I wrestle with my thoughts and feelings about these people — most of them strangers to me.

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My observations came at the end of this confrontation. I’ve been thinking about what I might do if I stumbled into its midst? Would I do what comes naturally? Would I enter the fight or perhaps turn quickly and walk away?

Perhaps the next time, a kind word or, even better, a selfless act should be my response. Those things seemingly make us vulnerable. Yet, such things open us and those around us to unfathomable strength.

Kindness. Selflessness. Humility. We all could use a little more of these good things.

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