I saw a post yesterday on an Instant Pot Community Facebook page that stopped me in my tracks. If you don’t know what an Instant Pot is, it’s a miracle of technology, has a cult following, and is kind of like a crock pot/pressure cooker on steroids and you must be living under a rock because it was the hottest item on Amazon’s Prime Day the last two years. A woman wrote that she was deleting her post because “people can’t be nice.” It’s a freaking cooking page for Pete’s sake. Is there anything more benign than food? If we can’t be polite there, of all places, where can we be? Where will we be? If you spend more than two minutes scrolling through Facebook at any given time, the answer is nowhere it seems, and it makes me incredibly sad. How did we fall to such a level of disrespect that you can’t post about a recipe on a cooking site without getting nasty comments? Really? There’s a scroll bar. Learn it. Use it.
The more I think about it, the more I believe that social media has done more to kill civility than anything in history. Facebook used to be the place to post pictures of your kids or vacation or jokes, but not so much anymore. It’s been hijacked by an ‘us against them’ mentality. Not only are we no longer polite but too often we we aren’t even civil to each other. The anonymity of social media has stripped away any semblance of decency. It gives us free license to say things that we would never in a million years say to someone standing in front of us on the street, and society is the worse for it. I know this, yet I’m no better than anyone else when I feel attacked.
That’s not to say that there’s not a lot to be angry about these days. The political divide in America is the greatest it’s been since the Civil War. Not only is the country angry but there is an unprecedented level of outright hate. I’m no fan of Trump. I think he’s probably the worst candidate the Republicans could have picked, but I understand how he was elected. Among other things, people got tired of being called homophobic, Islamophobic, greedy anti-Christian racists by the Left simply because of their political affiliation. Most of my family and friends are conservative, by a wide margin, and I can only think of one person who might be those things. That’s a very small percentage of people I know, probably less than a quarter of one percent. Social media, as well as the mainstream media, takes that very small minority and paints every conservative with the same brush. They don’t just paint us as such, they actually believe in their hearts we are all like that, and they hate us. The mainstream media loves the Left, but their treatment is every bit as bad on social media. And the vitriol and hate on both sides has only gotten worse since Trump has been in the White House. Before you say “but what about Obama…,” it’s no secret that half of the country pretty much thought he was the worst President ever (and for 99.99% of us it had nothing to do with race), but I don’t remember anyone in Hollywood, much less elected officials, calling for his assassination. It’s worse. Much worse. There is no high road, we are rolling around in the gutter.
I worry. I worry about our country and soul of the nation. I know people who think we are actually headed for Civil War II…and soon. I hope that they are wrong. I hope that the haters are just more prolific posters than the lovers. I hope that people really are more civil, more caring, more tolerant, more kind than what is so prevalent on Facebook and Twitter. I hope the humanity is just getting hidden beneath the avalanche of shit out there. I hope that someday soon a young woman will not feel attacked on a post about cooking because of obnoxious comments. And I really, really hope more people will learn to use their scroll bars. As my Granny used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Wise woman. In the meantime, I will continue to worry while I whip up some comfort food in my Instant Pot…and I’ll try harder to follow Granny’s advice.