Social Media is an effective way of spreading information. It allows us to reach a lot of people quickly. And a lot of folks have expressed their opinion about the practice of separating refugee children from their families at the US border.
I understand and share the outrage, sadness and terror that folks are expressing. I appreciate that folks have used their voice on social media to express this.
And there is a point at which it becomes self-indulgent. Collectively, we’ve passed that point. There comes a point where expressing our opinions on social media becomes a replacement for taking action that may be more effective. It makes us feel better. It gives us a false feeling of accomplishment.
We're seeking new and unique ways to express our opinions, to prove our views are indeed the correct ones. Sharing the latest columnist’s fresh perspective on why this or that viewpoint is indeed the correct one makes us feel good. It makes us FEEL like we’ve made a difference.
When you are on side “A” and you share a perspective that’s proving “Side A” is correct, you do two things:
- Make your friends who are on “Side A” feel validated. You alos feel validated when your friends of the same perspective agree with you. You entrench yourself and your allies in their perspective.
- You make your opponents defensive. You make them dig their heels in deeper, stronger and with more vigilance. You further deepen the divide between the two sides.
There is absolutely a time and a place for this.
There is a also a time and place for other action.
We can’t rely on our elected leaders and the broken and divisive two-party system to lead change. The two-party system is a self-perpetuating system of divisiveness.
We have to step up and be the leadership that our Democrats and Republicans fail to be. We have to take the brave and bold steps necessary to lead humanity in a new direction. A new direction of healing wounds, opening new conversations and creating new relationships.
Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela all know this. The way to make change requires sacrifice, courage and uncomfortable openness.
It's time to pull back from the social media sharing and do things that are harder and more effective.
Start civil conversations with people you disagree with. Speak from your heart. Be open to understanding new ideas. Be so open that it makes you uncomfortable. You don’t have to agree, and you don’t have to excuse behavior that violates your moral values. But these are the hard things that are required to create a new, more unified world.