|Words and photo by F LoBuono|
This came to my mind after a heated Facebook "debate" with people I don't really even know. It started with a post about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's testimony on Capitol Hill regarding the attack on our embassy in Libya. The post was, overall, critical of her performance. I agreed with some of the author's criticisms but not all and was willing to participate in the discussion with that POV. However, when I read the comments to the post, I was shocked to see that people were not really willing to discuss what Clinton actually said but, rather, were intractably negative. One comment even suggested that the Clintons had once even been accused of murder. REALLY?! Some were not only negative, but sexist as well. I expressed my displeasure with these comments. And, I believe that I did it without insult. This started an assault of vitriolic responses that not only attacked my opinion, but became intensely personal as well. It seemed that most of the responders, from what I could glean from their comments, seemed to be big proponents of Fox News, who, IMHO, is the biggest purveyor of misinformation in the media today. In fact, I feel like Faux News (a common epithet now used to describe them) has contributed to the huge (and STILL growing) philosophical gap between Americans. For expressing this, I was attacked verbally. Other, so-called Italian-Americans were "insulted" that I was "one of them". WTF?! Really? Now, they were not only sexists but racists, as well! At first, I tried to stay above that level of vitriol and resisted name-calling. However, after the repeated attacks, I failed and succumbed, at least somewhat, to reducing myself to that level - almost. After a point, I realized that I was becoming a person as angry and intolerant as the people I was trying to reach. And where did that get us? Nowhere. All of us just got more angry and intolerant.
Well, I'm getting off that bus. I knew of this quote from Gandhi but could not remember the specifics. So, I looked it up, wrote it down, and, now, will keep it with me, always. When I'm confronted with anger and intolerance, I'm going to pull it out of my wallet, read it, and remind myself what it REALLY means to UNDERSTAND.