The current political climate brings with it a slew of new jargon. ‘Trolling’, being ‘Woke’, ‘Alternative Facts’ and ‘Fake News’ are all part of the lingo that aware individuals need to come up with to understand the talk around the water cooler at work. Today, the term ‘virtue signaling’ came into my consciousness. I had responded on Facebook to a posting about a church in Philadelphia where, ironically, a nativity scene was hoisted under the watchful eye of a mural of Frank Rizzo, the former mayor from 1972-1980. Before that, he was a controversial police commissioner who was the hero of law and order folks because of his tough guy persona and a bad guy to those who believed in social justice and didn’t take kindly to his treatment of POC and LGBTQ citizens. His 1991 obit speaks volumes about the dichotomy.
My comment read thusly: “Serious questions: For those who are appalled by this crime, (stealing the creche) are you as upset about people being abused, assaulted, starving, harassed, homeless, disenfranchised? Are you as upset by sexism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia? The Jesus I know would be.”
The responses that followed had me shaking my head in amused amazement after I looked up the definition.
“Hi, my name is Edie and I found a way to virtue signal and make the post about me.”
“Edie Weinstein you kind of sound like you’re off the meds this morning.”
James Bartholomew, British author, and conservative commentator is credited with coining that term. It’s based on the idea that anyone who speaks their opinion, calling out their perception that injustice is being done is somehow pinning the holier than thou medal on their lapel. As an admittedly biased journalist, I call it as I see it. There have been readers who have applauded and others who have given my words a vehement thumbs down, as is their right. I have been called a ‘libtard’ and ‘snowflake,’ accused of being unprofessional since I am also a therapist. I don’t name call or berate. I observe what I hear and see. Virtue signaling carries with it a sense of image building and trying to be fashionable. Not so here. It’s not posturing. I walk the talk as best I can. Do I want to be seen as an advocate for the disenfranchised and the voice for those rendered silent? Yes. Was MLK virtue signaling? Was Gandhi virtue signaling? Was Princess Diana virtue signaling? Would I like to change people’s minds who spew hatred? Absolutely. Do I hold judgments when they don’t? Admittedly so.
I have found, as seemed to be the case of those who were responding to the article about the robbery, that some are more concerned about symbolism than people. If they are up in arms about someone stealing a symbol of their faith, do they practice what they preach to do it proud?
Oh, and by the way, I didn’t respond to these gentlemen, because I didn’t want to feed the trolls.
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