No more stupid, snotty, enraging arguments with trolls on Facebook and Twitter. Nope. No more. I’m done.
Deplorable Uncle Bob, the guy with the profile picture of the Confederate flag and twenty nine followers on Twitter, who’s telling the world that Putin is a super great man and that Killary is a loser cry baby? Yeah, him? I’m not biting any more. It was fun while it lasted, but I get the feeling the so called alt-right isn’t really listening, you know?
And what’s the value in tweeting off a zinger when Anne Coulter declares to her 29 million followers that group “______” should be rounded up and put in camps? Yeah. Guess what. She’s not listening either. And thirty retweets isn’t going to change that.
So, no more angry throw downs against goading, race-baiting Facebook comments, lovingly seeded from Russian fake news mills or propaganda bots. No more fighting US trolls, paid or otherwise, baiting me with nasty gutter memes about @FLOTUS. I mean, really; where is that conversation going to go anyway?
Fake news and trolls most definitely helped tip the election. They came like a digital tsunami on Facebook and Twitter, drowning out rational discourses, likely diverting us from more effective forms of political dialogue and engagement. They certainly kept us pissed off. And that may be where they did the most damage.
With Putin’s propaganda fire hose still aimed squarely at them, Facebook and Twitter may well be politically toxic at this point. I fought online for a year against these digital bogeymen. Bits. One and zeros designed to keep me flailing away at hateful ghosts. To what useful end? I’m not sure.
I will continue to write and share articles. But these ugly gut-wrenching battles in the comments sections? The angry back and forth on Twitter with “people” I can neither identify or substantiate? That’s where I’m drawing the line.
Battling these people creates the illusion of fighting for a cause, but ultimately does very little for us beyond creating a sense of nausea and disgust with our fellow Americans, which, by the way, is how the Kremlin and Fox News wants us to feel. All of us. When Americans are angry and ranting at each other, those guys win.
Those who fund the armies of trolls that descended on our election and continue to this day to descend on us, want us to keep raging at each other. They want to sow more and deeper divisions between Americans, from here on out, in every way they can.
So look. If someone (or some bot) posts a comment that is too irrationally hateful to event warrant a response, trust your instincts. Maybe, just maybe, it actually doesn’t warrant a response. And not because you’re “better than that”. No, because forever wrangling in this stinking Breitbart stained mud pit is exactly what they want us to keep doing. Its a digital, toxicity spewing hamster wheel with no beginning and no end. Intentionally designed to exhaust and demoralize us. To undermine our faith in our nation and our fellow Americans.
Breitbart’s and Putin’s trolls are stealing from you. Every keystroke spent against a trolling hateful voice is effort that could have gone somewhere else. To a cause. To your children. To yourself.
For foreign governments, extremist media outlets (both crazy right and crazy left) and yes, apparently, the FBI, trolling Americans is an effective way to divide us. For them, its a business plan. For all of us, these carefully seeded hate-filled binary debates are a recipe for disaster.
And it worked. We didn’t talk about jobs. We didn’t…talk…about….jobs.
I’m not going to give abusive propagandist trolls any more free rent in my feed or in my head. Be they neighbors up the street or bots on a server in Moscow, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m done being dragged down into the rhetorical mud. I’m going to ignore those guys and talk about what people really care about. We all want the opportunity to earn a living and raise our families. We want to have a decent life. This is what we all want. I don’t care what side of the divide you’re on.
Here’s my bottom line. If people are nasty and disrespectful, then walk away, regardless of which candidate they support. Otherwise, our political process ceases to be about offering solutions and instead becomes about punishing others.
Sure, work for political outcomes you believe in. Do the work that needs to be done. But don’t get sucked into the pit of raging hateful digital mudslinging. Its a nightmarish illusion, created by evil men and women who excel at growing rage and hate. Literally, you may simply be flailing away at a computer program designed to tie up your time and drag you into a misery of distrust and despair. If we all go there instead of believing in each other, we can kiss the diverse, beautiful America we know goodbye.
We must remember: Americans, conservative and progressives alike, have far more in common than the internet’s army of paid trolls would have us believe. Its time to ignore the trolls and instead, choose to see the diverse, complex and ultimately decent human beings all around us.
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