On relationships and civility

I am the oldest of four male siblings. As I was cleaning up after dinner tonight I was pondering the fact that I haven’t heard from my next youngest brother in eight years. Donald cut off all communication with me eight years ago. At first I was stumped why. But then my mother said he told her I was simply wrong about Obama, and because of that he could no longer talk to me or interact in any way whatsoever. He chose to alienate himself from me and the rest of the family.

Here’s the interesting part. Donald is a tried and true liberal. He’s an attorney. He spouts the liberal line of tolerance, respect, and acceptance of all. Yet he has no room for tolerance, respect, or acceptance of any views that differ from his. Typical liberal.

Typical liberal mantra: “You will be allowed to voice your opinion, and your opinion will be respected, so long as it conforms to mine.” And because my opinions differed from his, mine are not respected and accepted; in a word, there is no “tolerance” for a difference of opinion. This is typical liberal double-speak.

But this isn’t just limited to those who identify as liberals. I’ve noticed this as a general trend in society. Even among so-called friends. Friends I’ve known for years.

That’s one reason why I’m no longer active on Facebook. Oh, I still occasionally scan through my FB feed and comment here and there, but by and large I don’t share anything outright on FB. I still post my thoughts on Twitter, and those post automatically to Facebook. I’m sure I get some responses to those auto-posted tweets. I don’t read them.

You see, I found my own thoughts and opinions being censored in the same way my liberal brother did me, except most of my Facebook “friends” are similarly conservative in their opinions as I am. But that doesn’t seem to matter any longer. Social media has become a vehicle for friends and acquaintances to say via a keyboard what they would never say face to face. We’ve lost all decorum and etiquette in personal communication. The only opinion that matters is that of your “friend;” if your view differs, you are simply wrong, or stupid, or ignorant, or [insert your pejorative term here]. I have neither the time, patience, nor interest in such nonsense.

Social media can be a wonderful vehicle for sharing information quickly to a large number of others. It is a good way to stay in touch with others from a distance. But sadly, it can also be abused, and I’m seeing more and more abuse.

Maybe it’s time to revert to the days when we picked up a phone or wrote a letter.

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One response to “On relationships and civility”

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  1. Renee couron says:

    Great article. No one knows how to talk on the phone anymore. Im even noticing this in business now. In the office we have email and skype instant messaging. Almost all communication with customers and collegues go through these two vehicles.

    Youre right – we are not a respectful society anymore.