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Communications Need Revision

Updated on July 6, 2011

Social networking has become very popular for people across the world. Like-minded people and family members (not always so like-minded) can get together and try to discuss those things that they want to talk about, and franchise or business entrepreneurs can advertise their wares quickly and to the masses with very little effort.

There are problems, however, when those difference of opinions become toxic. It is not my place to tell someone else what they can or cannot think, and it is certainly not anyone else’s place to tell me what I can and cannot opine about.

The United States and the rest of the world is becoming a more verbally abusive place. It seems that no one is given the opportunity to mis-speak, or to be rationally opposite to the mainstream viewpoint without becoming the victim of vitriol and hate speech that goes beyond professional. Since when is it the personal opinion of the masses which is the best?

For example, an extremely hot topic in the United States of late is the Supreme Court ruling giving 1st Amendment rights to the Westboro Baptist Church. In case you have been living under a rock in the USA, or do not particularly care about American goings on, I will tell you a little bit about them:

Westboro Baptist Church was founded by an attorney, Fred Phelps, who is self-proclaimed the most learned man of the Holy Bible. He and his congregation, consisting mostly of family members, have decided it is their God-given duty to protest those things that they say are sins. The primary attacks have been against any member of the society that they can trace back to support of homosexuality or religions other than their own. In regards to homosexuality related protests, the government allows homosexuals to exist and be given equal rights to things like jobs, therefore anyone or anything that has a direct link to the government, including a 9 year old child who was shot and killed at a Congresswoman’s meet-and-greet becomes a case that the WBC will protest. Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) is comprised of several Constitutional attorneys who have successfully argued cases in their own favor. States and local municipalities have all tried to create ordinances that would circumvent their activities with little to no success based on the Supreme Court ruling.

The debate became self-apparent when the Supreme Court did find on the side of the WBC. Individuals were livid, remarking about privacy and decency. The problem is that those who are already decent have no reason to worry about their rights. Offensive statements are the ones that need the help and support of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution.

If someone can see that this is evident but others use their personal views and moral compasses to decide who can or cannot speak their own mind, they are creating hostile communications in which no one will listen.

The incidents in which I find the most vitriol on social network sites comes from someone who will defend the person that everyone else is attacking, or attacks that which everyone else supports. My favorite is when someone comments about a specific event and when attacked by others, those who are attacking are doing practically the same thing that they are not liking in the original topic.

Back to WBC. We do not like what they say, nor do we like what they do. They are vicious and toxic to a degree beyond what would be considered reasonable in places that they choose to spew their hate. So, we can all agree (less the WBC) that their remarks are uninvited and unnecessary as well as hateful. However, when we address this topic, is it proper for us to do what they are doing in order to convey our issues with the ruling of the Supreme Court? We have now established the very reason that the 1st Amendment exists! To protect the speech of Americans. We are entitled to spew our hate and distaste for those who practice this pseudo-religious behavior; we can scream and curse and shout at them. It is alright, as long as the popular opinion is being voiced, isn’t it? But what if it is WBC? It’s not OK? Of course it is, but to those who disagree with them it is NOT OK.

It’s OK to slam politicians on their personal lives, but people better keep out of our personal lives. It’s OK to insult a woman who has five children at home but chooses politics, but it is not OK to do it to a man who has the same family.

The double-standards that are felt across the country are warranted, to those who refuse to see past their own noses. It is not my right to tell you how to speak as long as you aren’t physically hurting anyone. It is not your right to tell me how to live my life, how to run my family, or what job I can hold, public or private.

When reading through the posts of individuals, I read the same talking points that seem to be re-written over and over again. Those who have a singular point of view are highly unlikely to hear what you have to say if you are insulting them while saying it.

Kill them with kindness is very wise advice. Everyone should consider the words that come out of their mouth. I don’t mean that you can’t shout at the top of your lungs, I don’t mean that you should not speak your mind. What I mean is that if you are going to shout something, be sure it is not in debate of something you’ve not done your homework on.

Don’t complain when someone else gets their way. Remember that you also get your way in return.


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