Be careful with your words, for once they are said, they cannot be undone.
This truly resonates with me, more so in the last several weeks, than ever before. As human beings, I find that we tend to use our words more than ever before. With the power of social media, one is able to say whatever they want, whenever they want, with little to no repercussions.........or so that is what most assume in their ignorant bliss.
I began writing this with my own personal reasons as my muse, but as I reflected on the deeper meaning, I realized that this is happening every day, on a global level.
Several months ago, there was a story in the local and regional media that covered the tragic loss of a toddler who passed away from meningitis. The hoopla surrounding this tragedy was based on the parents, who were self professed advocates of naturopathy, and chose that route of treatment rather than that of western medicine. I followed this story very closely, as I was instantly captivated by the headline that read something to the effect of "anti-vaxxer parents charged in death of their toddler who died of meningitis". For weeks and weeks I read, and read, and read, all that I could find pertaining to this family, and their story. I read articles both for and against, as I wanted to be as educated as I could possibly be. The tragic loss of the beautiful life of that toddler was only part of the true tragedy. What I had read in the comments on virtually every article that I had come across were truly abhorrent. Name calling, threats, belittling, vulgarity, these were all common themes in the comments. Commenters attacking each other, attacking the family, naturopathy in general, basically it was a free for all of word diarrhea on anyone or anything that had an opinion on this story.
I had spent hours scouring through the comments, mostly in a vain attempt to try and educate some of the commenters who clearly had no idea of any facts pertaining to the story. I learned very quickly that even though every comment I made was carefully vetted for accuracy, if someone disagreed with what I had said, I would be attacked on a personal level. It was common for every comment that I made to be met with support and attack, ironically even those that supported what I had to say seemed to have no real knowledge of the facts, not just surrounding this case in particular, but to supporting details, like vaccination schedules here in Alberta, etc.
It has been several months since this case has finished, and life has indeed gone on. There has been little to no media coverage since the sentencing took place a few months ago. I can't help but to wonder though, the detrimental effects that those comments had not only on the family of the story, but by fellow commenters. I ponder on the bravery of keyboard warriors, and wonder how in their mind they think it is okay to speak to people in such a fashion on comment threads, twitter, Facebook, etc, but wouldn't dream of conducting themselves in such a manner in a real life situation. Would they consider their words more carefully if they knew the face of the other person behind the other screen? Would they be more cognizant of the effect of their words if they knew that the person they were engaging with was someones wife, daughter, sister, or brother? Would they carefully consider clacking away on their keyboards if they knew that their words may have a life altering effect on whom they were speaking with?
In this day where the common man have such a tremendous amount of power in the realm of social media and their words, I would implore all those to pause before they rant. Take heed and truly ponder if your words will be beneficial to the general population, or will they continue to contribute to this embarrassment of a trend that we as human beings have created. The trend of keyboard warriors spreading so much hate with no accountability being had. We all have our free agency, and certainly we have freedom of speech. When however, did the importance of freedom of speech outweigh the importance of being kind to one another, to loving one another, the importance of being a decent human being?
It has been months since I have deactivated my Facebook account, and it has been quite some time since I deactivated my Twitter, Instagram, and even my Pinterest account. It has also been months since I have published anything, but I have had enough. By not saying anything, I would be just as guilty as those keyboard warriors.
Be kind to one another. This life, this mortality, this is all we know for certain. Our Religious preferences, Gender Identities, Sexuality, Race, these do not define who we are as human beings. Our hearts, our minds, and our souls define who we are. We are responsible for our actions, and our reactions. Always. Hate does not drive out hate, only Love has the power to do that.
Be the love; be the change that so desperately needs to take place. Let us stop tearing each other down. Let us bring each other up. Be the love.