Terrence Burns ©2014
On my Facebook page, as well as other social media (and probably yours as well) I am honored, even blessed to have friends from all over the world; Europe, Russia, Canada, Australia, Middle East, Asia, Africa and South America. This is thanks largely to working within the Olympic Movement for over twenty years.
We all read each other’s posts about our families, likes, dislikes and issues profound and mundane. We even read (where possible) each other’s media’s perspective on world affairs. But in spite of our instantaneous access to each other, unprecedented in the history of human presence on earth, it seems we have never been farther apart.
But this isn’t only based on nationality. Foreign friends, when you read the upcoming deluge of Facebook post diatribes from us Americans “debating” our 2016 US presidential election, you’d be forgiven for wondering if we Americans are indeed all from the same country given the vitriol.
Open debate and disagreement are fine, and they are part of our system here in the US; many people before us died to give us this right. But when anyone is vilified simply for having a differing political preference, I feel dispirited. I don’t always agree with everyone’s religious or political views nor do they mine, but we are allowed to have them and voice them without being called names or being generalized as rubes, fools or traitors to a cause. Just because we have the right – and the ability – to say anything at any time doesn’t always mean that we should.
Words carry weight, perhaps more so than ever because we now have the ability to praise or offend with impunity on a global, instantaneous scale from one simple screen. Everyone is their own media outlet.
And often it seems (to me) that the people who perceive themselves as the most pious among us are the very people who seem the most intolerant and judgmental. Not that I’m generalizing…much.