Lesson #7: Avoid social media at all costs

In the midst of heated debates about gun control and Syrian refugees and gross generalizations about people, religion, and society, it’s been hard for me to keep silent.

I grew up with a conservative father, but I never found much interest in politics. In fact, I’d proudly assert my disdain for all things political. It’s true that, today, I still don’t particularly like “politics,” simply because, to me, the word holds a rather negative connotation (I’ll explain later). Instead, what’s changed is the attention I’ve chosen to pay the world–to what people do, are, and say. I can’t ignore it. I can’t ignore our blatant disrepect for people who need our help. I can’t ignore the hypocrisy spewed by the people claiming to want what’s best for the world. I can’t ignore the fact that I don’t trust our government, because half the members are too prideful to act on behalf of the good of the country. Name one politician who doesn’t act on behalf of themselves these days. But only if you can prove it.

Call me naive, but “politics” isn’t what it used to be. I can’t imagine even half of our presidential candiatates this year care about the issues they relentlessly debate. These days, it’s about power and winning the argument for your “team.” In the end, what matters is the scoreboard. And my biggest question is “why?” I’ve never asked a more important question in my life.

Why? I don’t understand. Why do you think this…? Why do you believe that…? Why are you so…? Why the pride? Why the hypocrisy? Why can’t you see what you’re saying?

But the sad thing is… I fall victim to these things, too. Hypocrisy. Pride. Ego. Cynicism. All the things that make us humans. And the name of our game is self-destruction. Go figure.

Pride leads me to social media, Twitter, Facebook, where I find myself in a heated, yet mature, debate about gun regulations. I always told myself I’d never do this, but as many of you know, it’s incredibly difficult to avoid chiming in when the person who last chimed in presented his opinion with five whole paragraphs and obviously bias, oftentimes incorrect, information. See? I’m getting angry just typing about it. Why? I never wanted to be one of these pretentious people–the people who pride their opinion and demean anyone who opposes it. I’m trying to gain perspective–really, I am. I’ve been reading blogs, articles, whatever I can get my hands on. But it’s hard to gain perspective when we’re all sitting behind computer screens, casting our opinions out into the sea of our “friends,” forgetting that social media gives us the hidden and valuable space, seperate from the real world, where it’s too easy to have a one-sided argument, where we’re tricked into thinking we’re “saving the world” by “liking” a promotional article about defunding Planned Parenthood or filtering our profile pic to the colors of the French flag, where we can provoke opposition and show off our expertise and skill at articulating our views on contemporary issues. Where the media tells us what we should and should not care about.

Have we forgotten what it really takes to save the world? I have. It doesn’t take logging on to social media and looking for posts about guns, or violence, or Muslims so I can give my input and fulfill my desire to prove my opinion worthy, possibly even more worthy than everyone participating. That’s bullshit, Stephanie. It forces me to ask myself, “Do you really care about the issues? Or do you just want to win the argument?”

No, we haven’t forgotten what it really takes to save the world. We’re just too lazy to do it.

Lesson learned: Stop arguing, and start acting.  

Click here and here to make a difference for Syrian refugees.

Click here to gain perspective on Islam.

Click here to help people around the world.

Click here to help those who lost so much in France.

Click here to support teenage Pakistani activitist, Malala’s, fight for education around the globe.

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