There has been a lot of blame in the news this week and on social media. It has been almost overwhelming.
You’ve all seen it: The divisive, the shameful, the trolling, the finger pointing and the hatred… The way we talk about the EU referendum, about the massacre in Orlando, about the elections in the USA, and now about yesterday’s terrible, tragic news about the murder of Jo Cox.
We have become who the mass media wants us to become. Afraid, angry and confrontational. We are confused by party political rhetoric and scant access to useful, unbiased information. We don’t know enough about the issues of the day that affect us and others and so we dig our heels in and shout louder. We make disagreement negative and personal. We live in a world where we educate our children but not ourselves. As though we are full and complete. We have lost the desire to constantly inform and re-inform ourselves in a changing world. To seek out the truth. Yes, many of the issues in our world are complicated and in many cases far from black and white, but most of them can be explained intelligently and succinctly in a way we can all understand. But the mass media chooses not to do that and the rest of us, mostly, do nothing. If we don’t find a way to change this soon, the risks are appalling.
Jo Cox turned out to be, it emerged very quickly, an extraordinary, inspirational woman in many ways. Why had so few people heard of her outside of her constituency? Because striving for good doesn’t sell papers. Because her hard work and dedication does not give us the feeling of righteous indignation we seem to thrive on these days. Because no one ever posted anything on Facebook about her that went viral.
This is OUR responsibility. We can’t affect what the media decides to feed us, but this is the age of SOCIAL MEDIA. It’s an age where WE are the authors of a huge amount of the information that our friends and families consume. And what do we do with that? We share links to the Daily Mail, or Bored Panda, to pages with a thin smear of news sandwiched between thick slices of clickbait and consumer advertising. On our Facebook pages we post selfies and updates on what we have eaten.
I like seeing photos of your families and the nice meals that have made you happy. I do. But why are we not posting and sharing more useful, helpful information? Why are we not creating and sharing more posts that allow us to learn and grow in our adulthood? Writing that helps us change our minds – because we should change our minds more often. Why are we not sharing stories about the people around us who are hard working, inspirational, and great? People to be proud of. Stories that make us proud of our country. Stories that make us want to improve ourselves and our country and our world. Why are we not telling and sharing these stories?
Why are letting ourselves down?
We need to take responsibility for this and I, for one, am going to make a concerted effort to change. Will you join me?