Living in a Post-Civil World

I’m going to go out on a limb here and declare that people were already comfortable with being rude to others long before Trump was elected president. I will say, though, that having a president who spends his days insulting people on Twitter does go a long way toward empowering people to do the same. But, the lack of civility started way before Trump and extends in to every part of life, not just politics. The political side of it just gets all the news.

Anyone who works with the public has to have noticed that people say please and thank you a lot less than they used to. It’s amazing the number of times I’m on the phone and at the end of the transaction there is complete silence as I’m waiting for the thank you and the other person seems confused as to why I am still on the line. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has seen the people at Starbucks who won’t end their cell phone call long enough to place an order and act like it’s n imposition to pause for a second to give a drink order and then go back to the call for the duration of the transaction. I was cut off on the road last night because the another driver wanted to assert his dominance and not let me merge on to the road. This happens a lot. Kids are no longer taught how to act in public. Kids run wild in inappropriate places and the parents feel insulted if someone calls them on it and asks them to parent their children. Social media is full of people insulting everyone who has a differing opinion. You know this if you’ve ever read the comments. Never read the comments.

Take all of that, add in hatred of people not like you, add empowerment from your leaders and we get the world we are living in now. A world of people who already decided social niceties no longer matter and now are empowered to go further. We are moving from general rudeness to outright hostility.  Every day on Facebook we see friends and family on Facebook empowered to spew hatred towards others based on religion, race, sexual orientation, politics, etc. I guess that is good. I’d rather know who the bigots are than have them hidden under politeness.

We have now reached the point that a call for civility is met with resistance. We have decided that if one side is rude and nasty, then we should be rude and nasty as well. I’m not saying not to protest, not to speak your mind. I’m not saying not to point out when someone is a racist or a homophobe. I’m just saying try being a little nicer in your day-to-day life. Say please. Thank people who help you. Put your phone away while ordering your coffee Smile at people. We can’t fix the fact that our leaders are terrible people, but we can make the rest of the world a little better.

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Some Observations About Posts And Comments I Read Yesterday

If you spent your day defending someone who posted racist comments online, I am going to think that you think it is OK to be a racist.

If you are going to boycott a network because they don’t want to employee a racist, see above.

If you think the fate of a racist sitcom star is going to divide our nation to the point of danger, you must not think much of our country.

If you are defending the person who did this, but think football players kneeling during that song should be kicked out if he country, I will question your motives.

If you are OK with Roseanne being fired, but mad about the men who were fired for sexual harassment, I will assume you think men are superior to women.

If you think it’s OK to punch a Nazi or throw water on a conservative personality, I think you need to learn some civility.

I don’t care if the racist is a Republican or a Democrat. I don’t care if the sexual predator is a Republican or a Democrat. I don’t care if the person assaulting someone for their beliefs is a Republican or a Democrat. Actions have consequences so don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

Tater Takes on Roseanne

In case you are living under a rock, the basics: Roseanne the show was revived this year and renewed and was going to return for a new season next year. Roseanne tweeted out some racist stuff yesterday, the latest in a pattern of terrible things she has tweeted and ABC had enough and cancelled the show. I’ve seen several posts on Facebook this morning where people are defending her and saying they should not have cancelled the show. It happens every time there is a high-profile firing over a tweet or statement like this. So, here are my thoughts on Roseanne specifically, and the issue of firing people over things like this generally.

First, Roseanne. I will admit that I was watching the show. I was a fan of the show when it was on before and wanted to see what they did with the revival. By the end, I was watching more out of habit than out of enjoyment. The stories were more shallow than I had hoped, most of the cast are terrible actors(Roseanne included) and the show just wasn’t that fun. I don’t think I would have watched the next season. I justified watching by focusing on how the rest of the cast and most of the writers did not share her views.

The cancellation: It was not a firing over one specific tweet. This was a firing based upon a pattern of horrible things she has stated and tweeted. I think she felt she was untouchable because the show was popular. I think the president praising her made her feel even more invulnerable. Turns out she was wrong.  It’s good to see that being popular does not always mean you can get away with being a terrible person.

Now, generally: Do I think someone should lose their job over one tweet? I would say no if it is really one tweet. Do I think someone should lose their job over a pattern of such tweets and/or public statements? Yes. You are a reflection of your employer, especially if you are a public figure. Even in my case where I am not a public figure and try as much as possible to separate my online life from my work life(Facebook says I am a Common Tater at Tater World Headquarters) I still sometimes use my Facebook and Twitter accounts to publicize work events. My last blog post directed you to a post from my employer(I’m losing the likes fight. You should go like it. Click here) So, it doesn’t take a genus to figure out who I am and where I work. I would like to think that I would be forgiven if I posted something that offended someone because I’m not in the habit of posting offensive things(I don’t think? Perhaps you all hate me already). But, if I started posting conspiracy theories and racist stuff on a regular basis, I would not be shocked if I lost my job. MPOW would not want to be associated with someone life that and I would agree with them.

Before you start screaming FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Freedom of Speech protects you from the government restricting your freedom og speech. It does not protect you from the consequences of said speech. It doesn’t mean you can’t be fired. It doesn’t mean you can’t be kicked off Twitter. It doesn’t mean someone can’t delete your comments from a privately owned website.  No one’s freedom of speech is being violated here.

Also – stop with the what aboutisms. I’m so tired of hearing “but what about The View?” I’m not defending them, but saying someone else got away with it, so no one should face consequences is stupid.

Tater Talks Incels

One of the most ridiculous things that has surfaced with some of the recent shootings is the “incel” movement. Wikipedia defines incels thus: “Incels (a portmanteau of “involuntary” and “celibacy“) are members of an online subculture[1][2] who define themselves as being unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, a state they describe as inceldom.” It goes on to describe the movement: “Self-identified incels are almost exclusively male and mostly heterosexual.[4][5][6] Discussions in incel forums are often characterized by resentmentmisanthropy,[1] misogynyracism, entitlement to sex, and the endorsement of violence against sexually active women and more sexually successful men.[5][7][8][9][10] The Southern Poverty Law Center has described the subculture as “part of the online male supremacist ecosystem”,[11] and self-described incels have committed at least four mass murders in North America.”

Basically, they are a bunch of assholes who are “involuntarily celibate” likely because they are violent asshole losers. Instead of saying “I’m a violent, asshole loser so women don’t want to sleep with me” they blame their lack of romantic and sexual success on women and men who aren’t violent asshole losers, but mainly on the women. They’ve used this as a reason to commit the aforementioned mass murders. It has to be the worst reason thus far for committing heinous crimes and goes perfectly with our society today. We raise kids to believe they are entitled and perfect and everything bad is someone else’s fault and not theirs. Boys grow up thinking they can have whatever they want whenever they want it. Some boys are taught this in combination with the idea that they are superior to women and that women exist to please and obey men. Add these two together and you get the current climate of men who sexually assault and harass women and “incels” who blame everyone else for their lack of sex and romance. I wish I had answers here, but I don’t.

I can’t really wrap my head around the whole incel thing. I should be someone who can understand their thinking. I was involuntarily celibate in high school and half of college. The difference is I didn’t blame other people.  I wrote about the fact that I am a socially awkward introvert  here. In high school and college(and now, really) I was a short, ugly weirdo. It was pretty obvious why I was “involuntarily celibate.” I knew the above, so when I did like a girl in high school, I would never actually tell her. I knew the odds were that the feeling were not mutual. It takes a special type of woman to have romantic interest in a little weirdo like me. I could have used this “involuntary celibacy” to be angry at others. I could have blamed my lack of dates on other people. I will admit that I did have less than kind feelings about guys who dated the girls I liked, but it was normal jealousy, not “I want to murder people” feelings.

As a former “involuntary celibate” I still don’t get how we got to the point that this leads to the decision to hate and commit mass murder. If any one can enlighten me, I would appreciate it.

Should I Write About It?

So, I’m sitting here again with an open laptop and a blank mind. There are some current event things recently that I could write about, but I’ve been hesitant. I make the mistake of reading comments on articles and Facebook posts and everyone is angry all the time – on both sides of the issues. I read Twitter and I see post after post of people saying why everyone else is wrong and there are no grey areas. You either agree with me on everything or you are the enemy. It’s tiring and depressing and makes me less likely to discuss anything of importance with anyone ever.

I could post my thoughts on Starbucks, but would that lead to people hating more than they already do because our views don’t match up? I could post about Roseanne and if ABC should have given her a show but, again, would that alienate more people? Is it easier to just keep quiet? That shouldn’t be the case. If everyone kept quiet there would be no possibility of change, but it is sometimes hard to speak up given this environment. I’m already tired, stressed and a little depressed about some things(college decisions, impending empty nest, travel, career stuff, etc). Do I really want to add to it with possibility of people yelling at me about political views? But, if I don’t write about current events what do I write? My life is way too boring to write about it on a consistent basis. I guess I will just have to get over it and deal with the negativity that comes from the posting of opinions.

A brief look at my views on the aforementioned topics:

Starbucks – Yes, someone being arrested for waiting for a friend at Starbucks is bad and people should be upset, but can you really blame all of Starbucks for the action of one manager? Especially when they are already moving forward with trainings to try to keep it from happening again?

Roseanne – I’ve watched three of the episodes. It’s OK, but not great. The first episode is the only one that mentions Trump, so the entire show is not a pro-Trump show. I don’t agree with the people who say ABC should not have given her a show. Her political views should not prevent her from working. You have the choice to not watch. You can’t make that choice for others.

 

Social Media is Depressing Me

I don’t know why I keep looking at Facebook. I don’t really enjoy it. It is probably half habit and half hope that maybe there will be something there besides the constant political arguments and sharing of memes. There rarely is. I know why I don’t deactivate my account – I still like to see the occasional pictures friends and family post and I need some place to share my blog posts and stupid things that pop in my head. I just need to break the habit of looking at it a lot. Here is a sampling of the types of things I see in my feed following the shooting in Florida:

Memes supporting gun control

People saying guns are inanimate objects and can’t be blamed

People saying the problem is that we don’t spank our kids

People saying the problem is there is no prayer in school

The meme where God says he didn’t stop it because he isn’t allowed in school(weird meme for Christians to share in my opinion)

No one is listening to each other. No one wants to actually hear an opposing opinion. Everyone picks a side and their side winning is all that matters.

In non tragedy days it is – Someone posts a negative post about Trump and it is followed by Hillary is a criminal! Obama was worse! Fake news!

I need to be done with this. I need to put the phone down. I could probably fix some of it by muting and unfollowing a lot of people, but maybe just deleting the app from my phone is the better solution for now. It is not good for my mental health.

I’m not saying it is wrong to express your opinion. I do plenty of that myself. I’m just saying that there are better and healthier ways to have the discussion and the first step might be to step away from social media for a while.

 

 

Congress, The Bad Employee

Congress works for the American people. They are our employees. We have hired them to run our country. They are terrible employees. Here’s a little play to illustrate.

A company hires someone to run things. The company is America. The boss is us The employee is Congress.

Boss: Congratulations. Based upon your resume and the ideas we discussed in the interview, you’ve been selected to run the company.

Employee: Yeah, I lied in the interview. I’m not actually going to do any of that stuff. I just said it to get the job.

Boss:  OK. Here is our ideas for how to make the company better.

Employee. Nope. I’m smarter than you so I’m just going to run the company my way and ignore you.

Boss, at the annual review: You are really bad at your job, but I’m going to give you an extension because I know you and the unknown is scary. Please try to be better at your job.

Employee continues to ignore the boss and do a terrible job running the company.

Boss, next review: You are still terrible at your job, but I’m still not going to fire you.

Employee: I’m shutting the company down!

You wouldn’t keep an employee like this in a business. Why keep an employee like this in charge of the country? Let’s fire them and try to replace them with people who might actually care about what we think.