I’ve had some great experiences with Twitter. It’s been fabulous when connecting with fellow indie authors. But it’s also where I see the most ill-founded, uninformed arguments that–as far as I can tell–are based solely on people not liking people who disagree with them. Yes, even more than Facebook.
Lately in the bookish community on Twitter I’ve seen people blowing up about a post that they’re assuming is racist due to a poorly-chosen preview image, when in reality the article has nothing to do with race and the full image that the preview is clipped from is ethnically diverse.
And that’s just one of the issues I’ve seen.
A few days before the book cover fiasco, I saw a post by a pro-choicer who listed a whole bunch of “______ Lives Matter” statements and said that pro-lifers ignore them, then said “4-week-old embryos matter” and that that’s the only time we care. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, it’s bad logic to cast blanket statements about people who hold the opposing viewpoint.
I really wanted to ask the original poster if he had any proof to back up his claims that pro-lifers don’t care about blacks or Muslims or the LGBTQ or any of the other people he’d mentioned, and what he considered to be proof that someone did or didn’t care about the lives of a group of people. Monetary support? Social media support? (I saw multiple people I know to be pro-life share about the mosque shooting a few months ago.) Taking them in under our roofs?
It is simply a fact of life that no one can support every underprivileged group at once. The vast majority of us are not millionaires who have tons of money to put toward helping the homeless, we can’t spend every waking moment defending gay friends from bullying, and we can’t go help arrest mass shooters who killed bunches of Muslims. Yes, we can speak up about issues like this, but we simply don’t have the ability to help everyone, which means we have to choose our battles. Many people choose to fight for the lives of pre-born children. Others choose to foster orphans. Others reach out to the LGBTQ community.
Just because pro-lifers choose to fight the hardest for pre-born babies doesn’t mean they don’t care about anyone else on the planet, hard as that may be for you to comprehend. It doesn’t even mean that they value the lives of the pre-born higher than the lives of anyone else. I guarantee you that most would tell you they believe the murder of blacks or Muslims or gays are just as reprehensible as the murder of babies. To quote Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:
“Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”
Do not assume malice in your opponent that isn’t there. If you can’t find anything legitimate to pin on your opponent (and this is true of those on both sides of any argument; I do not intend to say that this is only an issue among pro-choicers), you might want to rethink your stance.
It’s especially confounding to me, in this case, why a pro-choicer, who clearly believes that pro-lifers are choosing to control women’s bodies and take away their right to choose, feels they need to find them guilty of anything else.
We all need to stop villainizing those who don’t agree with us. Ad hominem attacks are not helpul. We are all human. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses, places where we’re wrong and places where we’re right. We all have things in common and things we disagree on. Just like pro-choicers shouldn’t villainize pro-lifers, Christians shouldn’t look at members of the LGBTQ community as monsters. Just like Conservatives shouldn’t view Liberals as all bad, neither should Liberals view Conservatives that way. We’ve all made mistakes, no matter where we stand on a given issue, and to act otherwise is foolish and hypocritical. None of us can see clearly to remove specks from our neighbors’ eyes when we have planks in our own.
“For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ… that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” – Romans 3:22a-24, 26
There was a time when we, as a society, could all have decent, civil conversations about things–even things we strongly disagreed on–and respect each other even if we didn’t agree with each other’s beliefs. If you were standing face-to-face with someone of a different religion or a different race or a different political standing, would you say to their face that they’re a monster or a racist or a murderer? Why does that change if you’re behind a screen? Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean that there aren’t real people on the other side, nor does it hide the fact that you’re being hateful.
Hatred doesn’t win anyone over. It lowers their opinion of you and makes them believe you are thinking entirely with your emotions. If you really want to make a difference and draw people to your cause, try cooling your jets and having a rational, calm, respectful dialog. Try reaching out to people in love instead of hurling barbs at them.
Twitter is a platform. It’s a place where people of all kinds can come from all over the world and interact with each other. That is a HUGE opportunity for collaboration and connection. And yet we use it to attack others and drive ourselves, as a human race, further and further apart?
Think before you speak. Speak to others as you would want them to speak to you. We can still change the tone of social media if we change the tone of our own words.