A friend made a comment to me in regards to the Donald Trump backlash. He said that Trump is an attention-seeker. In fact, he seems to be pretty good at getting people to pay attention to him. That attention isn't always positive. But some people just want attention, whether positive or negative. (Although, I'm fairly certain he doesn't enjoy all of the abandonment he's been experiencing lately.)
That thought is tangentially connected to what I'd like to make the main point of my post, which is people who say or do similarly hateful or ignorant things. I've been thinking these last few days how incredible it is that I see more posts about hateful things people say about gays coming from my gay friends than from my conservative friends (the few of those who are left).
I have made many posts myself of the nature "Look at how ridiculous this thing is that this person said." Some pastor says some hateful things about gays. Pat Robertson voices in on one more thing that he knows nothing about. The KKK hands out fliers in a small town. Blah blah blah. I understand why people post them. I've done it myself. I feel the anger. I can't imagine how someone could be so cruel or hateful or ignorant or whatever I feel like they're being. I feel like someone who says or does things like that should be publicly denounced. Etc.
However, I've recently been looking over my newsfeed and wondering if that's a good thing. There's so much negativity toward gay people that I see in these posts, but none of it is coming from fundamentalist conservative friends who actually believe it and are sharing it because they want to spread their message. It's all coming from my friends who are gay or pro-gay, who are sharing it because they want to share their hatred from the message in the post. I feel like I've reached a saturation point. I don't like it anymore. And I find it sad and ironic that it's coming from my friends who feel the same way I do.
I don't condemn anyone for making posts of this nature. I understand why they do it. I have done it myself. But I believe that I will try to do so less frequently. I believe that these kind of posts are contrary to what I wish to achieve for two reasons. One is that any negativity brings down one's spirit. It's emotionally wearying to read post after post of horrible, horrific, hateful material. The other is that it gives attention to people who do not deserve it.
Many of these pastors who say these horrible things love the attention they get. The Westboro church loves it when people call them haters. As I understand it, that's how they fund their operation--by suing people for violating their right to free speech or some other nonsensical technicality. The point is, while everyone has the right to free speech, everyone also has the right to freely ignore people. When someone's spouting something not worthy of listening to, we should not be echoes of their words. We should not be repeater towers taking their little voice and amplifying it manyfold to reach a larger audience. Let their hateful words die out as they exit their lips.
I may start hiding posts of that nature that I see in my feed. I don't know. I may continue to comment on them. I may occasionally post some on my wall. But I do believe that it is often counterproductive. If I wish to share my message of love and acceptance for people who are different, I should not share so many posts which are the hate-filled words of people who would fight against my cause. I should share more posts which affirm the message I believe in.
I acknowledge that we need to be vocal about injustices and that doing so is necessary to achieve justice. So I cannot say that universally no negative posts should ever be made. But I also believe in the Internet-old adage: don't feed the trolls.