It’s that time again - election time. Sure the big election isn’t until next year, but let’s be honest, we start talking about the next election the minute we get the current person into office. Isn’t it weird how winning the next election seems to be much more important than the actual state of our country right now? Hmm.
In honor of all the horrible, mean-spirited and often inappropriate political posts that I see everyday on Facebook (especially now that people are declaring for the 2016 election), I thought I’d write about outrage. Have you ever wondered why there seems to be so much outrage out there? I do. Outrage – a extremely strong reaction of anger, shock or indignation. Okay, so let’s take a moment to think about events that might warrant outrage as a response. The Holocaust? Genocide? Child sex abuse? These days, we find things to be outraged about every day. Crime. Food. Celebrity rear-ends. And what is the typical response to that outrage? Well, when it comes to social media, its often violent and threatening outbursts.
How many times have we seen reports of shootings or rape where hundreds of comments call for vigilante justice and torture. As horrible as the original incident might have been, I always find myself much more disturbed by the violent public reaction. Would so many people really kill? Does meeting violence with violence ever make the world a better place?
And public figures – the media, celebrities, politicians, etc. – use outrage as a device to manipulate people into thinking and behaving a certain way. They rely on the fact that promoting a sense of outrage will short circuit our “critical-thinking” brain. And the sad fact is that it works, time and time again. We are so outraged at what’s being shown to us that we don’t always stop to look at the facts, to hear the whole story. We lose our empathy in the face of outrage. We’re blinded to the feelings of the “other side.” And so the cycle of violence continues. Social reform stalls. Humanity suffers.
Am I overstating things? I don’t think so. Take a look at an online newspaper article the next time a violent crime is committed and see how many people call for Hammurabi style justice before the facts have even been established. Look at how personal the attacks become on our elected officials; as if every action taken by the President were a personal affront deserving of retribution. It’s a scary kind of insane.
Beware of outrage. If you start to feel it, take a breath and evaluate the situation. Try and consider another point of view. Don’t let the outrage machine take away your ability to participate in life and society in a conscious and conscientious way.
I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.