Russ Kent column: Just bite your tongue!


The sky is blue.

A beach on the ocean is my favorite place to vacation. I wish that’s where I lived.

Autumn leaves are beautiful, until they fall and need raked.

The huge full moon expected next week is something I look forward to each year. It’s beautiful.

This is harder than I thought. I’m trying to write something that doesn’t make someone else angry.

Those are four pretty innocuous statements.

But I know someone, somewhere is already disagreeing with me.

The sky is not blue you moron. It’s the bending of the light that comes through the clouds that make it appear blue.

A beach is a sitting target for a hurricane stupid. And there is no modesty there. It is not moral.

Autumn leaves are just another sign that life is dying and withering away,

The full moon? Who gives a crap? Get a life dude!

It’s impossible to write something that doesn’t anger anyone.

It’s even more difficult thanks to social media, an easy outlet for every thought a person produces.

This world would be a better place if we learned to bite our tongues a lot more often.

That’s a phrase some may not have heard. It just means to keep your thoughts to yourself. It’s not necessary to verbalize or write down everything you think so someone else is aware of your thought.

If I wasn’t on social media so much, it would be easier for me.

I wouldn’t read daily all the things that irritate me.

Out of sight. Out of mind.

I could blame my hanging out on FB and elsewhere on work. But that would be dishonest. But even if I wasn’t in the news business, I’d be checking my FB page, Twitter to a lesser degree, Instagram and Snapchat several times a day.

I’m typically pretty level-headed.

That doesn’t mean I don’t get angry. I probably get angrier than most people.

But I keep try to keep my anger contained, which is probably while I’ll die of a heart attack or an ulcer.

And, if you didn’t sit in a room with me while I work, and didn’t hear me pounding my computer mouse on my desk or swearing at my computer or my phone, you’d not know I have a temper.

But there is something about the people on social media that anger me … so much so that I have to fire back.

I bite my tongue 95 percent of the time. But then there is that other 5 percent. And as soon as I post something, I know I’m going to regret it.

But that’s the thing about the internet. Once you post something, it’s really hard to make it disappear.

I don’t write things to intentionally hurt people, but I do try to make them feel stupid at times. But in most cases I come off just as stupid and ignorant as the person who angered me in the first place.

I held back on Facebook the last three or four days … for the most part.

However, on a few occasions, I allowed my anger to get the better of me.

I read post after post that I don’t agree with, and I fired back.

There was no need. The world isn’t going to change because of something I write, but it feels so good to respond when you are attacked. And I’ve been attacked thousands of times in recent weeks for something I’m passionate about.

But the people who write or share posts that irritate me are just as passionate.

And that’s OK. But easy to forget.

We’ve forgotten how to “agree to disagree”

That’s the trouble with a world that does most of its communicating via social media.

There is anonymity on social media, and freedom, and safety.

You may be attacked personally, but you won’t be physically attacked … usually.

There also is immediacy. And that’s where the danger comes from.

Social media should come with a mandatory pause button. But there is no pause and-think-about-what-you-wrote key.

I posted something Thursday evening that probably should have gone away via my delete key.

I felt good when I posted it. Then a friend or two, who have every right to disagree, responded, and were just as vehement in their rebuttal.

It’s a battle no one can ever win.

And I felt bad. I felt guilty.

I regretted posting what I posted, not because I think I was wrong, but because it wasn’t necessary.

My words alienated a few who before this election I considered friends, and who I hope remain friends in the future.

Passion is great. But it also can be deadly.

I have many friends who were very passionate about the candidate running against my choice.

And that’s OK.

Friendly discourse is a good thing.

We can disagree on important issues and still be friends.

And as much as social media helped to elect Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and Donald Trump on Tuesday, it also is a huge factor in the strife and animosity and hatred and distrust that grew out of this campaign.

I used to think letting out your anger was a healthy thing to do.

But on social media, expressing that hate and anger only fuels more rage.

It never ends.

That’s where we’re at today, because social media is too easy, and too immediate.

Perhaps it would be good to shut down the internet for a few days and allow everyone to take a deep breath and think about life and what we’ve become.

Then, once the world has chilled for a few days, maybe we can be one nation again.

It might work.

“Anyone? … Anyone? …”

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Russ Kent

rkent@civitasmedia.com

 

Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer, Morrow County Sentinel and Bellville Star. Email him at rkent@civitasmedia.com with comments or story ideas.