Column: So much hatred; so much anger


Being angry all the time is neither fun, nor healthy.

But that’s the state I find myself in much too often.

My friends have noticed it. My co-workers have noticed it. My family has noticed it.

I thought I just needed a vacation.

That may be part of it, but it’s much deeper than that.

I’m actually fine at work. It’s when I get home that the anger starts to build. It happens as soon as I turn on the TV or have some time to check on social media, something I used to enjoy.

I’m not addicted to social media. But I’m on it a lot, for work and personal reasons.

It’s a great way to connect with people. It’s also a source frustration and sadness.

Social media is filled with hate. It’s everywhere. You can’t get away from it.

Mostly I peruse Facebook. Sometimes I’m working. Typically, I’m just catching up with friends.

Most of my chats are private, so they don’t show up on my timeline. But I’m there, lurking about.

My habits are changing. Lately, when I leave the office, I pretty much check out for the night.

I don’t want to do anything or see anyone. There are times when friends or family talk me into a golf game or a cookout or a birthday party. And I’m thankful for those invitations. Otherwise, I’d just stay home and read.

Reading calms me. Social media? Not so much.

Most of the fun stuff about social media has been enveloped by hatred.

There’s a whole world wide web of hate out there. And it grows larger by the minute.

These days, I’ll check my Facebook feed a few times through the evening hoping someone I enjoy feels like chatting.

But those conversations are rare anymore.

So I read, or watch TV, or consume too much beer.

On Facebook, I try to stay non-political. Many of my friends — most of them — have a different belief system than I. And I’d rather stay friends than argue.

Sometimes I slip. If I put something political on Facebook, it often starts out as a joke. Rarely does it end that way as someone will be offended and want to start arguing with me.

So, I usually just delete my post and sign off for the evening.

Arguments are a huge waste of time and rarely accomplish anything.

Plus, I’m stubborn. I know my mind isn’t going to be changed and I’m not going to change the mind of anyone else.

Besides, I’ve learned that most belief systems have merit and I can disagree with someone and remain friends.

Apparently, many in America disagree.

Sadly, America, the land of the free and home of the brave has become the land of hate and home of the rude.

Today there is no in-between.

There is right … and wrong. There is black … and white.

That’s pretty much it.

You’re with me … or you’re a moron and the most stupid person the world has ever seen.

Judging by what is seen on social media, you’re the 99 percent of white people who hate blacks, or you are the 99 percent of black people who hate whites.

On social media, anyone who does not believe exactly as I do is the enemy. They should be vilified and attacked. They should be thrown in prison or shipped to a different country. Better yet, they should be put to death.

Too extreme?

Not really, according to the haters and bigots who live on social media, and who seem to have the opinions the national media likes to quote.

An acquaintance from many years ago, who I got to know again via social media, summed it up for me in a Facebook comment Thursday morning. Tarun Reddy actually worked with me at the Galion Inquirer some 30 years ago.

His comment?

If we tear down some statues because they offend some groups’ collective sense of history, then we have stooped to the same hysterical idiocy of ISIS and Al Qaida.”

It’s sad, but America’s growing degree of intolerance is very much akin to the thinking of ISIS or Al Qaida.

Americans have no tolerance for anyone who disagrees with them.

It’s that way in Congress and in the White House. It’s that way in the national media.

It’s certainly that way on social media.

So that’s the way it is in the world, according at least to the national media.

If that intolerance and hatred is so apparent on social media, it must be real news, and therefore worthy of being reported — over and over and over and over and over and over again — by the national media.

Get it?

Web views and web hits and website visits = real news. It’s true, why else would cute puppies and dumb thieves stuck in air ducts be so popular on local TV news programs?

Do you have any idea of the most popular topics on social media?

This opinion is mine and mine only. But the top eight social media topics are: hate, intolerance, hate, violence, hate, extremism, hate and ignorance.

Oh, did I mention hate?

Hatred is America’s national hobby.

Anymore, it’s what we do best. And we’re damn good at it. We used to be good at basketball. Now, we’re better at exporting hate.

Many blame Donald Trump. It started long before Trump.

A lot of presidents before Trump gained supporters by trashing their opponents in public. But social media has given then a voice like never before.

The greatest friend of hate is social media.

Americans can conjure up hate over anything. And then we spread it across the Internet and the hatred becomes all-encompassing.

And if the hate grows enough, it becomes a legitimate a news story.

You know the old saying. “I saw it on the internet. It must be true.”

A confrontation in Charlottesville, Virginia has conjured up more hatred than the 911 attack on the United States.

Why?

I’m not certain. There were deplorable actions on all sides in Charlottesville.

It was bully vs. bully. Thugs vs. thugs. I’d call the level of hate and intolerance pretty much even.

But it was live on social media?

For that reason, no one was going to back down. That would be seen as a weakness … not virtuous, not the right thing to do, but a sign of weakness.

And that’s how it would have been reported.

America used to be better than this. We used to embrace — if not merely tolerate — differences.

Not anymore. You’re 100 percent with me, or you’re 100 percent a danger to the rest of America and should be shipped out or jailed.

A very-loud — and very-vocal — minority, has figured out a way to manipulate a national media that no longer cares about anything but viewership numbers.

The more extreme, the more violent, the more incendiary … the better.

And that means more viewers.

Which only leads to more hatred and more anger from the masses.

It’s a self-perpetuating horror that grows and grows and grows.

Who needs ISIS, or Al Quaid?

One day we’re going to destroy ourselves.

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Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer

Email Russ Kent at rkent@aimmediamidwest.com with comments or story ideas

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