Stop the Politics of Hate: Step 1


I made a commitment not to post memes. I’ve slipped on that a few times. Today, I remember why I made it. I just saw one, posted by a FB friend ridiculing and mocking the intelligence of a politician who is almost certainly more intelligent than my friend. No deeper message, no politics with which he was disagreeing, not even a reference to anything the politician actually said or did. Just a completely fictional “this person said X, isn’t that stupid?”

The politics of hate. Making “jokes” that others jump in and laugh at, not because they’re funny but because it gives us a chance to vent our hostility and then hide behind the defense “C’mon, it’s just humor!”

So when the new kid walks into the locker room and someone makes a “funny” comment about his clothes or hair or mom and everyone laughs, they aren’t laughing because of this insightful witticism; they’re laughing as a means of ganging up against the new kid. The ones who don’t hate the new kid (for the crime of being new or of another race or poor or all three) feel pressured to laugh so they don’t stand out and get attacked, as well.

So here’s what I’m asking: don’t post political memes. If it’s so damned funny that you can’t resist, just send it as a message to someone who shares your views. If you have something of substance to say, say it. Absolutely. Share your thoughts, share an article, add your comments. Put it out there for people to agree or disagree. Back it up. Dialogue.

But honestly, when we post political memes that do nothing but mock and disparage, we’re only widening the massive divide. We’re only playing the politics of hate. No matter who gets elected, we all lose.

2 thoughts on “Stop the Politics of Hate: Step 1

  1. I think when a politician is powerful and has the privilege of disguising their unjust and damaging behavior behind a veneer of respectability, then one of the few powers the powerless have is the ability to undermine that veneer. Humor, even mocking humor, is a vital weapon in undermining it, and its use in this way is very different from the use to which it is put mocking someone powerless (like the kid in the locker room). In some cases, the power cannot be opposed unless it has first been undermined.

  2. Linda Faber

    Whatever one might feel about a politician, belittling through a meme can be heartbreaking and devastating to personal relationships. I LOVE what you have shared here.

    My heart breaks almost daily on my FB wall. . .I have friends on both sides, down the middle, and anywhere else they could be. Each meme that is perhaps witty feels like a gut punch to a friend who sees through the lack of logic, lack of tact, and sometimes lack of truth in the meme. Even if the basic worldview expressed is similar to mine, it often leaves me feeling empty to see that we have to plunge the dagger deeper into our friends on social media. We would NEVER say that to their face and expect them to agree, feel welcome, or even feel safe with us.

    It won’t change their mind to make them sound silly for holding some value that differs from ours. We aren’t changing anything with our “cute” meme. . .we are merely alienating people that have been valuable to our life. People who have eternal worth. People who are people, no matter how wrong we think they might be. Thank you for these words. They echo my own soul’s weeping and give voice to some deep groanings I’ve been feeling.

    Division only serves victory to one side. Unity through love is the only action that will win in the end.

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