Wednesday, November 9, 2016

US Election

You know, in the eight years I've been posting to All Booked Up, I never thought I'd be writing a political post, and especially not one for a country other than my own. Nonetheless, even though the US Election may be considered to be "none of my business", I'd like to have my say.

My hope for after the US election, no matter which side won, was for a return to civility and rational discussion. Maybe that's what's going to happen. I have to admit that so far today, I've avoided the majority of news sites/articles/TV/radio coverage. However, what I have seen online doesn't fill me with hope - at least in terms of comments. News articles themselves, yes.

Maybe I'm looking back for something that never existed and the name-calling, insults, slurs and other verbal attacks littering the comment sections over the last year or so have always been there. Not just in the US either. I don't even want to think about the comment threads I've seen on CBC articles.

It's very possible that I'm just more aware of it due to the news coverage on the tone of the election campaign. There certainly was a lot of that.

Was it never possible for people to disagree based on facts? Discuss and debate a topic and actually increase each others' understanding of it by the end of the conversation? If not manage to come to a mutually pleasing solution?

Maybe it's too soon after the election and feelings are still running high.

I sincerely pray that the insults and name-calling I've seen so much of over the last year - from both sides of the spectrum and both sides of the border will decrease and civility return even partially.

It's honestly reached a point where on most sites I can't find anything but personal attacks against the other commenters and the news source. Certainly no substantial opinions on the article itself. Maybe those comments are there too, but they're generally so buried that I can't find them before I'm completely frustrated by all the hatred and insults.

That's what I want to see go away. The hatred, name-calling and insults. Even my facebook feed (I'm not including any of the linked news articles here - they're covered in the previous paragraph) on individual friends posts I've been seeing these kinds of remarks in the comment sections. And then there are the various photographic memes, some of which have a very hurtful aspect to them. Under the humor, so many of these memes circulating are in my mind promoting hatred.

Maybe seeing so much of these comments is my fault for daring to venture into the comment sections of any media source: Facebook, articles, blogs etc. Maybe I should just avoid the comments altogether. After all, it seems as though I'm just punishing myself by daring to look and read.

But then should I also avoid my TV so as to not see the attack ads constantly being run? And here, I should note that my tolerance was already thin thanks to last year's Canadian election attack ads. It seems in the last decade that politics has shifted from debating/attacking policy to attacking people. That is what I want to see ended! Enough already!

Where has the civility gone? the focus on substance over show? Or were these things never actually a part of politics and debate? Either way, the attacks seem to have spread beyond the realms of politics, at least on the internet and show up on any issue and most articles where comments are enabled.

This is what has disappointed me the most over the last two years.

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