June 7, 2018

What if Your Social Media Outrage is Strengthening Trump?

outrageYou are upset about many things you perceive as unjust, and you want to bring about positive change. Good! The fact that you give a shit when so many don't is admirable. Wanting to improve the world around you is a worthy endeavor and something to which we should all aspire.

You are committed to this goal, and you are likely convinced that you are pursuing it in all the right ways. But what if you are wrong about at least some of the specific ways you have been going about it? What if some of the things you have been doing in pursuit of your goals (e.g., frequently expressing outrage on social media, insulting others who hold views different from your own) are making the problems you want to solve worse rather than better? Are you willing to acknowledge that this is at least possible? And if so, would you want to know about it or would you prefer to continue on in ignorance?

I think you'd want to know. I think you'd want to know if some of your efforts were making things worse so that you could do things differently and improve your chances of success.

If you are a liberal who regularly vents outrage over Donald Trump on social media and insult those who support him, the following might be worth your consideration:
I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't be outraged about much of what this administration has been doing. When faced with the outrageous, outrage is an understandable response. What I am suggesting is that feeling outraged does not always need to result in public expressions of outrage or name-calling and that not all public expressions of outrage or name-calling are necessarily helpful. Some might even be detrimental.

If I thought that regularly expressing my Trump-related outrage on social media and insulting those who support Trump might be making things worse (i.e., strengthening Trump), I'd quickly stop doing it (assuming I had been doing it). How about you?

And yes, I do remember how some on the right behaved when President Obama was in office. I think we all remember that. The thing is, I'm not at all convinced that their bad behavior then justifies our bad behavior now. In fact, I'm reasonably confident that it does not. Being treated poorly by others does not somehow entitle us to treat them poorly while evading accusations of hypocrisy.