About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Opinions Not Allowed Shhhh! #bullies

America used to be the land of the free, a safe place for all people to express themselves without fear, a melting pot for the world where diversity was celebrated.

Not anymore.

Now it's a place where we need to feel like we are with like-minded people before voicing our opinions or else fear the wrath of being bullied. Age doesn't matter. At 48 years old, I feel more cautious about expressing myself than I did as a teenager. In fact, it's worse than I can recall it ever being in my lifetime.

Have an opinion online? Be prepared for the attacks, often by very abusive people who will tell you to kill yourself, leave the country of your birth, insult your intellect (even though they don't know you  at all), and threaten your sense of security. God forbid you work in the public eye because your very livliehood could be in jeopardy with a barrage of online attacks. Why? Because you voiced an opinion that you genuinely feel is valid.

Oh, the horror! You should be stoned in the street! How dare you?

America, what the hell is wrong with you? I grew up in an America where diversity was appreciated, where we were taught to graciously accept other points of view and to respect one another. Now people are unfriending each other, threatening each other...the divide widens further each day and no one seems to care.

There may not be a civil war, per se, but it certainly feels like we're reaching that point. No one is looking for common ground. No one is willing to have a civil discussion. It's either "you're a bad, bad person for thinking the way you do" or "you're brilliant because you agree with me." There is no give and take anymore. There is no, "giving the benefit of the doubt" let alone compassion or empathy.

Extremists have taken over. Compromise has become a dirty word. Experience has suddenly become a negative rather than an asset. The word "American" has been tainted.

With the increase in hostility comes a decrease in tolerance. People are learning to live secret lives, form secret groups with "safe" people who will "get you." People are scared, not just out in the street, but in their own homes on their computers. Social media sites that used to be fun like Facebook are now filled with opportunities to see the ugliness of the world right in your own timeline.

I've disconnected from Facebook for awhile because it got too ugly. I had to increase my privacy settings so severely that most of my "friends" list is now on restricted and only a handful of people have access to my true thoughts--even if it is a meme of an alligator crossing the street with some silliness attached. Who knows? Someone may read some hidden meaning into that alligator and then next thing you know I'll be in the middle of some stupid argument where I'm called a liar or passive agressive--God forbid the alligator just be an alligator! My head spins at the thin skin of people these days--and how quickly their minds go to a dark place of conspiracy and distrust.

I'm not alone. I talk to people who feel the same--scared to voice their opinions or even to share hard won knowledge for fear of being attacked.

Who would have thought that in the United States of America, the land of the free, the land of diversity, we'd all be so afraid of each other? The greatest threat to our nation isn't from ISIS or Russia; our greatest threat to our freedom is fear. Fear of each other. Fear of the truth. Fear of someone else's point of view. Fear of standing up to bullies. Fear of being ourselves.

I am not optimistic about the near future. I see the hatred growing and it makes me sad. Any solutions that could have been offered up have now been dashed because the bully culture is taking over. I can only hope that we fail to bend, that we don't flee, that we find our voice and raise it loudly despite the fear that makes us quiver.

It's hard to argue with people who view lies as truth. It's hard to stand up to those who are intimidating with their threats. But we must.

And we must because it's the right thing to do.

Sometimes the hardest thing is the necessary thing.

I hope that my future grandchildren live in a country where they are free to be themselves without fear, that they know the true meaning of freedom. For that dream, I will stand up and speak up.

1 comment:

  1. Amber,
    Thank you kindly for posting this. I am 66 and feel very afraid to state my open and honest opinions. I fear I will be jumped on for my beliefs and opinions. As you stated, no one cares for a civil discussion anymore and if you aren't in their corner, you are excommunicated immediately. I soon will have my first grandchild. Thank goodness he will be born and raised in Japan. They thought our race for President was comical! Thanks for sharing your thoughts young lady!