Some years ago I decided to no longer write anything negative online. The idea presented as a sort of vow or promise: I would not participate in writing that would lead to more separation.
Political speech, whether intended to be or not, is almost always divisive, and is premised on us-vs-them thinking. People from all parts of the political spectrum and all types of backgrounds engage in this sort of ongoing online anger.
I made this choice as a self-protective measure: it is deeply upsetting to me to read hateful thoughts from people I know. I didn’t want to add to that frenzy. My solution has been to ‘unfollow’ anyone who posts political speech. As a consequence, I’ve unfollowed many of the people I know in real life, who would probably never express themselves so callously in person. This is how normalized hate-filled opinionating has become: normal, nice, educated people do it all the time.
It is possible to be deeply engaged in the world without writing hateful or angry words masked as political speech. It is possible to express opinions in the positive form.
I’ll go back to this core belief: words have power.
Words create our subjective experience of the world. It is freeing, on a purely personal level, to disengage from negative and divisive words. On a societal level, it is deeply important.