“I am right. I am right. I am right…” sings my inner voice. This is the background music of my life. Sometimes I barely hear it, but it is always there. And when someone upsets my sensibilities by doing something I think is unsafe, or unproductive, or rude, or disappointing, the volume rises and the chorus fills my head until there is hardly room for other thoughts. In that moment…
I need to do more than share my RIGHT opinion. I need to thoroughly trample the obviously WRONG opinion and leave nothing but crumbs where it used to be!
The problem is that this incessant, mantra-humming inner voice seems to live in the squishy gray matter of the Wrong-Opinion People too. Arghh! So what are we, the Right-Opinion People to do?
Long ago and far away, in the pre-historic times before social media, arguments might be held at family gatherings, in dimly lit bars, and in brightly lit coffee shops. Opinions would be articulated in the Letters to the Editor section of the local paper. The passionate might don a slogan-ed t-shirt and the truly obsessed might erect a homemade placard on their lawn. Eventually, throats would tire, pens would run out of ink, t-shirts would fade, and Mother Nature would blow over the placards. Then, when the volume of the “I Am Right” refrain had petered out a bit, the more reasoned among us might begin to hear each other. However, in 2016…
We can SHARE our Right-Opinions with the push of a button.
And since we are most frequently sharing with the like-minded souls of our Facebook/Instagram/Twitter minions, it is highly likely that our rightness will be confirmed with “likes” and “shares” and positive “comments”. Together, we will feed our Right-Opinion egos with video-clip confirmation that important people – like super-models and 20-something pop-stars and late-night talk show hosts – agree with us. And we will vilify the Wrong-Opinion People with language we would probably never use if we were talking to them at a family gathering, or in a dimly lit bar, or in a brightly lit coffee shop.
In public, we will speak of weather, sports, and Netflix plotlines. Our t-shirts will promote nothing more than a name-brand and our lawns will be unpolluted by signage. We will not need to stress ourselves out by engaging those pesky Wrong-Minded folks in actual dialogue. Thank Goodness. Because THOSE people are so certain that they are right! It is infuriating!!!
Behind closed doors we can SHARE our Right-Opinions with wild, reckless abandon, and UNFRIEND, UNFOLLOW, and HIDE the Wrong-Opinion People, but to what end?
There is US and there is THEM and ne’er the two shall meet. WE will scream amongst ourselves and THEY will do the same. Our battleground will be the comment-sections of YouTube and Facebook, and the hashtag madness of Twitter, where the most extreme among both US and THEM will smash into each other with Gladiator-like fury (from the protected enshrines of their homes).
Those most capable of cranking the inner-voices of the like-minded to full fever-pitch will prevail. And the reasoned will wait… and wait… and wait. And hope that when the volume finally goes down we will not find ourselves permanently deafened by the sounds of our own voices, and will still able to hear each other.