Posted by: Christine Donovan | July 10, 2009

What ever happened to kindness?

Whenever possible, I try to catch a cable news program to see what’s going on in the world.  In fact, I’m a bit of a news junkie. 

And… once in a while I venture into online discussion boards…sometimes political, sometimes entertainment, sometimes business.

And I always find it amazing that, whether it’s television news or online chatting, and no matter what the topic (i.e. Michael Jackson or the stimulus bill), people manage to find a way to spew hate.

So I have to wonder:  when did having an opposing opinion make it OK to hurl personal insults and vicious obscenities?  Whatever happened to ideas like kindness, acceptance and tolerance?

The Internet has provided a JumboTron screen for basic human nature to project its ugly head.  Online we can learn a lot about ourselves and each other by skimming discussions, chat rooms, so-called “news” outlets, and discovering that at a basic level, human beings are overflowing with disgust for one another.

I’ve been pondering why there is so much hate online, and secondarily, on cable television (and sometimes even network) news.  Has this hatred always been around, but just hiding under the guise of social correctness?  Has the online world provided a forum for repressed human vitriol that has always been floating under the surface?

Maybe it has crept up on us over the past 20 or 30 years… sparked by unpopular wars (Are any wars popular?), ever-changing social mores, diminishing ethics, cable television 24/7, and of course Internet access.

Huffington PostI guess it’s really kind of a chicken and egg question: which came first, the Internet or the hatred?

Sheesh…I remember a time when “good manners” were expected from most civilized people.  You might disagree, even passionately with others… but you were respectful of the person. (I remember a scene in Gone with the Wind, which took place at a social gathering; the men argued the pros and cons of civil war. The debate was heated, but the “gentlemen” were respectful of each other.  Of course, the South has always been gracious.)

Well I have a lot more to say about this, but I’m on a word diet.  I’ll be back tomorrow…

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