I check my Yahoo! news page first thing in the morning to see what is going on in the world. Plus sometimes there are odd "human interest" stories that provide a break from the normal doom and gloom of the news.
Lately I've started reading the comments on some of the stories.
And I think I'm going to stop reading those comments.
I can't believe the rampant rudeness! It seems the anonymity of the internet has given free licence to people to say what ever they want. No matter how uncivilized, childish, mean spirited and insulting their comments may be. Whether it be a political, social, current events news item or just an interesting story, people are writing horrible things.
Recently I read a tragic story about a family in Canada that was killed in a car accident.
Random comment: Who cares? They are Canadians.
Stories about bullying, people dying in fires, horrible illnesses...the hurtful messages that people leave astound me. There seems to be no compassion. I really don't understand why, when the subject of the story has faced unspeakable tragedy, comments have to add even more hurt and hate.
As a parent, one of my jobs is to teach my children respect for their fellow human beings. And kindness. And compassion. And understanding. And tolerance. And that job gets harder and harder every day because we are surrounded by hatred and intolerance.
There has been a lot of talk about this in politics recently. And it doesn't matter what side of the political aisle you are on - it comes from both sides. How can I teach my children respect and kindness when our politicians and national commentators are calling each other Hitler, putting gun sights on their opponents and telling their supporters to reload? How can we ever expect to raise children into decent adults when our leaders can not themselves set a good example?
The recent horrific events in Arizona have certainly given us pause as a nation. However, I fear that this will be short lived. Our memories do not seem to last very long. Attention moves on to the likes of the Jersey Shore - where not much is said in kindness (or sobriety) either.
We teach our children that if you haven't got anything nice to say, then don't say anything. Imagine if our media, politicians and commenters followed that ancient rule of being nice. The world would be a much quieter place.