I don’t normally comment on articles that show up in my social media feeds. It’s not because I don’t want to. I have an opinion on pretty much every subject under the sun. I just don’t appreciate being attacked by internet trolls who haven’t bothered to actually read the article in question or, for that matter, an entire sentence of whatever it is I have to say on the topic at hand. Unfortunately, no matter what you have to say on any given topic generated by the internet, someone is going to decide that you deserve to be attacked for your opinion.
If you’re a Democrat, you will be attacked by Republicans. If you are a Republican, you will be attacked by Democrats. If you’re a moderate, the trolls will decide for you which party you should belong to and will then attack you accordingly.
Last night, I unthinkingly made a flippant remark on an article about food waste. I don’t know why I stopped to comment this time. I know that by commenting, I am only inviting attack. Anyway, I commented on the fact that my family wasted a lot of food back in the day when we were on foodstamps, but now that I have a steady, full-time income, we can’t afford to waste anything.
So. I criticized the welfare system. *gasp* Obviously, that makes me a gun-toting, Rush Limbaugh-loving GOPer who believes that poor people deserve to starve to death.
“Did I say that poor people deserve to starve to death?” I thought. “That’s strange. I don’t remember typing anything like that.”
I scrolled back to my original comment. Nope. I didn’t type any such thing.
But that didn’t stop a torrent of trolls from telling me what a horrible person I am because – apparently – I believe that most people who collect foodstamps are doing it fraudulently, and their children deserve to starve to death. I am so glad they took time out of their busy schedules to inform me of my beliefs. I never would have figured out I felt that way without their assistance. No wonder I have such a hard time sleeping at night considering how much I hate the poor.
I felt like that lady on the Esurance commercial whose friends are “liking” photographs taped up on the wall.
One troll even informed me that she had stalked my Facebook profile and that I didn’t have any room to talk because I obviously have plenty of food, I have pets, and I went to a concert last fall. Wait, what were we talking about again? By this time, I had forgotten what the original article was even about. I don’t think several of my attackers ever knew what the conversation was about to begin with.
I’ll admit that my blood pressure hit the roof for a few minutes. I think it’s a natural response to go on the defensive when a bunch of anonymous nobodies project their pre-conceived notions onto you and then attack you for something you never said. Eventually, you have to take a step back and remind yourself that you are nothing more than a stand-in for someone in each of those trolls’ own lives who they are afraid to speak up to. Then you’ll feel your veins deflate like a pin-pricked balloon. You may even hear a little squealing sound as the excess pressure slowly seeps out.
The best thing you can do for yourself at this point is to unfollow the thread and move on with your life. Allow the trolls to carry on without you. They don’t even need you to be there to continue the “conversation.” In fact, after you stop responding to them, they will quickly forget about you and move on to their next victim.
You’ll shake your head and wonder how you got sucked into this when you know better than to ever comment on any public post you see. Ever. But then the thing that will piss you off the most is when it occurs to you that you should be allowed to voice your opinion without being shouted down by a bunch of morons who didn’t even bother to read the article in question.
Is it any wonder that our government has been taken over by a bunch of real-life trolls (both Democrats and Republicans) who shout down anyone who dares to voice any opinion that doesn’t fall completely onto one side or the other of the party line?
If you think the welfare system is broken, then obviously you hate poor people and wish they would all just starve to death already so you don’t have to hear about them anymore. On the other hand, if you think the government should provide social services to those in need, then you are a communist who wants to destroy capitalism and take everything from the working class and give it to the poor. There is no middle ground. You are not allowed to be for social services and for fixing the system at the same time.
You have to pick a side. Because side-picking is what will fix everything in the end, right? Once one side has clearly won out over the other for good, then all of our problems will be solved.
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