The other day I had an exchange with an old friend on social media and it didn’t go well. We were coming at a viewpoint from two different angles and it seemed to get heated fast. I simply let it go instead of jumping into the fray, but what I really wanted to ask is “who are you fighting for?”
It’s something we should all ask ourselves.
An Angry Tweet
I was on Twitter the other day and saw a Tweet from an old friend that unnerved me a bit. It’s not uncommon for me to feel a little worried about his posts as many of them revolve around conspiracy theories.
This one, however was different. A reporter had asked a politician a simple question and instead of answering it, the politician attacked the reporter and belittled him. It wasn’t even a pointed question. It was actually an opportunity to comfort his constituents.
The exchange between the reporter and the politician was bad enough, but it was the Tweet from my friend that really hit me hard. It was in reference to the reporter: “… kick these f***ers out… you’ve got face time with the f***in [politician]… Show some respect.”
I was floored at the anger and (ironically) lack of respect for another human being. I could see he was fighting for his position, but I wanted to ask him “who are you fighting for?”
A Heated Exchange
I approached him to ask why he was so angry. I told him what the reporter said which was innocuous. I asked him what made this such a big deal.
He didn’t respond to my questions. He distracted, deflected, and laid blame. I asked for clarification. Nothing in his response showed any reason the reporter should be treated like that. Nothing showed anything wrong with the reporter’s question. His implication was that if anyone was mean to this politician this politician had every right to be mean to any reporter just because. I said as much.
His response was once again distraction, deflection, and blame. He showed nothing the reporter did wrong or any reason the reporter should be treated that way.
In the end, he laughed, told me I was messed up, and said I should check myself. I wished him well and went on my way.
It’s not unlike a lot of interactions that happen online. A back and forth is confrontational and everyone is sure they’re the one in the right. How can we know? The question may come down to this: who are you fighting for?
One of the big things I saw in the interaction with my friend was his desire for this reporter to get what’s coming to him. It’s something I’m seeing with a lot of people. There seems to be anger and a desire for blood.
Are you fighting for the people on top or the people at the bottom? Are you fighting for the people in power or the powerless? Are you fighting to get what you want or to get what those who are in a more dire position need? Do you want to see the other side suffer or are you trying to come up with ideas where everyone can do well?
The ironic thing about my interaction with my friend was that he kept pointing out that his political idol was trying to unite everyone and yet all his anger and vitriol was pointing to certain people getting theirs. I really wanted to have the opportunity to ask him “who are you fighting for”, but he was too busy tearing down everyone and everything.
Who Are You Fighting for?
Who are you fighting for? Are you fighting for justice for the oppressed or to secure an easier life for yourself? Are you fighting for your side to beat down the other or do you want justice to be served even if it disagrees with your preconceptions?
Are you in it to win it or to help the most vulnerable? Do you want to see harm befall those who oppose you or do you focus on working things out for the sake of the most at risk in our communities?
Put a different way, when you fight for ideals, is it for those ideals that fit your particular views and politics or are they for truth, justice, and equality no matter if it agrees with your position or not?
Do you want the truth or do you just want to have your views and opinions verified?
Who are you fighting for?