Social media has a way of snowballing with just one comment. Take this quote, posted by an Estes Park school bus driver on Oct. 1, 2013:
“Thanks, Republicans, for trying to deny people affordable health care, shutting down Rocky Mountain National Park, and disappointing the kids on my bus who were looking forward to a field trip there later this week after the first one was cancelled by the flood. You should all feel proud of yourselves.”
Within a few days, the comment had over 50 “likes,” meaning those people agreed with it.
The comment was posted by someone who is partisan and not paying attention to the fact that the government didn’t have to shut down. The Senate has had five years to produce a budget. They didn’t, which is why we are at yet another government shutdown while Barack Obama is president. Four bills were passed by the House of Representatives, all of which could have been kept the National Parks and government open if the Senate had taken any of them up.
Later in the post, this government employee echoed the Democrat party and White House talking points in his inability to “negotiate” in the “my way or the highway” approach, saying, “The big picture would be funding the entire government, not just some of it…the Democrats in the Senate are foolish not to take them up on it, [but] what about those agencies that wouldn't get funded? The Republicans just picked the ones that would make them look good (National Parks, FEMA, cancer research, etc...). At the end of the day, Republicans simply need to accept Obamacare and quit holding the economy hostage.”
Everyone in America is free to use the First amendment and express their opinion, especially on social media. The problem is, comments such as the ones above have a way of taking on a life of their own with other people “commenting” on them, and those conversations can go downhill quickly.
One comment, from Michael Bilos: “Blame the Teabaggers...even moderate republicans look sane compared to those freaks!!!”
Mark Kelly (from Estes Park, CO, but living in Valdez, AK) dragged it into the dirt with: “this is the Teabaggers holding our country hostage. The only consequences of our votes we are regretting is not getting rid of extremist republicans entirely, with behavior like this it will be much easier next go round.”
Do Republicans use words as demeaning and despicable as the Democrat twist on the “Tea Party” title? If you don’t know the definition of “Teabagger,” look it up. For some reason, some Democrats believe this derogatory terminology is okay to use.
In this post, a few people tried to educate, with one person saying, “these people are us…politicians are elected by people who vote” and another commenting, “All you who voted this administration into office now have to live with the consequences of your choices. As are the cities of Detroit, San Bernardino, Stockton….Socialist policies have never worked. There is more of the TRAINWRECK ahead. Don’t let your ideology get in the way of your common sense.”
Why has rhetoric gone downhill so far? Is it because of the seeming anonymous feel of online social media? Would these people make these comments to a “friend” in person? Type in “rhetoric teabaggers” in google and the entire first page is left-wing websites (mainly blogs), all accusing the Tea Party of using violent rhetoric, but the majority don’t post any actual quotes. Interestingly, they all start off by using the derogatory term “teabaggers.” The Huffington Post is known for being left-wing, but their article about “tea baggers” says more about their vicious rhetoric than anything a member of the Tea Party said.
How do we combat this type of slander, whether it’s to the Republican party or Tea Party? Keep it clean. Make sure when you respond to comments on Facebook you use facts, and don’t stoop to name-calling and immaturity. Let name-calling be the calling card of uneducated voters.