Thursday, August 9, 2012

Live and Let Live: Practicing Peace


Last night, while googling a favorite blog of mine, I inadvertently clicked on a large, well-trafficked website with numerous forums for discussion. Apparently, the sole purpose of posting there was to denigrate eviscerate specific blogs, along with the bloggers who write them. Don't get me wrong, I'm not adverse to stating an opinion or offering other-than-positive feedback, but this went above and beyond. What flourished on those boards was not constructive criticism, or even harsh criticism. In fact, it amounted to hate speech, complete with profanity, character assassination, and a level of malevolence that shocked me. I was literally blown away by the vitriol.

Lest I be guilty of the same behavior that I found so off-putting, I will not mention the name of the site, but I thought it was despicable, and nearly everyone posting there could have taught a master course in intolerance. The handful that did try to introduce a voice of reason were unilaterally shunned and ridiculed, attacked by human piranhas who clearly enjoyed being hateful to bloggers they didn't even know. In fact, this was their express purpose...a sort of blood sport...and they made no bones about it, demanding that anyone offering positive remarks leave the board. (I can only assume they didn't want their desperate attempts to boost their own egos at the expense of others shot down.)

I have a longstanding friendship with one of the bloggers who was systematically slandered there, and I sincerely hope she never runs across the website in question. It would break her heart to read the negative characterizations of her faith and her family, slurs that have absolutely no basis in reality. Not even Stephanie Nielson, a burn victim who is courageously fighting her way back to health, escaped notice. In fact, she was smeared more viciously than most. To my mind, that goes beyond comprehension.

Hence, the title of my Alphabe-Thursday post today: Live and Let Live. Why? Because while not one of us is perfect, every one of us deserves respect. The relative anonymity of blogging and commenting makes flaming (and defaming) all too easy, but we don't need to give in to it. Wherever we disagree, let us do so with civility and kindness, and may we never presume to know the "truth" about anyone when we really don't know them at all.

"A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: 
and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
Matthew 12:35-36

When we speak ill of others, we are telling on ourselves.


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35 comments:

Dixie Mom said...

A similar situation happened to me once. I stumbled on a chat room of Mormon haters with specific threads spewing about my Temple Chaser blog. It was horrific to read. I've heard from prominent bloggers that this is normal for them to get hate emails and comments. I know for me, just reading 10 minutes worth of what I saw, set me back a whole day. I won't let that happen to me again. I choose to not allow those to take my happiness away again. I am shocked and appalled at how many truly cruel, intolerant and and hateful people there are out there. I also can't believe how naive I was about it. I certainly lose hope in humanity sometimes.

Sarah~Magnolia Surprise said...

Some people just don't have anything better to do than to cut down someone else. Amen to your last paragraph!

jen said...

Hope that blog wasn't mine . . . :)

This has come home to me so much recently, and in fact, I asked Lily to set a goal for the school year that she would only say nice things about others, no matter what was being said around her. Hopefully she'll find that goodness feeds goodness. It will be interesting to see if she can do it.

Leovi said...

Yes, I feel awful that misconduct. No doubt your nice slogan would apply: Live and let live.

Splendid Little Stars said...

shocking! I had no idea.
evil for sure! What's the point, really? Slandering others just makes one feel sick inside one's own self. In the end, it accomplishes nothing--nothing good, positive, or life-full.

Riet said...

I have never seen one of those blogs but I can't believe this happens and as I read by often. My goodness I thought the Internet was always nice. I could get scared

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I just don't understand why people want to participate in things like that.

Darlene said...

It boggles my mind to think that anyone would give their time to even read such trash and yet people do. I am always sick inside when I read about some young person who commits suicide from reading terrible things said to them on the internet. I can't understand why a person would continue to read such stuff. All they have to do is go somewhere else or even turn the computer off. It's like bullying on the internet.

You are so right though........I have always tried to live by "live and let live". I could never understand why anyone would want to belittle another person.

Good post Sue!

Brian Miller said...

you realize this makes me want to find this place...ha...always kicking the hornets nest...smiles...guess tht is not peace i am thinking on...thanks for the voice of reason...there will always be those with dark enough hearts with nothing better to do....

VBR said...

Sadly, the internet is an anonymous platform from which people can say things that they do not have to be accountable for, much like the horrible bullying kids do to other kids on Facebook. I did not realize there were actually forums for this type of thing regarding blogs. That is sad. I enjoy visiting everyone on the AlphabeThursday site. But, if there were someone who made me uncomfortable I just would not go there. To critisize or berate them? I don't understand that at all.

Ames said...

I can't do negative right now either! Just now getting happy again and I don't want to go down that miserable road again. I just move on. Bravo to you for moving on too!~Ames

Ames said...

P.S.
I was in the doctors office the other day and listened to an old woman complain about everything. I mean everything. She was waiting for her husband and when he came out she complained nonstop to the car. I watched him tune her out. I am so glad I choose to be a positive person. I don't want to be a bitter old woman. There are good medications out there, too bad that old woman can't realize she needs help.

Jim said...

Hi Sue ~~ Gee, I hope your state wasn't Texas. We have a group of big-mouthed bigots who say just about anything hateful and hurtful. They make up hateful things too.

But not all of us are like that. Really though, I am just a naturalized Texan, I originally was from Nebraska and learned good Nebraska hospitality towards the fellow souls.

Any rate, I do think your "L" words are very appropriate too for the way this upcoming election is heading and for the ways that the primaries were run.
..
Even the way the Do-nothing Congress is acting too!!!
..

yaya said...

I'm grateful for the great people I've met while blogging. I just can't take time out for negative..there's enough of that in every day life that just creeps in when you're not looking. I say AMEN to your post...How about Live, laugh, love...good L words!

storybeader said...

maybe all the slandering people can stay on one blog and slander each other. That will make everyone feel better! So sorry you had to see that... {:-D

karen said...

I wholeheartedly agree. It makes me sick when I read comments that cowards leave on Facebook and blogs. I really don't get the thrill of being cruel.

Mumsy said...

Well said, and Bravo to you Sue! Live and let live..

You had me curious about the forum, but you know that's fine. I don't have time, energy, and interest in finding out anymore..

The way it sounds, too much for my fainted heart to take..

LeAnn said...

I had a similar experience a couple of years ago. It was conference time and it was members of our faith and they ridiculed the messages. I spoke up in a kindly way; but I decided not to follow their blog. It 's so sad when we can't respect other beliefs. I think this is a timely post because there is so much of this kind of thing out on the blogs. It's just sad. Thanks for your thoughts on this subject.
Blessings and hugs!

Andy David said...

Dear Sue,
Love the theme of PEACE. There is a message in your post that is strong and true. Thanks for sharing my friend.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I havd run across some of them and have to wonder how someone could get all that worked up over something as innocent as a blog post...

Xxoo,

RMW

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I havd run across some of them and have to wonder how someone could get all that worked up over something as innocent as a blog post...

Xxoo,

RMW

Grandma Honey said...

Horrible. Why do people really do that?? I mean, who wants to SEEK drama? Who would want to upset others? I don't get it. And picking on sweet Nie Nie? That's evil.

Amy said...

Amen to that! It makes me sad when people feel the need to pull others down to build themselves up. Live and Let Live is such an important thing so many people refuse to do or fail to learn. As said in Bambi, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

Gattina said...

That's disgusting, especially if people take such "critics" to heart. I don't care what people say or write about me, my motto too is "Live and let live !

Cathy Kennedy said...

You know the old saying, when I point one finger at you, I'm pointing four back at me is so true. Cyberspace is the new playground for bullies. People can say whatever they want without the same persecution one would get if they attempted to slander someone face-to-face. Not to say, there aren't plenty of folks out there in society who don't care at all to be nasty, but most people are fairly decent. All I can say, if some good soul happens upon these sorts of site that has bad-mouthed them then I hope they can just turn the other cheek and not allow bitter words to crush their hearts. I hope they can remember that these sorts of people are total strangers to them and what they have to say means absolutely zip!

EG CameraGirl said...

I wish more people understood that being vitriolic is NOT good for their health. People who behave in such hateful ways do as much damage to themselves as they do to other people. It's lose-lose behaviour.

Stacy Crawford said...

Your last line is so correct. Sorry you stumbled across it.

Annmarie Pipa said...

the people who claim intolerance! hate! closed minded! are usually the ones demonstrating it.

Wendy said...

The music was beautiful with this post. It is really hurtful tool to read about such loathing. I think that is where the natural man comes and plays and rips apart. I listened to Elder Holland's talk from April 2012 conference. It doesn't fit exactly into character assassination but fits into not being happy about what is good in life.

Anna M said...

It's so tragic.

I love your thought and scripture at the end. Might even be our new motto for the year. You're the best, Sue!

BECKY said...

I so agree about the amount of hate and ignorance that is abundant on so many sites. It's too bad the internet allows cowards to spew their idiotic thoughts and beliefs! When I see cruel comments on even a newspaper column, I immediately "Get outta Dodge!" As the comedian Ron White says, "You can't fix stupid!" Good post, Sue...and I apologize for being absent for so long!

anitamombanita said...

well said, Sue. there's way too much hate and intolerance and lack of civility in the world today.

Farmer's Wyfe said...

I applaud you, Sue. I have seen so much hate lately, on all sides, and been accused of it myself for having certain standards, just because I cannot deny those standards, that I have really felt very sad about it. A cousin told me that if I believe in a hell, then I should be the one damned to it. I have never said anything about hell or who may be going there. Only God knows that and I have faith that He is more loving and fair than any of us could EVER be. I had not said anything inflammatory to him. I've been kind and loving, but just because I believe the Bible, he hates that I have a faith in God that I cannot allow myself to sway from. I realize it isn't me that he hates, but what God says, but it still hurts. Very much. And you are right. It is easy to think you can be anonymous on this internet life, but nobody is anonymous, ever. God sees and knows. And He's the one who really matters. I am thankful for the kind and sincere people, people like you. Thanks for addressing this. It is good to hear the concern you feel, and very well expressed. :)

Erika said...

People that frequent and participate in these kind of forums need something to make themselves feel better about themselves. Unfortunately they do not realize that they are going about it the wrong way.

Jenny said...

It saddens me that so many places exist like this.

How much better would the world be if people chose to lift up and be positive, rather than trying to elevate themselves by cruelty?

Meanness is an epidemic, I think.

In my humble effort to combat it, I'd like to tell you Sue that your blog is a bright spot in the world. Your writing is amazing. Your kindness noticed and appreciated!

Hugs and A+

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