Never has the poison of social media been more evident than at the current moment when our nation is deeply divided on the decision by President Trump to kill Iranian Revolutionary Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
Democrats and liberals, Republicans and conservatives have squared off on social media platforms adding fuel to a fire that is already ravaging the nation and dividing our Republic. Beyond name-calling, the accusations and arguments perpetuate our anger and blur the line between what is false and what is true.
There’s nothing social about social media. The frenzy of commentary is focused on taking the fight to the next level. It’s focused on advancing an argument through humiliation, not reason. It’s not enough to present opinions, the battle is not “won” until those with opposing views are laughed at, embarrassed or mortified.
The “influencer” with the most clicks wins, for now.
We, as a nation, are doomed to repeat this pattern and continue down a path that leads to societal suicide as long as we lack leadership.
We’re not talking only about politicians. We’re talking about people we turn to in our community for guidance, who establish our moral conscience. We’re pointing at neighborhood pastors, family doctors, business owners, civic group organizers, attorneys, corporate executives and others who choose to speak up.
Responsibility is a fundamental characteristic of leadership. Until we have “leaders” who are willing to assume all that goes along with speaking out, social media platforms will do us more harm than benefit.
Leaders must tell the truth and point out when the truth is not being told. When questioned, our leaders can reference credible sources and provide accurate information that foster logical, not emotional, arguments supporting their point of view.
We are reminded of Russia’s Communist Party President Nikita Khrushchev, who boldly predicted in 1956 that his country need not invade America to conquer it “… without firing a shot.”
“We will destroy you from within.”
Social media has the potential to accomplish that outcome. Americans pride themselves as exceptional in large part due to this nation’s history of leadership. We carry the torch of freedom, we embrace free speech, we encourage capitalism and foster innovation.
Now is the time to recognize our responsibility as leaders and mature as a nation on social media. Freedom of expression demands intelligent, honest and truthful speech to prevent the mentality of a mob from dictating an unwanted outcome.
We encourage our readers to participate in social media when they can contribute constructive comments and demonstrate the leadership needed to advance our nation.