Fellow Americans, Social Media is Dishonoring our Constitution

One of the greatest gifts bestowed in our Constitution has come to an inflection point. An ideal that bonded and shaped this great nation, in my humble opinion, is now ripping it apart.

This isn’t just about ones’ political, religious, or the long list of issues being elevated in social networks. This goes beyond standing up for personal principles. We are taking advantage of an unalienable right.

The First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

An abuse of the freedom of speech in the Information Age is malignant. It’s eating at our sovereignty, our relationships, and our personal state of being.

American Flag ReflectionWe are in a period with the greatest quality of life in the history and we wouldn’t know it, scanning social media. And this ownership doesn’t rest on politicians, Wall Street, media outlets, or any group we wish to fault.

It falls on each American and the society we have cultivated –where we keep our heads down on a busy street, yet behind a screen, our mouths open.

If we really want to move “Forward” or “Make America Great Again,” we should consider on changing our individual contribution and clean-up social. This is a reflection on all of us.

Demonstrate, Don’t Lecture

Stop preaching in an open forum and sharing articles. At this point, there is very little “news,” that isn’t supporting a narrative.

Grandstanding in a social channel isn’t exercising a right, but pushing prerogatives through a narrow lens. If you want to publicly support a cause, directly contribute. Let your actions speak.

Keyboard Cowboys, Holster Those Words

When did it become common practice to unreservedly insult strangers and be overly critical about others’ work? There’s a trembling trend; the absence of respect.

Our society as a whole, can no long express an opinion without taking shots across the bow. We attack individuals, feeling the need to be a critic or join along in deformation. It touches opposing views or simply creative work.

Any comment section is how I envision the Wild West was –a hostile environment with little personal accountability.

Attempting to be hurtful to prove a point and/or funny to draw attention with the disregard to an individual, is being a bully. And onlookers contribute. Offensive or snarky comments, regardless if you agree (in principle), shouldn’t be engaged with (liked, retweeted, etc.).

Agree to Disagree

It’s really ok to disagree with family, friends, or acquaintances on topics. No seriously, we can have a relationship with someone who doesn’t share the same position. It never needs to break into a heated, public exchange, especially taking low blows at their perspective.

And it’s not the responsibility any single person to change another individuals’ assessment, regardless of the strength of feelings. Share your take; it may or may not influence. From there, move on.

This right provides you the opportunity to petition, not force.

We expect social media platforms to provide governance of irresponsible individuals. We blame Russia for fake news. We retreat from relationships when sides cross.

It’s time to take personal responsibility for the society we created. Each of us contributes, when (over)sharing our views on social media.

A social media intervention is needed to achieve a better Union:

Without reach, fakes news has no influence

Without response, the heckler has no attention

Without negativity, animosity cannot spread

This isn’t a manifesto. It’s a plea to Americans in changing behaviors and stop contributing to the noise. The Constitution and social media was meant to connect us. Not divide.

I don’t have answers to the problems this Nation faces. But, it’s evident, how we are acting and treating each other, isn’t working.

Maybe taking a time-out and disconnecting from social media is a good start.


Photo Credit: Jon Wallach

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