Just took a detour with my friend Karen's blog: http://karenzach.wordpress.com . Seems that back in Tyson's Corner outside of DC an ad company dreamed up an advertising poster for a one-month run in DC's Metro trains. 500 posters. Looks for all the world like the reflection of a woman's face in the black granite of The Wall in DC, red rose and everything. Except it has the names of stores instead of the dead. Plus big words proclaiming "Time To Defrost". Huh? Do they mean it's time to shop?
Anyway, Karen, Jan Scruggs and a few other decent souls found it offensive, as should every American. Sent word to a DC newspaper columnist. Got the ads pulled. Columnist wrote a followup story. I read the followup, but then I made the mistake of reading some of the readers' comments.
Most were supportive of the action. But then there were a few of those really trashy ones insulting the president, fellow Americans, war dead, etc. Name-calling. Labeling. Invective. Conversational non-starters.
I've run out of patience with it. One of my favorite thinkers and writers featured in The Oregonian is Leonard Pitts, Jr. who (still has a job) writes for the Miami Herald and is picked up by other major papers. I find him thoughtful, logical, articulate, civil and not afraid to dig for the core of truth in things. Some weeks back I read followup comments posted by readers. They made me ill. Ashamed. Afraid for our future as a society if this is how we talk about and think about intelligent fellow citizens.
I see it everywhere I read comments posted on the Internet. Are many of us so starved for attention that we run around like elephant-sized dogs scent-posting our most uncivil speech everywhere we can?
The anonymity and the reach of cyberspace seems to have wrung much of the sensibility right out of us.
So here's my new rule:
I will never type anything on the keyboard that I wouldn't say to a person's face with grace and be prepared to defend with fact and love.
Perhaps we need much less cyber-chat and a lot more one-on-one dialogue. Conversation requires both speaking and listening. Maybe less Facebook and more face-time?
Jesus reminded us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Hard to love someone you don't know. Easy to name-call, label and rant; easy to do anti-love. Harder to do the genuine article.
Father, forgive us, for we know not what we've built...