Mob mentality surrounds hot-button issues

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File


On the federal government website StopBullying.gov, there is a tab that reads, “Be More Than a Bystander.”

It’s time for me to be more than a bystander — the dialogue in this country needs a major facelift.

Remember when you had an opinion for a reason, and you understood that your buddy had a different opinion for a different reason, yet you still respected his or her stance? Those were the days.

On many hot-button issues today like gay marriage and gun control, the name-calling has reached a fever pitch. If you don’t support gay marriage, you’re ignorant and a bigot, and if you do, you’re going to hell in the fast lane. If you don’t think gun laws should be more stringent, you’re a moron and “something something NRA something,” and if you do support deeper background checks for firearms, you’re a socialist who wants to give government all the power they want.

I’m just repeating what I’ve heard.

Meanwhile, we’re telling our children that bullying is horrible. It’s the reason why kids commit suicide, and it’s the reason why others come to school with guns. We must put a stop to it altogether because it’s cutting a lot of lives short.

Hmm.

I’ve said this before on my blog, but I’ll say it again — if there’s one thing you take from this piece, it’s to think twice before you call someone with a differing viewpoint a “bigot,” “moron,” “ignorant” or “idiot.” An athlete saying he would need some getting used to a gay player in his locker room doesn’t mean he wants that player put to death, and another athlete urging all gay players to come out doesn’t make him strange, either.

Another tab on the StopBullying.gov website says “Prevent Cyberbullying,” and that’s where this rant came from, basically. After Jason Collins came out earlier this week, anyone who debated whether or not he should be called a “hero” was attacked. There’s plenty of bullying coming from the other side as well. Regardless of where you stand on the debate, that’s cyberbullying. Maybe it’s not the same kind you’d see middle schoolers embracing on the Internet, but it’s still cyberbullying. Debate is healthy; attacking someone is not.

I think it’s time for the adults to stop acting like children and set the example.

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