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Many people have a wide array of opinions about how to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic appropriately. Furthermore, they seem interested in expressing those opinions on social media.
No matter where you fall in the spectrum of how our nation has handled things so far, we can likely all agree online debates can get ugly. Yet here we are.
Yet it’s so easy to fire off a chastising or sassy tweet, text or post to those we don’t agree with. All you have to do is hit send. Will that actually help the situation or just provide you a moment of instant gratification?
In Kansas, some made it clear they don’t like the state’s phased approach to opening up and have begun openly criticizing Gov. Laura Kelly and her plan.
Recently, Kelly came under fire for online speculation — spread mostly across social media — that she had gotten a salon-worthy haircut. Memes were made. Knowing whether it was true or not didn’t seem to matter.
Kelly admitted she had gotten a haircut but not by a professional. No, instead, her husband gave her the trim.
“It scared the bejesus out of me when I first let him do that, but I had no choice,” Kelly told the editorial advisory board. “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
Story closed. But we ask this: When has bickering on social media ever led to someone overtly changing their mind on a large scale policy? Could people spend their time doing something a bit more enjoyable or productive? Absolutely.
It's perfectly fine to disagree and have discourse, but when it comes to name-calling or pointing out personal peccadilloes it's probably better to keep it to yourself.
Several world leaders have echoed these sentiments in recent months.
This past weekend, former President George W. Bush made a rare public statement calling on people to set aside politics to help fight this virus as a single nation.
“We are not partisan combatants. We are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God. We rise or fall together and we are determined to rise,” he said.
Taunting others on social media is not new, but in times of crisis, it sure isn't helpful.
Right before Lent started — a world that seems lifetimes ago — Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to consider making a concerted effort not to bully others online.
"We live in an atmosphere polluted by too much verbal violence, too many offensive and harmful words, which are amplified by the internet," he said. "Today, people insult each other as if they were saying 'Good Day.'"
We think their insights seem rather helpful for a successful quarantine.
In short, if your comment is a taunt, perhaps keep it to yourself. After all, no one likes an internet troll.