The Toxicity of Our Public Discourse

Because I believe we find ourselves in a pivotal moment in history, I have recently followed politics a little more closely than usual. That’s how I found myself logging on to Twitter, where, for many years, I’ve had an account I never use. 

The atmosphere of polarity in our politics, with all its judgment and shame from both sides, troubles me deeply. The impersonal nature of one’s online presence has made the internet, and specifically social media platforms like Twitter, “safe” outlets for our anger. As much as I try to avoid it, almost daily I’ll find myself scanning the responses to a post - often one concerning a topic that is peppered with only a slight bit of controversy - to find comment after comment that smacks of hatred. 

My first inclination is to retreat from this ugly public battle. But, the bigger part of me has been asking how I can influence this situation positively. I have an idea or two that I may share another time.  

For now, I want to share another writer’s position on this topic. Take the time to read this column by Kirsten Powers, of The Washington Post. This isn’t the first time I found, reading one of her pieces, a remarkably clear expression of my own sentiment.