I just read the news report on Michelle Obama being heckled by a gay rights activist when Michelle was giving a speech at a fundraising event this evening. As usual, I quickly went to the comment section. The comment section is my favorite part in every news post because after reading the somewhat unbiased journalistic piece, I see what people deduced from the post, their prejudices, and how they reason. I never comment.
After reading the news post, and as I read the comments, I felt a very physical pain in my chest at some of the opinions I was reading. Now, during the presidential election season, I saw some really hateful comments. Some downright nasty expressions used by people on other people for whatever reason. But nothing quite prepared me tonight for the unbridled undiluted hate that was safely served thanks to the anonymity of the Internet. I saw words like “Moochelle” (referring to Michelle), and “Oblama” (referring to Obama), and “Orangutans” (referring to blacks or the couple – not sure), and some other simply terrifying words that I will not put on my blog. And this wasn’t just on one website mind you, this sort of response was the same on the eight websites I checked. I won’t list them here but I bet you could google this and you’ll see what I mean.
Now if I didn’t know better, I’d think Americans (of the USA), were simply very angry people. From the majority of the comments I’ve read, from news reports, from news broadcasts, on every imaginable topic – religion, music, politics, food, tax, race, mass shootings, fashion, body weight, celebrities, guns, to-breastfeed-or-not-to-breastfeed – like, everything! Not to mention the hateful backlash on this cheerio ad. I see that many people really don’t love their neighbours, and quite frankly, I wonder if America will ever get past her racism. The alarming frequency with which I’ve seen these spiteful comments, opinions and even journalistic reports, would’ve led me to believe that America, the land of the free, is the country that is most plagued with racism, spite, and illiteracy. I would’ve believed this if not for the fact that there are some loving Americans out there too.
My view on this whole heckling affair by the way, is that regardless of whatever you have to say, whether you’re right or wrong, interrupting people – interrupting anyone – is just plain rude. And like my beloved friend said the last time Obama was heckled, it’s not about respecting the President or the first lady, it’s about respecting the Office of the Presidency. With the way Americans invoke the Constitution at every opportunity one would think that they would at least have the decency to respect the office that represents that constitution. But of course, it’s the Americans. Free speech whether it be slander or praise, trumps all.
Back to Moochelle and Oblama. I’m sorry your fellow Americans and fellow human beings have thought to label you a Cow and a Llama. I’m sorry that so many Americans, and people in general, find it hard to love – truly love – their neighbours. I’m sorry for the fact that instead of some people to learn, grow and help each other better with the advent of the Internet, the have only chosen to use the Internet as a primary tool to bully, hurt and hate others more. I’m sorry that though I wish I was better than these people, I’m really not. I hope that by being first self-aware of our speech and behavior, then by observing those around us, we can address the problem that is chronic unkindness (not superficial niceness), and encourage everyone to love their very different neighbour, a bit more.
P.S. Sorry for the disjointed structure of this post. It is 1:01am afterall.