I am wrong a lot.
This to be true by the number of times I am told so in any given week by my wife and daughters. It is getting to the point where I am getting on their dad’s-always-wrong bandwagon.
I hear it at work, too, in the form of emails, voicemails, texts.
It has almost gotten to the point I wonder if I’m ever right.
I have used this column several times to express my thoughts about the good people do or could do in our communities.
That can’t be wrong, right?
Well it appears in today’s world, even when you try to do right, there are some who think you are wrong.
It seems almost every week someone takes issue with something “good” I am saying. I do not have a big enough ego to not digest what they are saying, sometimes they have great points and I grow as a person. But there are times I just shake my head and ask myself, “Really?”
How did we get here?
I blame the internet. Or at least the way some people carelessly use it. As the internet began to gain in popularity, it seems people have become braver. Some people’s morals have gotten worse, or revealed. Some people seem to like to tear people down. Some people want to prove they are smarter.
And you know what? Some people are just rude and unaware. Yes, a few readers are already thinking about how to respond to that last comment. But before you do, think about whether it is you I am referring.
I knew once I started writing a column it opened me up to opinions, wisecracks and negative remarks. Quite frankly, I welcome constructive criticism.
Two or three weeks ago in this space, I thought I was being funny and I took a shot at thanking Al Gore for inventing the internet. It was supposed to be a humorous comment, but a reader rightfully pointed out to me this column has often covered ways for everybody to get along and do what is right. How did that comment bring people together?
To some that might seem petty. After all, we need to laugh once in a while. My guess is some Republicans might have chuckled and some Democrats might not. And some people might not be from either party and just are tired of all attacks, intentional or not. I understand that now, so I appreciate the reader’s comments. Let’s try to add humor but not at the expense of anyone. (Blonde jokes are definitely out of the question).
My prior career as a middle school and later high school assistant football coach prepared me for great life lessons. It has given me thicker skin. The experience taught me some people are your friend when their child is playing, but not so much if they sit the bench. It taught me people will not always say nice things. I get human nature.
But the difference in today’s world, people are using the internet and social media to spew their anger. Everyone has the right to an opinion. We live the first amendment everyday. But if we all just took a second — before we hit send, open our mouths, post a comment or pick up the phone — and thought to ourselves is there a better or more constructive way of getting this point across, the world would be a better place.
How do these attacks get wide recognition? Well, from the internet of course. I am told all the time, no one reads a paper anymore, (by the way this is far from the truth) and no one watches TV anymore and radio news is obsolete (OK, that one might be true). Dang there I go again, I apologize to my radio friends, I was just trying to be funny.
So the only option left is the internet, right? But, when you do read the newspaper, listen to news (not talk radio folks), watch TV news (again not talk shows) you have a source in which to reference. You have a source you can challenge.
However, when something is picked up through the internet often the source is very hard to trace. Then, once people start making comments on Facebook, Twitter or other social media (or websites), all of a sudden the truth and facts are distorted. This is another concern I have with internet users.
I realize several times I have asked our readers to find the good, use the internet for good. Now I am suggesting we all should think before we believe what we are reading on the internet (and posting on social media.) The phrase, “Well I read it on the internet, it must be true,” is often said in jest, without some people realizing it is in jest. Also, before adding to the mayhem, think about what you are saying or sharing. Is it accurate? Is it mean-spirited? Did it come from a legitimate source?
That legitimate source thing is pretty important.
It comes down to simple logic and a little bit of research. The internet is a powerful thing, but guess what, we humans control that power. We also control logic.
Speaking of logic, with just over six months to go until the Hall of Fame half marathon on April 28, I am beginning to get concerned. It seemed like such a great idea back in May.
I might have been wrong.
Jim Porter can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. His columns capture the musings that pop into his head while preparing for a Hall of Fame Marathon event in 2019.