We have the “big” sex scandal stories of late – Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Roy Moore – but there are tens of thousands of #metoo stories that have spread from Facebook to Twitter and some have made the local papers and wire services. What I find most fascinating is the lack of distinction among the stories. They range from rape all the way down to simple unwanted advances, and everything in between. A hashtag has come to cover high crimes and social unpleasantness – something that should result in criminal prosecution and something that any socially adept individual should be able to dismiss and move on.
There was another mass shooting yesterday. News, certainly, but not the kind of news Sutherland Springs was – not even close. Why? Is it because the body count was lower, or because it was not in a church or other setting that seemed to be making “a statement?” Is the tragic loss of life any less impactful because it was “only” 4 (plus the shooter) instead of almost thirty? Do the survivors suffer any less because the shooter that robbed them of a loved one was not using their gun for purposes other than simply ending a life?
Our politics, particularly as expressed via social media, are stunting – grossly – our ability to think ethically.
Think about it. It seems like we are all now more interested in “what’s news” than we are in what is right and wrong. Groping is wrong, but not nearly as wrong as rape and unwanted sexual verbal advances are awkward and social inept, but I am not sure they qualify as wrong. Dead people are dead and their suffering and the heinousness of the killing do not vary with the sensationalism of the killing. Yet likes, shares and retweets seem to drive how we approach these things far more than anything else.
But more heartbreaking to me are the people that seem to take some solace from a like or retweet count. An individual who has been groped, and yes it happens to men, needs genuine human compassion – digital affirmation is a poor, poor substitute. The world of science fiction is full of stories where in individuals lose their humanity to the cybernetic age. I am concerned we are seeing it happen before our very eyes. But it is not about implants or artificial limbs – its just about phones.
We need to remember what is truly genuine in this world –
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails;
Love is not a button on Twitter, nor is it expressed by an icon on Facebook. Love is presence, love touches, love sacrifices. It is just too easy to hide behind our smartphones.