Allow me to share what happened to me last week right after the strike that killed the deserving Iranian general who finally got his due. This is real stuff…
As a note of context, social media is a very critical part of my volunteer and professional work in my local community; and as as an author, blogger and mental health advocate. And, full disclosure…as a senior I struggle big time with mental health problems and trigger easily with panic attacks. Does anyone else relate to this kind of painful emotional reality for some of us? So, I was immediately struck by a cartoon posting in the Facebook page ‘headlines’ in your face presentation at the top of the page.
At the exact moment of the news about the Iranian strike, I was looking with horror at a political cartoon of Senator Schumer and House Speaker Pelosi, who both I admire and respect along with many political leaders from both parties past and present. Imagine this… Chuck with a middle eastern men’s head dress, and Nancy with the women’s version. Both were made to look like evil muslims as a joke. Faces with darker makeup and really ugly looking hateful disturbing evil faces. If it weren’t so obviously hateful and disturbing to me and probably many of my neighbors, colleagues, and friends, I would have dismissed it immediately. They both looked no where near the highly recognizable political leaders we see everyday fighting for us in Washington. I see no intrinsic value in this kind of joke anytime but especially now as America is on a war footing.
This kind of hate is worse than “blackfacing” in my view. We white priviledged kids from the 50s & 60s made fun of everybody, everything and anything that appeared to be different than our frame of reference. It was ugly, stupid and wrong! This was terribly triggering for me growing up in the 50s and 60s, and as adults in the professional world we boomers started calling out hate and social injustice. Making all this even worse, we boomers didn’t have to deal with the more recent popularized use of the word “scum.” Scum definition – extraneous matter or impurities risen to or formed on the surface of a liquid often as a foul filmy covering. Why would anyone with any sense of decency use a word like this? I remember when the use of the word “cunt” became off limits in my generation. Why can’t we make scum off limits like that?
Where are my boomer senior friends and colleagues now to call this out? What do they say? Some of us are more sensitive than others as well, like me… To further inflame and hurt us in our land of…”it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,” we now see the word ‘scum’ popularlized to refer to politicians, or anyone of us, who do not side with the current WH. I’m totally okay with healthy debate but not HATE, please.
I know there are many others in my community who are hurt and triggered by social media hate when it gets through. The crazy political season is upon us now, and it will be ugly, probably 1968 Democratic Convention all over again. Does anyone remember? Click here… All I ask is for my many friends and colleagues in Lincoln County and elsewhere to call this hate speak out when we see it. I will by deleting, muting and unfriending anytime it appears in the headlines of my Facebook page. Will you all join me? As a great reference and resource check out Trauma Informed Oregon, click here.
Are we good on this friends and neighbors? Please join me in this campaign. Thank you!
Steve Sparks, Member, Lincoln County Oregon Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC), and Local Alcohol & Drug Abuse Planning Committee (APARC)