I am rather disturbed by the news of the shooting of killing six people and injuring 12 others, including U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona this weekend. I’ve had a tough time concentrating on my work today.
I dislike discussing politics outside of my own circle because it just brings out such viciousness in people. Although I’m a long way from Arizona this horrific political event felt so close to my heart. Ever since 9/11, terroristic activities within our own country just seem so personal now.
I am ashamed at how volatile the political language in this country has developed.
During this past Florida state election, I was nauseated with the way politicians beat on each other; spewing venomous names and telling lies or half-truths about their opponent’s personal lives.
For the first time since coming of age to vote, I thought about not casting my ballot in the state election.
When someone commits a terrible act, such as the case in Arizona our media gives these evil individuals major press time personifying the glory that the perpetrators typically desire. TV and radio commentators fight with each other on-air while all of this is captured on YouTube and played continuously in a loop on the internet.
And this same venue plays out in the virtual business world as well.
When business owners have been ‘burned’ by a virtual assistant, many of the comments I read are cruel. These shafted business owners, although entitled to their opinion, certainly cannot justify similar political name calling in their business posts.
I have had my share of clients who have ‘burned’ me but I have not gone on record publicly chastising their businesses or marring their name.
The premise seems to be that if you don’t like someone, it’s OK to publicly reprimand an individual in any way possible.
As a virtual assistant, I write something every day. I think about what I write and I give great thought about who will be the recipient of what I say. I do not want to offend anyone. My presentation is all that I can regulate.
I cannot control what people say about me but I can control what I say about others.
The old adage, ‘sticks and stones….’ is wrong! Names do hurt and they fire-up those who do not think rationally. The Arizona terrorist is an angry, mentally deficient young man. His own posts give us reason to believe he was heavily influenced by the vicious diatribe between our elected officials.
Our current, dark political atmosphere is not to blame for this man’s behavior just as playing violent video games cannot be blamed for the Columbine massacre. But these influences help mold behavior; particularly for those with a sick mind.
In business and in politics, NOW is the time to reflect on how we communicate with each other. Gone are the days when it took a full day for news to reach us in today’s newspaper when we had time to reflect and discuss events with each other. Editorial comments were, well, edited…and for good reason.
The unedited internet has brought us all closer together but in many ways it has also created a divide.
There is no time to wipe-up a messy blog written in a tirade about someone who might have offended us. With a push of the ‘send’ button, these often insensitive comments have already gone out to be posted on someone’s site, somewhere in the world to be read on someone else’s computer screen.
They cannot be taken back.
Words create moods. They also affect behavior. Think about what we say and write about each other. Someone just may misinterpret and act in ways which may shock us.