"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves." --Rainer Maria Rilke Photo (Photo ©julenisse/Fotolia)

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

What Truths Is Twitter Revealing About Our Nation’s Collective Character?

The vitriol that is spread under the cover of social media anonymity is quickly infecting the rest of society.

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I’ve heard it said that folks who spew malicious attacks and toxic name-calling on Twitter are hiding behind relative anonymity—that they would never look someone in the eye and repeat face-to-face the same nasty, ugly venom, they type out to the world in 140 characters or less.
Whether that theory is true, and I’m not convinced it is, doesn’t matter. Words are currency. Whether delivered via social media, a phone call, email or text, or in the presence of others, the words we choose and way we use them speaks volumes about who we are, both individually and as a society.
So when I see the headline, Longtime Trump Adviser Calls Critic a “Stupid Ignorant Ugly B—–,” it gets my hackles up. Although some of his most profane and poisonous tweets were deleted, it’s been widely reported that Roger Stone, a crony of the President, unleashed attacks over the weekend aimed at CNN commentator Anna Navarro (whom he called “fat and stupid”), politics writer Yashir Ali (“politically correct asswipe”), and a woman who goes by Caroline O.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Mother's Lessons Lead to Her Final Gift

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Photo Credit: Ondřej Šálek Flickr via Compfight cc

“I want to die.”  

It was hard to hear when my mother first said the words to me over the phone, but I understood why she felt that way. Besides robbing her of memory, that thief dementia had stolen my mom’s independence, dignity and ability to have an adult conversation. She repeated herself incessantly and often had trouble spitting out a coherent thought.

“Oh, never mind,” she’d say when she couldn’t get the words out. I could tell she was confused, frightened and depressed at the turn her life had taken. I tried to imagine what it would be like to wake up in assisted living every morning and not remember where I was or why I was there. The thought terrified me.

“I just want it to be over,” she said, in a rare moment of clarity. 

She hadn’t been so definite about anything in five years or more. At first I didn’t know what to say, but a month later, when my mom repeated her desire to die, I’d had time to think about my response.

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