I am prone to the occasional melancholy. It comes upon me from time to time for various reasons. In times past, it used to weigh upon me like a load of bricks compressing all volume from my heart. More recently, it has been more subtle and less oppressive. Sometimes I know the source and sometimes I cannot tell from where the oppression hails.
Today, the melancholy flows from Connecticut.
If that horrendous tragedy isn’t enough, the feeling is compounded by the apparent bitterness and anger that seems to flow from our society. Usually, it is rippling along just under the surface of things, but certain events…elections…natural disasters…horrifying events… can bring it out, and our nation begins to spew the spittle of bitterness at anyone who doesn’t see things just the way that they do.
Last evening, when as a nation we should have been holding one another and mourning with those who were so devastated in that small town in New England, we were instead fortifying our political views and firing missiles of personal perspective across the bows of our neighbors, friends, family, and anyone else who might dare take a different position than our own.
In times past, this tendency was not so obvious. Today, with the advent of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, we cannot escape…or, at the least it is difficult to escape…the viral bitterness that erupts during those times of national attention. I have to limit my participation in social media during those times and I know I’m not the only one. I noticed one friend who said she was going to disconnect from Facebook for the next several days because she couldn’t take the onslaught.
Can we not use some restraint? Have we lost all sensitivity to one another? Do we think that because we can’t see people’s faces, those harsh words hurt others any less than they would in person?
I lament that our nation seems to have lost all sense of personal honor.
We as a society need to reacquaint ourselves with some concepts: respect, manners, self-sacrifice. Perhaps more than all of those, we should reacquaint ourselves with what has come to be known as the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
There is a time and place for debate and discussion. We need to hash through issues. However, it is my view that to do so directly in the wake of so much personal devastation is disgraceful.
There. I’ve said it. I can now kick my melancholy to the curb.
Those are my thoughts for the day.