On the EDge: Time for anger management class

Stock image, St. George News

OPINION — Americans need to all take a course in anger management.

I thought that most of the vitriol I’ve been seeing in social media of late was simply a result of the political season kicking off.

Between the Trumpers and bible-thumpers, and their opponents, social media is a pretty nasty place right now.

Offer an opinion on Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who went to jail on contempt charges for breaking the law by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and you are beaten up one side and down the other, regardless of what your opinion may be.

Talk about Donald Trump, or any of the other Republicans in the race for their party’s nomination to run for the White House, and you get hammered, no matter what your opinion may be.

Make mention of either of the two Democratic Party frontrunners and you get lambasted, no matter what your opinion may be.

Of course, we’ve always been warned that it is a bad idea to discuss religion or politics, even in polite company.

But, today’s anger extends beyond those unmentionables.

Anybody who knows me knows I am a guitar aficionado. I love all things guitar, from classic old acoustics to the state-of-the-art instruments being produced today.

But, I recently dropped out of a couple of Facebook forums because, well, it just got too ugly.

There was one thread that began on a page where people post pictures and specs of guitars they have made by hand. Now, making a guitar is not the easiest thing. It goes far beyond coming up with a clever or, in some cases, classic design for the body. There are electronics to consider, wood types, fret types and on and on and on.

And, each has its own place and value.

But, the other day, reading through a post, people started ripping some poor guy up one side and down the other for a design he obviously spent a lot of time creating. It involved a rather complicated carving that turned out beautifully, not to mention the finish, electronics and all the other business that goes into building a guitar.

It, obviously, was a lot of work, and the guy did a good job.

Still, he got raked over the coals for some really dumb reasons.

I’ve seen people scream at each other in their personal posts — you know, writing in all caps and liberally using exclamation marks — over such trivial things as the fledgling NFL season.

Take a look at the comment sections of the STGnews Facebook page or the give-and-take at the end of one of the stories or columns. You’ll see how out of control it has become.

I don’t know when we lost our civility or why. I also don’t know how we can remedy this epidemic of bad behavior.

Now, that doesn’t mean we should be all lovey-dovey. There are definitely people who, for a number of reasons, are unsuited to our lifestyles or beliefs, and there is nothing wrong with setting personal standards and limits.

What I am seeing, though, is how people who are supposedly friends can suddenly go ballistic on each other in the unkindest ways.

Friends don’t go headhunting on their friends.

If you were privy to my Facebook friends list, you’d find a very interesting mix of people who are at both ends of the political spectrum; people of deep faith and people who are not; people who are degreed and known on a national level and people who are known only to their family and friends.

You would also see some discussion that can be, at times, very, well, let’s say “lively.”

I have lost two friends over the last few years simply because, as they said, they cannot tolerate being friends with somebody with such a liberal perspective. I guess, in some ways, I was an embarrassment. Or, perhaps, they were so insecure in their own personal beliefs that they couldn’t handle a different perspective, which is a shame.

And, I have dumped people from my list for being so utterly offensive in remarks that were personal attacks on others they did not know or have never met, insulting close friends and relatives. I had one guy complain, saying I was restricting free speech. I reminded him it was my page and that I could put whatever I wanted on it and delete comments or people who stepped over the line of decency.

Arguing a point vehemently is one thing, disrespecting somebody is quite another.

And that is what it all comes down to, a loss of respect for one another, something that started surfacing during the Obama-Romney race.

I began noticing how people talked to each other on social media much differently than they would if they were face to face.

They were insulting, rude, downright crude.

As much as I like good debate and discussion, I found it uncomfortable, much as I do today when I see people start devouring each other in comment sections on social media sites.

Look, nobody expects us to be in agreement on all issues. That would not only be boring but unproductive.

And, nobody expects us to take the other route and be so timid that we never tackle issues of substance. That would be a coward’s way out.

But, we should expect a certain amount of respect from one another, particularly those we choose as “friends,” whether in real life or the fantasy world of Facebook and other social media, which have become the way most of us communicate these days.

Have your opinions.

Be firm in your convictions.

Play hard.

But, please, play nice.

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Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: edkociela.mx@gmail.com

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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42 Comments

  • BIG GUY September 15, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Couldn’t agree more, Ed. I hope your words will encourage a more considerate level of discussion on this site.

    • native born new mexican September 15, 2015 at 10:21 am

      I agree with you and Ed this time big guy. Having a difference of opinion even a strong difference of opinion is not a justification for a personal attack against some one. Even column writers like Ed need to be careful that they stick to writing on the subject they have chosen and not resort to biased, disrespectful and even untrue comments about others which then opens the door for more of the same type of behavior from comment writers. I believe you can state a strong opinion with out name calling or mocking others. Name calling includes unfair labels. If you want the freedom to state your views and opinions then allow others the same freedom. All of us here on St George news need to police ourselves on this subject.

    • Roy J September 15, 2015 at 11:46 am

      2nd that.

    • Accountable September 15, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      Hopefully, BIG GUY, Ed will be heard. I have been so dismayed/shocked when reading the comments of the supposed members of our Southern Utah community. If the “commenters” on this site had to expose themselves instead of hiding behind fake identities, I’m sure they would disappear because they are all COWARDS.

      • 42214 September 15, 2015 at 8:26 pm

        Well Accountable, what’s your name, address and phone number. Put up or shut up, coward

      • Dexter September 15, 2015 at 8:56 pm

        Takes one to know one.!!

      • Dexter September 16, 2015 at 8:35 am

        Hey Coward where is your name and phone number.?

      • fun bag September 16, 2015 at 5:26 pm

        ACCOUNTANT GUY: I’m afraid if i used my real name then our nice local mormons would do to me what they did to the wagon train up in mountain meadows. We need to be safe. 🙂 cheers

  • Brian September 15, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Anger management classes won’t be enough. Lack of self-control is a huge problem in this country, and the PC / victim lessons being taught across the country in schools, culture, etc don’t help. What we need are lessons (taught not classes but in every moment and every action) on core values, empathy, and the “big picture”. Kids are being taught (in so many ways) that America is this horrible country that does horrible things all around the world. That is true, of some of our leaders and their misuse of our military. But that isn’t true of the vast majority of people in America or the vast majority of individual members of our military (or our police force, that looks more and more like our military every day). Until we re-learn the lessons of personal responsibility, personal character and integrity, and love and empathy towards our fellow human beings, anger management classes will fall far short. But I agree with the call for civility.

    • Dexter September 15, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      I don’t need to make a call for a civility I like the new truck I just bought…! LOL.!!HA HA HA HA

  • anybody home September 15, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Donald Trump is the epitome of this behavior. He likes being angry and thousands love him for it. We’re not even close to civility these days.

  • 42214 September 15, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Mesaman, this was written just for you. Hope it helps.

    • mesaman September 16, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      Your compliment was well taken. Now to rise above this lower level of human functioning I leave you to your dismal fate.

  • Dexter September 15, 2015 at 10:28 am

    TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT.!

  • Billy Madison September 15, 2015 at 11:53 am

    I agree Ed, wanna go get a cup of coffee sometime? You still got that company credit card?

    • EdKociela September 15, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      LOL!!! As if they would trust ME with a company credit card!!!!

      • 42214 September 15, 2015 at 5:20 pm

        Name one liberal who can be trusted with another guy’s credit card.

  • munchie September 15, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY ED!?!? I think this all started with the rise of right-wing radio…the Limbaugh’s, Beck’s, Savage’s, and carried right in to Faux News. O’Reilly, Hannity, Faux and Friends don’t just give opinions, they try to trash anyone who doesn’t agree with their narrow views. It must be comforting to be so sure about everything.

    • fun bag September 15, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Right on. The right wing hate machine is constantly spewing nonsense and lies. Ed’s BS of “can’t we all just get along” rings as hollow as ever. We should have no tolerance for kookery, and there’s plenty of it on here, and you just can’t talk sense to them because it bounces off…

      • native born new mexican September 15, 2015 at 6:28 pm

        You are making my point fun bag. Only your view should be tolerated. Other people’s views are kookery and should not be tolerated. It appears you did not read Ed’s article or else you were not able to understand what you read. Too Bad. Some people just won’t learn.

        • fun bag September 15, 2015 at 8:30 pm

          i admit i didn’t read it because i assume it was just like all his other columns. NM u can post all u want, but we are entitled to disagree with u, and there’s much worse things to be called than kook, so get over it…

        • fun bag September 15, 2015 at 8:50 pm

          Ugh, I was wrong NM, I actually did read about 3/4 of Ed’s piece earlier and completely forgot. It wasn’t very memorable at all and read just like his other stuff, so I almost instantly forgot it. The way I see it the conflict keeps a healthy debate going, and anger and frustration is what motivates people to get moving. It’s gonna take a good amount of anger to finally expel all these illegals out of our nation, and we’ll be much better off for it. hope trump keeps at it!

          • Dexter September 16, 2015 at 8:33 am

            TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT.!!!!

  • Jensen September 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Bring on Ed. You usually are the one pushing peoples buttons in here.

  • sagemoon September 15, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Good piece, Ed.

  • Roy J September 15, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    On a side note, I think we are all aware that forums such as STG News that edit comments mostly only for swears and comments of that sort, can expect as a result a certain amount of relentlessly rude remarks. That’s the tradeoff, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who is a member of other forums that are moderated both for relevant content and reasonable behavior. I am as rude as the next person on here, sometimes, but that’s on me, and I suppose the thought that my ridiculousness still being in plain view (long after my own feelings have cooled) for the casual observer can be considered embarassing enough. It’s a give and take. XD

    • fun bag September 15, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      It’s a lot more than just swearing that’s filtered out. I’m not even allowed to address certain commenters anymore because they called the editor and cried and whined and got all butthurt over nothing. And I won’t even name names, but it’s pathetic

      • fun bag September 15, 2015 at 4:41 pm

        only 1 person, a very immature person

      • Roy J September 15, 2015 at 5:37 pm

        FUN BAG,
        AHAHAHAHA!! Whoa! I wonder if you’re the record holder?! AAHAHAHAHA! Way to be! XD

        • fun bag September 15, 2015 at 8:31 pm

          well, there’s crybabies everywhere. what can ya do?….

          • Roy J September 16, 2015 at 12:01 am

            Yeah, I hear that…I guess its best to just tell it like it is, even when telling it like it is is a kick in the nuts…XD

  • SSTEED September 15, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    We are looking at a symptom and not the real problem. We all need to express ourselves and some of us have a lot to express. We all need attention and we will get it one way or another; but we need to understand that the comments that people leave are a reflection of their own experience and generally says more about the one making the comment than whatever they are talking about. We need to not take these things personal, especially when they are anonymous.

  • Ladyk September 15, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    I find it interesting that you think this started in the Obama/Romney race. I think it started long before that. Like when Sarah Palin was on the ticket and the left/liberal side could only say the most vile comments about her and her family. Then we have Obama as president and he jumps out in front of the media to call the police “stupid” before he even knew the facts of the case. Then we get to the Romney/Obama debates and Obama lies all the way through.

    Then we have the women of “The View” who do nothing but spread vile lies and hatred. They can’t find a single kind word for anyone who has a different opinion than they do.

    Obama has given us years of blame the police, blame the white people, blame this country and when someone stands up to the lies and tells us that there is a way to bring this country back to where we should be then it is called hate speach. The media, you included, has been such a wonderful example of how to treat each other. Heaven forbid that a person be allowed to have their own feelings on a specific matter. Or be allowed to run their business the way they choose without being sued because they say no to something that violates their personal beliefs. It is the people on the other side of these cases who have run a successful campaign of making anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs seem evil. They have launched horrible online campaigns against anyone who gives money to the “wrong” political campaign or support the wrong group. Just listen to the people in Hollywood who have been “outed” for being a Republican and now can’t find work unless they change their personal views. This hate speach you talk about started long before Romney came along, and if you remember the first time he ran for President he had to have a press conference dedicated solely to the subject of how Mormons are Christians and do believe in the same Christ from the Bible. Because you know, Mormons have never had to deal with hate speach.

    This was a nice opinion Ed. To bad it was all a lie and just a cleverly worded hate filled article.

    • fun bag September 15, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      woah! you really are a loony tune aint you. I actually have more conservative views, but the incessant republican lies and hypocrisy are more than i can take. Dems are too liberal for my taste but i’ll take the lesser evil. Someday when/if the rupublicans ever practice anything they preach i’ll be amazed. Oh and Romney was mormon-brainwashed elitist. Worst of all worlds. Can’t imagine that lunatic in charge. LadyK you just got added to the ‘kook list’ with ol’ NM up there, cheers 🙂

      • Ladyk September 16, 2015 at 10:31 am

        Thank you for proving my point. You couldn’t make it one sentence without name calling. It is easy to see who the real problem child is. As for being on your “kook list” that really hurts….for like a second. Then not so much. I am not to concerned about your lists.

        Have a great day!

        • Simone September 16, 2015 at 3:12 pm

          Pot. Meet Kettle.

        • fun bag September 16, 2015 at 5:23 pm

          Well, you do care about my ‘kook list’ because you cared enough to reply. But don’t worry, being on the kook list isn’t the worst place to be. we are all friends here 🙂 xoxo

  • fun bag September 15, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Oh yea Ed Kociela, LadyK was right on one thing.. it started way before Obama/romney.

  • anybody home September 15, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    When did it all start? Does anybody here remember Joseph McCarthy and his “hearings” back in the 50s…Well, it goes at least that far back. Or how about white adults spitting on a black child being enrolled in school in the 60s. The examples of hate and incivility in this country go back a very long time, centuries even, so let’s not start thinking this is anything new in America. Want something more local – consider Mother Jones and the mining camps. You can look it up.

    • Lastdays September 16, 2015 at 10:20 am

      Oh no, it’s been going on longer than that. I think the debate over the Declaration of Independence went over rather quickly because everyone agreed on that. However, the debates over the Articles of Confederation that followed and eventually the Constitution were very heated with fierce battles by all those involved. And the Bill of Rights was not added until 1791 again after some very fierce debate by all those involved. Which is good. We need that.
      So, the current shenanigans and debating going on by Dems and Repubs against each other and against the other parties is not that big of deal and is expected. It’s been going on for a long time and MUST go on for our nation to exist.
      If Apathy takes over and everyone gives up their fight, then we will then be in big trouble. Some might not notice if we are in trouble because they just don’t care.
      But, the attacks I see on comment boards and chats do cross the line sometimes, especially if it becomes off topic and pointless to the conversation in general. At least provide some substance in a comment and not just a verbal temper tantrum. I think we all become exhausted by those who constantly whine or attack others. Show some intelligence and provide something for us to think about or ponder for a few minutes.

  • Dexter September 16, 2015 at 8:41 am

    Mongo only pawn in game of life. LOL.! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA somebody using a quote from that stupid movie Blazing Saddles. To make a pont on St George News…. LOL.! HA HA HA HA HAHA…..

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