To the Silent Segment

6 09 2012

Are you an active participant in Social Media? By that, I mean do you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pintrest at least once a day? Or maybe you’re a non-poster, but instead an avid viewer. Maybe you log on only once or twice a week to see what “the kids” are up to. No matter how often you take a look, you are bound to see some type of political statement in this season of elections. Is the polarization of our country becoming worse or are we just now more aware of it?

I, for one, am interested in the high level of engagement that appears on Social Media these days. Granted I see it more overtly with “repeat offenders” (for which I have created a Friend List), but I do watch a number of intense debates that shed a great deal of light on the nature of our culture… Even our local sub-cultures.

Lately I’ve seen somewhat of a backlash of traffic where people are threatening the acursed “un-friending” of those that continue to fill the space that answers the question “What’s on your mind?” with political preponderance. I hesitate to call these [posts] rants. However, many times the comments that follow the initial posts often qualify as such.

I think that I can break down those who are reading this into one of three groups. Group 1 (these are in no particular order by the way) would be those of you who are nodding your head in agreement. Group 2 are those of you who are, at this very moment, thinking about what you want to comment in rebuttal of this post so far. Group 3 are those of you who just want me to show you how to create Friend Lists. Group 4 are those who have no opinion what-so-ever, and you are just trying to kill some time by following some links from a Twitter feed.

To each of you, here is my point: The world we live in, is in fact, becoming more polarized. Social Media has NOT accelerated this process. It has though brought it more to our attention.

I have close friends and distant acquaintances that live on both sides… wait. I really don’t think there are simply 2 sides anymore. I honestly believe it’s more of a interlocking group of spheres. Think of an atomic nucleus. Yes it’s made up of protons and neutrons, however each are connected and touching so many others that are unlike themselves in the highly compressed object.

Our culture is highly compressed. I think it’s very hard to find a “purest” anymore. There are radicals to be sure. However even within those ranks there are hypocrites. Yep… hypocrites (one of the most touch sensitive words in our vocabulary).

I do wonder, in the next 60 days, will we see a marked increase of political based chatter on our Facebook walls and Twitter feeds? Will people other than the repeat offenders have something to say? Or will the Silent Section (what used to be the Silent Majority) watch from a distance and then vote how they had planned to vote at this time last year? Are there really that many undecided, or does that percentage of the polled public lie about their choice to ward off Pollsters and the inevitable follow up questions?

I see all of this as proof that we are headed to a zenith of a “WE” culture. When the witch hunt will begin again. The last time a zenith of a “WE” hit was in the early 1940’s. The Department of Justice started keeping a list of organizations that it deemed subversive beginning in 1942 and then came McCarthyism. We are 10 years from the next zenith (2023, which is 80 years from the last one), however if you look closely at history and you watch our culture evolve, you can almost make out in the distance where we are headed.

Now I’m not saying the government will propel the movement to “call out” and “blacklist” people. But I am saying that the Silent Segment will have to state out loud and in public what they believe. The atomic nucleus will be blown apart and each person will have to stand on their on with their core values and beliefs.

It will take 20 years for the dust to clear and for effective change to be made easy again. My boys will be 20 and 25 at the zenith and close to my age at the tipping point (when we begin to head more towards the “Me” culture. I’m not a survivalist and I’m not storing up ammo (yet), but I am worried about my boys. Will they be ready to answer the hard questions? Will they be ready to not be silent? To stand up, raise their head high and be clear about what they believe? Will they lead their families to do the same?

Many in the Silent Segment believe, actions speak louder than words. So many of us are in fact hypocrites that we know our words hold little weight. It’s the reason we are silent. It’s not that we aren’t convicted… just that we are aware that there is plank in our own eye. (Maybe now more of you have moved to my Group 1!)

So many of us struggle with our own forgiveness. We head for the charity route so that we can try to donate our guilt away. We become tolerant because we think we understand the internal guilt that we assume “those people” must have. (Some have now moved to Group 2) Moreover, we can’t defend our beliefs so therefore we remain quiet. Like when the teacher asks a question in class that we should know the answer to, yet we pray she doesn’t call on us! We “kind of” know the answer, but surly someone else can provide it more clearly, or at least with authority.

I see the next generation being more hungry than the last to be able to answer the questions. They have a better handle on hypocrisy and understand that you can’t get away with it anymore. It’s the good part of being in the middle era of the “WE” culture. Information is not hard to acquire and proof is even easier to provide. The very first thing that was pointed out in speeches of BOTH the RNC and DNC were lies (a.k.a. mis-information, exaggerations, bad data, inaccuracies, simple conjecture.) Where with my generation the was a lack of absolute truth, the next generation will have to find truth absolutely. There is a difference.

Unlike the special note added to the post for the image at the top of this page, soon there will be no special forum state your view. It will all be public and everyone will have to answer the questions. Are you ready to speak clearly about what you believe? Do you have the words to convince, say… yourself, that what you believe is true?

What causes you to be silent?



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