WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 2: United States President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Walter Reed … [+]
Wish someone died from the coronavirus isn’t exactly a noble gesture.
It takes a certain type of poison that is usually reserved for sadists, psychopaths, and criminals. Poison is poison and you have to be a snake to administer it.
Recently, Twitter broke out again with news that President Trump has contracted coronavirus. I scanned some of the tweets here and there (to see them, click the tweet below), felt a little sick in my stomach, and went back to watching the Long Way Up series on my Apple TV.
What we focus on becomes who we are. When we focus on how much we hate someone, we become someone who hates.
Scientifically speaking, it is easier to think negative than positive thoughts. It is based on the chemicals in your brain and how freely they move. There is something about our thought process that tends strongly towards self-protection, a flight mechanism that senses danger and wants guilt and shame. When we touch a hot stove, we don’t think about the physics or admire the cookware. We drop the pan and scream. We swear by the stove. Then we look for someone to blame.
Twitter seems to be taking care of the hot stove crowd. We all scream. The problem is, these chemicals make it harder to imagine a positive reaction.
I’m not going to repeat some of the worst tweets, but most of them follow a similar direction: They wish the president died, or maybe everyone in the White House. Some have suggested injecting Clorox. You get a lot worse from there.
Even a cursory scan of his announcement on Twitter shows that there is a lot of anger and resentment. At least one writer argued that part of this was justified.
It is not justified. Wanting someone to die of a virus that has killed over 200,000 of us in the U.S. is not just a sign of internal poison, it’s just not logical. Who created a floating scale of who has crossed the invisible line and deserves to die from the virus? When do we decide who makes us angry enough? The boss who overlooked us for a promotion? The neighbor who plays Death Metal too loud? The friend who gossiped about our bad clothes or hairstyle?
You might think President Trump is a racist, a liar and a cheater. Maybe you are right. The question is how racist, lying, and deceitful you have to be.
What actually takes hard work is pressing the pause button, counting to 10 (or maybe 20), and pondering the options. We want to be known as people who stand up for life, no matter what life it is about. We’re not picky about the type of people who deserve to survive the infection as everyone should be. We keep hope and confidence in the possibility that every single person can find rehabilitation.
Even the worst of us, no matter how mean, can be redeemed.
As always, the solution of the vitriol is a little cloudy.
Twitter takes a stand against death wishes. They keep saying that if someone wishes President Trump died from the virus, they will lock accounts. In the meantime, the tweets keep popping up. Whatever Twitter thinks it’s possible or tries to do to solve this problem isn’t working. Indeed, it’s an epic failure.
The social media companies have some responsibility to weed out the bad eggs, but in the end, it is the bad eggs that have to come to their own conclusions. There is something deep within us, a fear or coping mechanism that seeks to instill scorn and ridicule. Contempt spreads faster than anything else on social media.
Even the virus, it seems.