I watched you closely today. I followed you on Twitter. I scrolled through on Facebook. I poked around your Blogs. And America?
You’re missing the point.
When I was a small child, we lived overseas, specifically in Saudi Arabia. Over there, as you can readily imagine, there’s not much Western influence. One of the few Western influences I grew to cling to was American Wrestling. Specifically, the WWF. Sure, it’s just as much entertainment as it is sport, but I clung to it just the same – as many other young boys my age. My hero?
I remember my father would wake us up in the middle of the night when it aired to let my brother and I watch Hogan wrestle. We became pretty big fans of the Hulkster. I remember one evening; Hulk Hogan was set to wrestle a gentleman named Earthquake. Without going into much detail, Earthquake was this morbidly obese guy whose signature move was to jump on people and crush the life out of them (but you probably could have inferred that). Anyway, as a child I remember watching the match as closely as a day trader watches the stock ticker after the bell. Earthquake managed to pull off his signature move on Hogan, and much to my dismay (which I am sure was not only planned but faked so Mr. Hogan could take a couple months off), the match ended with Hogan being carried away on a stretcher with apparently every bone in his once muscular body crushed.
I’m pretty sure I was more crushed than Hogan. Well, crushed? I was enraged and devastated. I remember crying and getting really upset. I vowed that I would always hate the man that crushed my childhood hero. I was angry, disillusioned, and just a plain mess. I was 6, at the time I think.
Now, I’m 29. I have a successful career, a wife, and 3 kids. I pay taxes. I go to church. I give. I participate in social events. I follow the speeding limit. I’m a generally nice guy.
Today, I watched my Twitter feed and Facebook feed from a conference I was at on my iPad shortly after the Supreme Court carried down it’s ruling on the healthcare act. What I saw, albeit likely predictable if I stopped to think about it, was an outpouring of hate, anger, rage, quips, separation, and bewilderment from all over the political spectrum.
I’m not even going to tell you my opinion on the law, because frankly it doesn’t matter. Those of you who know me closely know which way I lean. I value people’s opinions. I value debate, and I value our court system and our political system. But somewhere… somewhere along the way we all became 6 year olds again. It felt seemingly like some of us were rooting for our childhood hero and others for the guy with the crushing blow as his celebrated weapon.
And did we celebrate. We did get enraged. We gloated, we cried foul. Apparently, according to a newspaper, 5 politicians twittered either inappropriate messages of dissent or celebration, and thus quickly deleted them after the drunken stupor of their momentary loss of whatever good taste they had came bad to them. Other places, I watch my Facebook feed fill with people claiming that they were convinced America was set to be ruined. Some were elated in such a manor their gloating was incomprehensibly vulgar. But on the other hand, one frustrated individual actually stated she was moving to Canada (ignorance of their foreign policy will catch up with her, I’m sure).
I’d pretty much guarantee that my 6 year old self, if equipped with Facebook and Twitter (and trust me, at 6, if it was there, I would have had it) would have posted some choice things about Earthquake destroying the Hulkster’s ribs.
I’ll get to my point. What happened to us? When did we decidedly become so divided that technology tools that were meant to pull us together have separated us apart? When did venomous hate towards someone who disagrees with you and quipping pictures become the normal posting?
Can I be your friend and think differently than you about Health Care?
The next Presidential election?
What about what and how I teach my kids?
Are you really willing to boycott a beloved cookie because they decided to make a rainbow one?
Look, friends, the bottom line is this: If we can’t respect the very powers God placed before us, whether it is the President of the United States, or our Court system, your neighbor, your Facebook friend, or just a guy in the grocery line, we’ve all failed miserably at the point.
Shame on all of us. We’re better than this.
If Hulk Hogan taught me anything, it’s that.