Dear Fellow Albertans,
Stop being an asshole. Especially on the internet.
We live in a time and place where we have the luxury to make choices. We have the freedom to choose our religion, which political party we best align with, where we purchase every day items, what kind of food to eat… We also have access to unlimited amounts of information in which we can educate ourselves and make informed decisions about the things that matter to us so we can do what’s best for ourselves and our families.
Here’s the thing though, my choices do not make me any better than you. And your choices don’t make you any better than me. We are all unique humans with the freedom to be whoever we want and that’s OK.
We’re not sheep. We don’t all need to be the same. We don’t need to shut down each other’s beliefs because they are different. We don’t need to argue with strangers on the internet in attempt to change their minds. We don’t need to become radical idealists spreading rhetoric, shame and hate. It’s OK to be different. It’s OK to live among people with different ideals. It’s OK to exist quietly.
At the same time, we all have a voice to stand up and support the causes that mean something to us. I recently attended a rally in support of GSA’s and the LBGTQ community and have expressed my support about this issue online in light of the recent election platforms. I did so from a place of kindness and acceptance without making anyone feel poorly for perhaps not sharing my belief. On that same day, I got into a discussion with someone in Instagram who decided to hit a local beef farmer with a bunch of remarks about how wrong it was to eat meat. Why? I simply told him that it was great that he made a choice that he felt was best from himself and his family but that we all don’t have to believe the same thing and it’s maybe not the right choice to spread thoughts on the specific post he chose.
Non-vegans aren’t trolling vegan accounts on Instagram and badgering them with facts about why consuming animal products is better. My religious friends aren’t throwing facts about the church at me. I’m not shaming friends who purchase clothing from fast fashion retailers when I believe in ethical fashion choices. I don’t get accosted by a smoker on the sidewalk trying to convince me that smoking is better than not.
If you want to use your voice to shine light on issues and beliefs you think are important, do it. But do it in a way that does not bully, shame, or demean others with opposing views. Use your voice in a way that people can choose to take an interest in what you have to say or kindly decline to participate. Remember that minds aren’t changed through radical arguments with strangers on the internet.
Plainly said, don’t be an asshole.
Couldn’t we do more good if we focused on being kind, compassionate and open minded individuals?
With love and kindess,
PS. Please use your voice and vote on April 16. It’s not too late to connect with your local candidates and decide what matters most to you. Educate yourself, speak up on topics that compel you to speak up, have conversations to gain more perspective, but always remember to respect differing views and opinions, live in kindness and don’t be an asshole. Especially on the internet.