Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Vitriol Is Pervasive
I was curious so I looked up the story here, and the follow-up, here. Of course the story was featured by Faux News and was not particularly "controversial", but merely revealing of how some people might take a well meaning program to an unintended extreme. However this angle - the fact that an individual state health department worker may have an erroneous or grandiose interpretation of his or her role in implementing the program - was not explored.
What did strike me as disturbing was not the meat of the story, but the fact that it was an opening for all kinds of vitriol in the readers' comments section which followed the stories. The discussion almost immediately turned into a condemnation of Obama, health care reform, and government policies; thrown in for good measure was First Amendment rights, the Catholic Church's stance on birth control, homosexuality, rampant socialism, etc. I'm surprised no one mentioned the NRA and the right to bear automatic weapons. And this in response to a story about school lunches!
My point is this: we read blogs and news that more or less supports our world view and the issues we care about, so become somewhat insulated from the reality of an alternate universe; but there are countless others who only need an innocuous story about a school lunch program gone awry as an excuse to vent their irrational fears, anger, contempt and hatred toward Obama and every issue we care about.
These people are both scary and pathetic. Should we be worried?