It’s a strange world we live in these days.
There’s no shortage of global issues needing to be addressed and also no shortage of opportunity for the everyday people among us to have their say. Social media has opened up a voice for many people to be able to publicly voice their concerns or stance on issues facing our world in a way that was not afforded the generations before us.
Unfortunately, though, we are also in an age of political correctness that is reaching a level of dangerous proportions.
You may have heard the saying, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.” As has been the case throughout the ages, the most powerful tool mankind has in combatting the evils of the world is our words. Words are powerful. Words bring life and words bring death. The words of one person can inspire the actions of many.
And so we see social media used as a space where, when issues large and small occur, people bring their words to plead their case, to stir hearts, to move mountains. This is good people doing something in the fight against the multitude of “evils” in our world.
However, it is in this space that ever-increasingly we see the scourge of other “good people”. They come masquerading as crusaders for a cause and yet a clear articulation of what they care about is never found proclaimed on their social media accounts.
Instead, they use their cause to minimise others. So, when one person stands up to fight for a cause, instead of backing them, or even remaining silent, they use the platform of another to bring their voice to a whole other issue. Someone speaks on the issue of immigration and the comment by another accuses them of not caring about domestic violence. Another speaks of domestic violence against women, and they become the villain because they overlooked domestic violence against men. Yet another raises concerns for the environment and they are torn down for not caring for the poor.
And bit by bit, voices that have the courage to stand for something, the power to stir hearts and the faith to move mountains, are bullied into silence by the voices of those who can’t, won’t or just don’t articulate their own heartfelt cause as powerful voices of their own.
Maybe the issue is the underestimation of the power of our own voice to cause change. So, instead of raising a voice, the call comes to silence others. Maybe it’s just the way the tall poppy syndrome works on social media.
Regardless of the cause, the result will inevitably be the same. Voices become silenced by what may seem well-intentioned, but is in reality bullying by people who would describe themselves as good people.
So, what can be done? Is there ever a simple solution?
I don’t know. My heart says to show compassion for people demonstrating insecurity. Remind them of the power of their own voice and encourage them to raise it on the issue that they have passion for without fear or shame.
Solutions to issues of bullying of any kind require all mankind to demonstrate a desire for change and, if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that we cannot change the hearts and minds of others.
I don’t know what the answer is. But, I do know what the answer is not and cannot be. We cannot silence ourselves for fear of being bullied by well-intentioned, good people. The answer is not to stop speaking about the things we are passionate about. The answer is not to shut off our voice on social media, in media, in correspondence of any kind. The voices of those willing to speak cannot be silenced by those not yet brave enough to speak.
If the good people win their well-intentioned battles, there is nothing at the end but silence, not of evil, but against it. In the end, we’ll be left with good people saying and doing nothing, allowing evil to triumph.