With all of the problems going on in the world, a lot of “newsworthy” events that get everyone riled up are really just completely insignificant in the grand scheme of things. They usually involve someone of significance (or even of no significance) saying something that other people find offensive. And these people often lose their jobs or see other harm come their way. Or maybe they end up giving some big, heartfelt apology for what they said. This was the case for the South Dakota state representative Lynne DiSanto meme controversy.
DiSanto faced a media firestorm earlier Tuesday when awareness of a Sept. 7 post on her Facebook page suddenly rocketed around the internet, sparking outrage and criticism. DiSanto’s post was a so-called “meme” — an item copied and shared by numerous internet users — that depicted stick-figure people being run down by an SUV. Three lines of text on the meme said, “All Lives Splatter,” “Nobody cares about your protest” and “Keep your (expletive) out of the road.”
Above the meme, DiSanto had written her own comment: “I think this is a movement we can all support.” She added the hashtag “alllivessplatter” — a play on the slogan “All Lives Matter,” which arose in response to the Black Lives Matter movement — to make the post appear with other similar posts on Facebook.
I get the point of the meme and it seems fairly obvious that she wasn’t calling for violence but with the recent death of a protester in Charlottesville due to getting run over by a car, she probably could have done a better job of making her point. But I don’t care so much about Lynne DiSanto and this specific case; this case is a microcosm for the bigger problems that I see.
It is absolutely disgusting to me that it is something like Lynne DiSanto’s Facebook meme that triggers righteous indignation from most people. Why are people getting outraged over a politician’s mere words or pixels on a computer screen when these same politicians are committing absolute moral atrocities. Maybe this doesn’t apply to DiSanto because she’s only a state representative (and I don’t know her opinion on the matter), but how many politicians on the national stage are slammed for absolutely inconsequential remarks or actions while they actively pursue engaging the country’s military in unjust wars that kill countless innocent civilians?
So if you want to be a part of polite society, you had better decry Donald Trump’s “locker room talk” about women with everything you can muster, but your objection to the wars is really just a difference of opinion in policy. Or take many of the “antiwar” Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters. You say you’re not a fan of their foreign policies, but their positions on just about everything else are so good that you just have to throw 100% of your support behind them!
How do people compartmentalize these things so easily? We’re talking about murdering innocent civilians, but that can get thrown in with the other policy positions with equal weight (or less weight than some of their comments)?
We need to get much better as a society. I’m not saying that there’s not a time or a place to take exception to the off-color comments someone makes, but we need to seriously recalibrate what the most important issues are and thus what we get the most upset about. Starvation in Yemen is much more important than memes on Facebook.
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