‘I’m fed up with people being courageous while hiding behind their keyboard’

Feb 20, 2020
The community writer is frustrated at the actions of others while they're hiding behind their keyboards. Source: Getty Images

Recently a friend told me via his keyboard that I was a bit of a warrior and would take an argument to the end with no regard as to who was in the way. I rejected his claim if he had checked the ongoing private debate several posts earlier, I had said “Let’s agree to disagree, again.” He did not, he continued to pursue our political argument referencing a general pop culture insult to a former prime minister. I returned a response thanks to Trove based on the facts of the matter at the time then I withdrew from further unnecessary debate.

Debate is a good thing. There is nothing wrong with expressing your opinion if it is based in fact and you can support your view with evidence.

What is it about social media ‘debates’, which become mere insult fests when people disagree? Take the Prince Harry and Meghan issue, please I’m begging just make it go away. The level of venom and judgement passed on the Sussexes with no first-hand knowledge of their circumstances is astounding.

A few examples:

“She [Meghan] holds him [Harry] with both hands like he is her puppet.”

“Need to get Archie back here.”

“I think she will break his heart and he will need his family more than ever.”

“She won’t be happy until she has stripped him of everything connected to them. Just my opinion.”

“Leaving his family, his mother would be disappointed with him.”

Why would she be disappointed? Diana left the same family in similar circumstances.

How do people know this to be the case? A quick pop over to the Palace for tea and a chat with the Queen to confirm their opinions. If you just trust what’s in the headlines you might be surprised to see the press have been manipulating opinions.

I’ve read several headlines comparing the Duchess of Sussex to the Duchess of Cambridge and I’m hardly surprised she and Prince Harry would want to cut themselves off from royal life. They include:

‘Not long to go! Pregnant Kate tenderly cradles her baby bump while wrapping up her royal duties ahead of maternity leave — and William confirms she’s due ‘any day now”, published by the Daily Mail in March 2018 and ‘Why can’t Meghan Markle keep her hands off her bump? Experts tackle the question that has got the nation talking: Is it pride, vanity, acting — or a new age bonding technique?’ published by the same media outlet in January 2019.

Or these two headlines from the Express:

‘Kate’s morning sickness cure? Prince William gifted with an avocado for pregnant Duchess’ (2017) and ‘Meghan Markle’s beloved avocado linked to human rights abuse and drought, millennial shame’ (2019).

A popular meme says “Before you speak, think. Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?”

What drives people with courage under keyboard to type the most vicious hateful personal statements about people they don’t know, have not met or ever had a conversation? The slugfest continues when someone offers an alternative opinion. “Are you serious the press have done nothing but bully and victimise her from the onset” is met with more bile citing “free speech”, “it’s my opinion” and “I’m entitled to say what I think”.

Are you? Are you allowed to spew vitriol for no reason just because a couple you are unlikely to ever meet or know on the other end of the planet decided to change direction? How does it impact your life? How does it improve the situation? In what way does it help you live your best life?

The confected rage achieves nothing, so why not focus the anger and act on things that directly affect you? Things that matter to you and your family.

If the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walked into your home would you dare say these words to their faces? Would it be appropriate to walk up to a young couple you don’t know to tell the young mother holding her baby that you think her husband should take their child to another country because she is vain, in your humble opinion? Would you be brave and honest enough to tell her to her face that her clothes are awful and she is a vain attention seeking cow?

When you post vicious hateful comments it affects real flesh and blood people, would you be willing to be the recipient of such mass loathing from people who don’t know you? Would you tolerate that being said to your partner, family or other people you love? After all it would just be someone’s humble opinion.

If this is the Age of Wisdom how did you reach it with such an attitude? Maybe the world would be a better place if we just showed a little kindness and kept a lid on the hatred.

Diana, Harry’s mother said, “Carry out a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day, someone might do the same for you.” I really wish people would choose kindness.

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Have you ever been confronted with hatred, bigotry and insults from someone hiding behind their keyboard? Do you feel you should be able to share your opinion online without repercussion, however hurtful it might be to others?

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