The Dark Side of the Internet Author: TriSecDate:08/15/2020 10:11:08
Is the Dark Side stronger?
No....no....no. Quicker. Easier. More Seductive.
Facebook used to be fun.
I used it like we all did once - connecting to old friends, high school folks, staying in touch with my expanded Scouting community and other things Javier was doing when he was younger.
But it always had that "edge". In the unregulated wilds of the internets, over time Facebook has become a vector for increasingly bizarre theories, hatred, and increasingly overt calls to violence and persecution against those that are 'different' from the posters.
I suppose I'm no different - Facebook is an easy platform to instantly share opinions, whether popular or not.
The difference for me is that I have never hid behind the anonymity of the internet. My name was out there, email, work history, school, all of it. Until quite recently.
Back around Memorial Day, Boston exploded like many other cities at the time. As it turns out, I made a few comments to a news story on an obscure website that never got any traction. But somebody saw it out there, and with nothing better to do went digging...and eventually complained to the corporate offices where I work that they took exception to my comments.
That was it. One person complained about one comment. As you probably know, I'm no longer Head Conductor here in Boston - and corporate actually demanded that I be terminated. At least to his credit, the GM in Boston refused to do that based on a single complaint not related to job performance. But it has not sat well with me ever since, and driving tours in Boston no longer brings me any joy.
Yet stubbornly, I remained online. I sterilized my profile, and with my Bio scrubbed - it did become easier to post more things in a variety of places. The final straw came last weekend though. You may have seen it. The Police in my hometown essentially staged a warrantless, armed, home invasion on a suspect that had an unreturned rental van clearly parked on his property. It didn't end well - the homeowner had a knife, and four officers ended up in the hospital.
I suggested in a conversation that I agreed with the homeowner, and I might have defended my own property in a similar manner. A longtime friend of mine from back home - someone I have known since he was 11, I might add, was highly offended and stated that was a deal-breaker; if I supported 'slashing at the police' that he would have to re-examine our friendship.
I took that as an admission that he has started mainlining right-wing Koolaid. I will note for the record, that I find it disturbing that ALL right-wingers live and breathe the second amendment, but remain ignorant and indifferent about the rest of the Bill of Rights, but that is a discussion for another day.
You also probably saw the aftermath - I rather abruptly pulled the plug. I posted a last message, and logged out of facebook. Further, I changed the password and deliberately didn't write it down, so should I be inclined to look again, I'll have to stop and think if I really want to.
But is it surrender?
I'd like to think it's a higher moral stand. We're not going to change the fanatics that have overrun the platform. By choosing not to play anymore, I am taking the high road. I don't need to roll in the mud and manure with no name in order to get my point across. And at this moment in time - there is nobody on facebook that I'm going to change with anything I say or do out there. Like everything else in the former United States, the internet is also strongly balkanized and never the twain shall meet.