What has happened to us, that we are so angry?

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With Chuck Woodbury
EDITOR
I was very disheartened last Saturday by many of the remarks about our cover story, which I wrote. I will not even mention the subject for fear of stirring the pot again. More than 400 readers commented, an all-time high for this website. Many of those comments were just plain mean-spirited.

Like many people, I am saddened by the rudeness, the meanness of our society, where so many people are so disrespectful to those who may disagree with their beliefs.


I have written bylined essays for more than three decades. Before the internet I received dozens of letters each week from my readers. They arrived in my mailbox. They were almost never rude. People disagreed with me often, but they did so with respect. Not anymore, not with the Internet.

Liberals hate Conservatives and Conservatives hate Liberals. My grandmother told me when I was a little boy to refrain from using the word “hate” unless I really meant it. I’m sorry, Grandma, for disobeying.

In the two years Gail and I traveled full time in our RV, we met a thousand other RVers. We sat around campfires. We joined together for evening cocktails. I never remember one person jumping on another person because they said something that conflicted with their own beliefs. I am sure those people represented the entire political spectrum. And yet we enjoyed our conversations and laughed often.

Some readers of this newsletter think they know it all; they have all the answers. They are right and those who disagree with them are wrong. They have, what the late motivational speaker Zig Ziglar used to call, “hardening of the attitudes.”

The thing is, if you think about it, the people they verbally assault are almost all good people — “Mom” and “Dad” to their kids and “Grandpa” and “Grandma” to their grandkids. They are treasures to their friends. They go to church, volunteer in their communities, do good deeds. And, like you and me, they enjoy their RVs and the lifestyle we are so fortunate to lead. Their politics may be different. What is so wrong with that? Isn’t that our right in a democracy?

Yet, those mean-spirit people can vent their anger, even hatred, when communicating online. Would they say the same if they were face-to-face? I doubt it.

The internet has given everyone the power to share their views with hundreds, even thousands of others. All one needs is a computer or smartphone. The person they attack is faceless, as are they. What has happened to some people that they are so disrespectful to others? Most of us are trying our best. We don’t attack our next door neighbors for being different, but strangers … bombs away! Is it wrong that we should say what we believe, in hopes that in conversation (or in writing) we can come to understand others’ points of view? How do we ever learn, even grow, if we stop exploring ideas that conflict with our own?

To those of you who respect others, who enjoy hearing others’ opinions, you are to be treasured in today’s angry world. I hope you remain a part of this audience for as long as I can move my fingers across a keyboard.

chucksignature

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Darrel

Stop stirring the pot with your liberal biased articles and viewpoints and perhaps the divisiveness you intentionally create will dissipate.

Karen B Bickell

I know exactly what you mean by “hate expressed verbally or written”. We have bumped into it ourselves over the years but rarely. Recently, within 5 years, we see and hear it much more often. We avoid discussion of politics, and say it upfront when it is brought up by another.

Donald N Wright

If you want to experience RV park grumbling and anger, park your Popup trailer or pickup camper in your assigned pull through site.

Rob

Maybe some folks won’t admit it but the amount of stress people are living under today is insane. Everyone is trying to keep up with the Jones. Debt loads are off the charts as people want and have to have everything the rich can afford. People buy everything above there means from cars to houses, smart phones, vacations, RV’s etc etc etc. All of this debt has created a huge bubble in almost all markets. A large percentage of seniors have a fraction of money required to retire without worrying about money. With interest rates so low there isn’t anyplace to invest our money without the risk of loosing it all. Politics in the US is completely insane. People will shoot each other because they are a Republican or Democrat when in reality both parties have completely destroyed your country. Civil wars are coming to a US state by you.

chipper

bravo… I’ve left bulletin boards because of this. I’ve seen a person ask a simple question be taken to their knees because someone else asked the same question a year ago and heaven forgive them because they didn’t search the archives. The fundamental idea if a BBS is to allow people to ask questions and seek answers. Yes, you are correct. It’s too easy to criticize a faceless person. The internet has done so much good for us and so much bad has come from it too.

Brian

Ah yes, the problem and the answer. This world runs on Money.. Power.. and Sex. If your lacking in one or more of these areas you are angry at other people that have the one(s) you’re missing in life. Listen carefully to what people say in a conversation or watch how they act in any given situation you can quickly figure out which area they’re lacking in and are trying to make up for it.
Just get on the highway and drive 10 MPH over the speed limit in the fast lane you’ll see what I mean. I drive a very expensive car ,men look away when I drive past women stare and smile, I’ve been brake checked for no apparent reason. I’ve had people dump drinks and spit on my car.

Gail Behrle

Well said Chuck!

David R Van Gelder

Chuck,
I am a 76 year old retired farmer from Vermont and I could not agree with you more.
In addition to the internet being available we also have been inundated from our leader in Washington who should be setting the example for our country. Instead he tries to act like a dictator who has no regard for his words and deeds. Words have consequences !
His example for our country is to bully his opponents, threaten if he doesn’t get his way, be just down right mean when it suits him.
Our president has set our country back many years and in so many ways. Civility to our fellow man is not a part of his life and he is spreading it across our country.
I pray our next president can reverse this.

Paulette

It is our right to voice our opinions but in a respectful manner and not with force or I’m right,your wrong! I think it is because people can be anonymous and hide their identity.

Brian

It called “Internet muscles”, it’s the new way to bully people and you get to walk away unscathed. They will beat you with experience. You did it in High School so you know who you are.
Try it in person, sport.

Captn John

I get ads I do not like in my mail box and with the newspaper. They are ignored. If not for Chuck’s strong dislike of CW and it’s CEO the ad would not have been mentioned. It would have been ignored. At the very least stating CW is selling guns was only to cause an uproar as CW is NOT selling guns, they simply included an ad of a sister company. Chuck needs to get past the hate of CW and Marcus as it is only going to grow and not go away. Please don’t start the “20 year loan” rant again as all dealers have that financing.

Dry Creek

Well, to be fair – I only have one question.

I’m a Lifetime Member of GS (purchased just before the unfortunate political stance taken by ML). I usually get all of the junk mail in the world from them. I have never received any of their catalogs advertising sporting arms.

I feel cheated.

Carolyn M. Ausborn

I just joined this discussion site for RVers and read Chuck Woodbury’s article above about all of the naysayers on this site, angry and rude comments directed at him. I am appalled at the lack of respect everywhere now. What gives people license to do this. I have a feeling, Chuck, that the Cyber Bullies (which I believe they are) are also bullies in their real lives. I would bet money, if I were a betting person. People’s characters are changing with changing times. Civility is becoming a dying virtue. Is it wasted on the young? I do not think so. I think there is a broad spectrum of humanity that is seething and angry about whatever is happening in their lives. So sorry about it

Cooper

Wow….sorry for you being attacked, Chuck. What is wrong with the world?
As a Canadian it has been my sad observation that America is becoming more and more negatively divided, especially on internet forums, twitterer etc. and face to face. Why so much hate?

That’s not to exclude us Canadians….we are not perfect.

I wonder at what age people learn to hate? And who are their teacher?

We can do better.

Cooper

Steve Winterowd

The only people that can really hurt you are the ones you care about- the rest are like a yapping dog and deserve the same amount of attention. Most folks are good, but the ones hiding behind a screen name seem to feel that it’s okay to be spiteful and mean, just like this nasty little dog a relative had that was a vicious killer when it was safe behind a window or a car door. Once it lost that protection it would quite often wet itself. If you visualize trolls as that dog, it takes a lot of the pain out of their attacks. It also puts them at the level they deserve- inconsequential.

Hosmer

Well all I can say is that there is a lot of hate out there, and it was further fueled by the most recent election of DT. It will get worse before it gets better I am sorry to say. None the less we don’t condone it, but just to answer to ?Why?

michael hayes

Chuck you are doing it again! You are refusing to take responsibility for YOUR disingenuous remarks last week, which were bound to provoke some blunt comments. I will cop to being blunt. You insisted that you were taking neither a pro nor anti-gun position, but merely asked the innocent question whether GS should be “involved” in selling firearms. Total nonsense and an insult to your readership’s intelligence. You took a transparently anti-gun position. Then you refused to admit you had done so, and called us mean when we called you out. And this week you are back on your hobby horse, still smarting from the reaction to your less-than-honest remarks from last week. Let it go, man!

Gene Bjerke

It is so easy to hide behind a “handle.” Would the internet be more courteous if we all had to use our full, real names?

Sink Jaxon

Personally, I believe the answer to this is, there is a spiritual declination, or withdrawal going on in this world, becoming worse as the years go by. It’s very evident in the US as the Godless minority’s fight to remove all aspects of Christianity out of every aspect of society, replacing a lot of it with immoral behavior especially in our school systems and universities. The further we move away from God, the less self respect we have which is directly related to respect for others. I’m 60 y.o. and I notice it more and more, from civility to common courtesy to morality, or should I say, lack thereof. But I still search for the positivity in people, it’s usually there…somewhere.

Michael Dees

Chuck, the issue was as pronounced as if you had suggested that freedom of speech or freedom of religion be questioned. The 2nd ammendment may not be that kind of issue to you and I respect that. But imagine the indignation if you had used the N-word for example. 2nd amendment supporting people heard that as if you had carelessly used it. I realize you do not understand that as reasonable or on the same level of offence but believe me people reacted with the same intensity. Not a liberal vs conservative thing necessarily. It is shame that not all were polite and articulate in their response as you provide such a great service to the RV community and I for one appreciate you.