How to Function When A Leader Is An Internet Troll IRL
We live in an online age with all of the world's knowledge and resources literally at our fingertips. We should, theoretically, be entering into an era of wisdom and open-mindedness as we are filled ever more with knowledge and connectivity with cultures beyond than our own.
But with the age of the internet came the age of another, terrifying beast: the internet troll.
One scroll through YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or any other online forum will unearth at least one, hard at work hurting others simply because they are small like that. Thanks to the internet's nature of anonymity, many are willing to say things they would never dare if they had to use their face and name, and many, like virtual serial killers of joy, simply enjoy causing harm to others for their own entertainment.
The existence of such people online is horrifying enough, but when they step out from behind their computer screens and continue spewing the same vitriolic garbage in their eternal pursuit to build up their own ego, we have a real problem. Especially when the person is in a position of power.
When a person enjoys inflicting pain, whether by words or actions, giving them a platform of power and security from which to rain down their acid rain of hatred gives them the ability to destroy lives. And when that person thrives on the hatred of others, they have the ability to tear entire civilizations apart.
Unfortunately, this is the situation our country now deals with on a daily basis. We are a country led by an internet troll IRL.
The man filling the seat behind the desk in the oval office enjoys being hated. That's really all there is to it. He feeds off of it. Being hated makes him happy. From his famous catchphrase, "You're fired," one that shows a need to draw power from the pain of others, to his childish attacks, meant to incite a response, on those who don't see the world his way, it is evident that he thrives on the inflicting pain, and on the hatred of those he has wounded. He is a bully.
This was never made more evident than in his recent remarks reminding Puerto Rico, an American territory, of their debts as they are on the brink of widespread panic and death mere days after a devastating natural disaster. Aid has been embarrassingly slow, but our leader's hateful words for all the world to see were, as usual, quick to find their mark.
These are not the actions of a man who wants to be loved or to care for those around him. These are the actions of a man who sees a chance to wreak havoc on the hearts of others and jumps at the chance.
But the thing that brings more pleasure than anything, even the loudest cries of hatred, to an internet troll is watching as his words destroy relationships between others, laughing as we tear ourselves apart. All because of him.
So what do we do?
Until now, voices had to be raised against him. People needed to see him for the man he truly is. The difference now is simple: we all see it. Even those who still love him do so because they admire a man who feeds on hatred. Some people find that impressive, I guess. I only find it sad.
Now that we all see him for the internet troll he is, we have to treat him as such. And what is the best way to destroy the ego of a troll? To address the issues and not the person. We address racism, but we don't mention his words. We fight sexism, but we stop giving his sexist actions the attention he so desperately craves. We support our veterans and our current military servicewomen and men, but we don't acknowledge the way he has turned them into pawns he uses to make his points. We can raise our heads from our work of doing good, only briefly, to reject each new moment of hatred coming from his general direction, and then we resume our work. To do anything less would drive us to insanity.
The best and only thing we can do while an internet troll is in power is to retain our humanity and to learn from the mistakes that brought us here. Our last election was, on both sides, one driven by hatred, fear and disgust. Most voters were not moved by an inspired vision of the future. They were motivated by a fear and hatred of the other.
Now we find ourselves led by an administration dominated by the values with which we voted.
The best we can do now is to learn from our mistakes and refuse to repeat them. We can fight for the issues that matter and build relationships with those around us. We can dream of a better country, fighting for a better future, and we can do it without feeding the ego of the internet troll in power.
A troll is only as powerful as we allow them to become. We are not a monarchy. We are not a country under the leadership of one. Think about and address your time and attention to the other members of our government. We as individuals may not be able to remove ourselves from under his leadership, but we can free our minds from his control.
Don't allow your time, energy and emotions to be occupied and crushed by one who doesn't deserve you. Employ your ingenuity, creativity and inspiration to build us a better tomorrow.