Beware the Comments Section

I learned my lesson a long time ago about arguing with strangers on the internet.  At least, I thought I did.  Actually, it turns out that I learned ONE lesson about arguing with strangers on the internet.  That was not to try to persuade someone with divergent views to come around to my way of thinking.  That never ends well.  Or begins well.  The middle is pretty bad, too.

There are times when I still make the mistake of engaging with people that I do agree with to argue about the finer points.  I have this naive idea that if we are on the same side, I can point out something that the other person may not have thought of to better strengthen their arguments and hone the focus on our collective cause.

Turns out, that is completely stupid, and a recipe for nastiness.  I was reminded of that fact (yet again) today when I found myself in a spat with some Bernie Sanders followers on Facebook.  I won’t go into the entire thing; I just want to share a little taste. It all began over this graphic that someone posted.


I’ll let you take a moment to look it over before I overlay my thoughts on it.

Done? Okay great.

I was laying in bed last night and I tried to talk myself out of saying anything, but I couldn’t help myself. I wrote something about how I am Pro-Bernie but that I am disappointed with the cartoons.  I didn’t say that it was mean and sexist, which is what I was thinking.  I just said that I thought the artist is heavy handed and should let the data speak for itself.

Someone would later point out that these are charicatures, not cartoons.  And I do understand what that means – it is meant to poke fun. But just compare them! Bernie actually looks better than he does in real life, as if he is being played in a movie by Bryan Cranston in old-age makeup. Hillary looks like she stuck her head in a bucket of bees. 

I got a lot of responses to my comment, but I wasn’t dog piled.  I should be happy about that.  Still, someone told me that if I thought Hillary looked worse than Bernie I was “just rationalizing,” which makes no sense because I stated that I voted for Sanders in last week’s caucus.  Several people accused me of “missing the message.” Someone else took up my cause and was called an “absolute psycho” for her trouble. The next person said we all sounded like “hypocritical jackasses.” And then someone said I should be glad that they didn’t draw Hillary with her broom.  And finally, one of the Hillary supporters told the lot of us to embrace Clinton or brace for President Trump.

Seriously? This from a bunch of people who are ostensibly on the same side. No wonder there is so much blood running down the center of the aisle. 

I’m going to tread more lightly going forward. At least for the rest of the cycle. Then I’ll get back to challenging my peers. Hopefully by then rational thought will have returned. 

Just seven more months, my fellow Americans. Hang in there. 


About Rachel Lewis

I am a writer, ceramic artist, knitter, and stepmom. As a playwright, I had six short plays produced in showcases and festivals in Manhattan, Salt Lake City, and Austin. My full-length play, Locking Doors, was presented by Wordsmith Theatre Company in The New Lab Theatre (University of Utah) in 2005. I co-wrote a teleplay titled “Thank God I’m Atheist” which won the 2015 “No God But Funny” contest founded by the Center for Inquiry. My short nonfiction essay, “It’s Coming Down,” was published by the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs. My essay "The Red Rock Chronicles" was published in Contemporary West magazine. I currently work in pharmaceuticals professionally and write recreationally, but dream of making the transition to write professionally and do pharmaceuticals recreationally. I am a Utah native and live in Salt Lake City with my family and our Goldendoodle. I am working on a collection of humorous non-fiction essays and a second full-length play. Follow me at: @rachel_lewis_ut (Twitter) @rachel_lewis_ut (Instagram)

3 responses to “Beware the Comments Section

  1. In the Navy, we called them Sea Lawyers.. Always arguing just because.. On the internet, they’re Inet Badasses! (I did mention I’m retired Navy this surreal Naval French fluently.. My apologies)

    Regardless of candidate, the people hiding behind their keyboards are viscous. Because there’s no repercussions. They can be mean and nasty and you’re defenseless.

    Use your intelligence to win the day and your strength to not let their hurtfulness cause you to loose sleep..

    If that doesn’t work, lay down a steak of Naval French that’ll make an old salt like me blush!! Then turn off notifications to the post!!

    Just my thoughts! Lol

  2. People who wonder about something look for answers.
    People who believe something look for validation.
    People who know something simply live it.

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