I encourage you to look at the replies to this tweet and then listen to my sermon from February 4. One could say that Trump has opened the floodgates to uncivil discourse, or one could say that he has tapped into something that has been bubbling under the surface for a long time. Regardless, the use of social media as a platform for angry, caustic bullying and self-righteous screeds is all of our responsibility. Do we want to see change, or do we want to just shout into the wind. It is clear to me as I watch not only responses to Trump Tweets (Twumps?) devolve into utter stupidity, but as I watch other issues in other settings become places of polarization and defensiveness.
A few years ago I wrote another blog post called Too Quick to Covenant. I take the idea of “covenant” very seriously and I believe that for Unitarian Universalists how we use them can be a safeguard against abusing one another, particularly in media where we all have the ability to be faceless bullies. I am convinced that if we want to see a return to a world where we can disagree and work toward productive ends without demeaning slogans and petty name calling, we can do it. The goal isn’t one-upmanship, the goal is building a world in which we all feel safe and invested.
Trump is a champion of one way communication. It doesn’t work. We have to have the capacity to actually listen before we can really speak any kind of truth.