Forget #Covfefe: Read Breitbart.com! (Updated)
When I originally posted this on May 12, I had read a piece on DailyKos, a Web site I generally distrust, by a woman named AuntieB, who described her experience as a mother who uses SNAP or food stamps. Whatever you may think about the entitlements issue, AuntieB calls attention to the human experience of getting by. You can even read the comments, although if you believe the system needs reforming and you are a conservative, you may have to fight the urge to defend yourself against people who think conservatives abandon veterans on food stamps. You can even engage with, “Really? What makes you think that?” Sometimes it’s not worth engaging with Internet trolls or angry partisan people (on either side), and if you don’t want to wade into the fray, that may be wise. However, reading the article may help you hit the #Think button. AuntieB told a story that drew me into her mind and heart.
Read something on a regular basis from a Web site or blog, or newspaper columnist, with which whose philosophy you profoundly disagree. If you are liberal, conservative, libertarian, green party, Tea Party, socialist, capitalist, gay, straight, or of a particular religion or creed, read something critical of a viewpoint you espouse, such as "Conservatives don't do enough to help the poor" or "Liberals are godless and entitled." Or you can read a piece that says conservatives should stand up to President Trump (whom some people refuse to refer to by name) over the firing of FBI director James Comey. If you think we're in a constitutional crisis because of President Trump, read Joel Pollak's latest "Blue State Blues" and steer clear of the comments section in either case. And now we have the Daily Good talking about Trump choosing to renegotiate the Paris Accords: http://www.good.is/articles/trump-paris-climate-deal-withdrawal.
No, you don’t have to endure personal attacks or outright lies that you can easily fact-check on the Internet. However, realize that the Internet magnifies hyperbole.
Caveat: The Internet does not create hyperbole—human beings have been hand-wringing and chest-beating for millennia. Subconsciously we make judgments (and that can be a good thing, helping us to make sense of a deluge of information), as Leonard Mlodinow writes. Challenging those judgments to make sure they hold up is difficult work—for all of us.
Caveat: This does not mean that we need to accept verbal or Internet abuse, which just pushes us further into our respective corners of cyberspace.