I really hate to be angry.
Anger is such an overrated, unhealthy and wasted emotion. Just Google the word anger and you will find getting angry causes your blood pressure and breathing to increase, your heart to beat faster and your pupils to dilate.
So, when a very real indictment against Russian internet trolls was announced by the U.S. Deputy Attorney General for manipulating Americans with social media lies, I said, “Thank you, Jesus!” Now I can finally stop being angry at my online friends when I read their sometimes stupid posts and reposts of just plain crazy stuff.
The Russians made them do it!
This indictment was actually great news to me. I have yet to unfollow anyone on Facebook — but I have come very close. What stops me is that I know these folks to all be good people. When I ask them for help, they are ready to assist; when we socialize, we have great fun; and we pray together. So ultimately, I am putting the value of personal relationships above judging a friend for being duped by Russian internet trolls.
I believe in surrounding myself with positive-thinking people who also have great, compassionate hearts. I assess their credibility on their one-on-one interactions with me. Social media has made it so convenient for us to press a paste and post button of some unverified article because it reinforced our negative stereotype of people, or extreme ideology without thinking of the impact it might have on our real life friends.
I sometimes wish we still had a Pony Express to get news. At least then I could catch my breath and reflect. The reality is we are being bombarded second-by-second by negative news sucking us of our positive energy and challenging our faith in friends.
This news is overwhelming, and in this social media era, I am ill-equipped to determine what is real or not. At least the indictment warns me that there are people seeking to turn us against each other at a time when we need to turn to each other.
Evan Osnos of The New Yorker wrote “the indictment ... offers a classic playbook for manipulating American democracy using a mix of classic espionage, private sector social media tools and partisan ideology.”
So, the tactics of the Russians to weaken us have not really changed since the Cold War days — they have only improved.
I recall our Cold War era nuclear bomb drills when the alarm would sound, and we all would immediately hide under our desks as if that would somehow save us from a nuclear bomb.
Today, I will start a different drill in this era of unverified social media news. I will only post positive messages, a daily meditation and probably cooking recipes.
I don’t think the Russian trolls are posting food tips yet. They just want to poison our faith in each other.