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The Oppenheimer Report (February 7, 2022)

The Oppenheimer Report (February 7, 2022)

Posted: 2022-02-07 14:06:05 By: thebay

A peripheral friend of mine posted a controversial op-ed article the other day on Facebook, as she sometimes does, and like so many personal opinions these days, it opened a Pandora’s box of mean-spirited responses. It also prompted one or more of her “followers” to “unfriend” her. Why isn’t it “unBEfreind, by the way?” Like, ya know, what’s happening to the English language, right? Anyhow, that in turn prompted a whole conversation about people who have an opinion about people who unfriend each other, which spiraled into an even more bizarre argument. It might have been funny if it weren’t so pathetic. Usually, I don’t pay much attention to all this nonsense but, out of morbid curiosity, I followed the thread for about 10 posts. I understand that social media platforms thrive on controversy and actually foment it, but come on! So many people are indignant about pandemic issues, and their perception that their personal freedoms are being compromised. What about the glaringly obvious manipulation that is unfolding right under their fingers. Rule 1: Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Believe me, I’ve been tempted. Last year, a complete stranger “flamed” me after one of my reports. I was, in her opinion, a misogynist, a racist, an abusive husband, etc.. As well, Shauna was an enabler. I was hurt, Shauna was furious, but I did not take the bait. I put on my big boy pants and moved on. If I’m going to put my unsolicited opinion out there, as I have, weekly, for about 30 years, I must realize that expressing my opinion on the internet is open season for trolls.

While I sometimes disagree with my friend’s opinions, especially wherein the vaccine policy is concerned, I often read her posts. I find her eloquent, intelligent, funny, and often humble and self-deprecating. I also find much of what she says insightful. I might not agree with her, but my first inclination is not to attack her with vicious rhetoric. She prods me to think about what I believe, and that is a good thing. The other day, one of our volunteer DJs at Hunters Bay Radio was threatened with violence for voicing her opinion, and that is simply not alright. There is so much spin and derived-out-of-context half-truth out there that people are shooting first and asking questions later. I’m flattered if and when anyone reads my entire report. If what I write sparks a dialogue, I’m happy about that. I do try to listen (key word here) to the other side of the debate before I respond. When you cross the line and become disrespectful; that’s on you. I will not respond to irrational, vicious comments.

Hunters Bay Radio, and specifically the commentary of the morning show hosts, has been under attack, and some indignant listeners have crossed the line with their threatening responses. Debate and dialogue are the fundamental building blocks of a civilized society. I don’t think we are really listening to each other anymore. In the past week, there have been countless angry responses from people who clearly did not carefully read the information presented, so blinded were they by their own positions. Clearly, I am not alone in thinking social media has put a spotlight on the ugliest elements of social discourse. Sadly, in all forms of media, it is the atrocious, the evil, the greedy, the ugly; the outrageous that commands our attention. It is grist for the mill that sells soap. Absent accountability, we are drowning in a sea of righteous indignation. What is the truth? Do you know? My truth is that love and hate coexist in the same soul. Which one dominates is up to each individual. Hunters Bay Radio is a community radio station. Nobody’s perfect. By my reckoning, and judging by a growing number of listeners and volunteers who support the station, it does much more good than harm. Opposing opinions are regularly aired and posted, I’ve seen them. Violent personal attacks and threats are not.

Written by Jamie Oppenheimer ©2022 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED