Comment Vultures Under The First Amendment

Griffon VultureThey soar beneath the text. Feasting on prose or facts and regurgitating bile, they’re insatiable. Oh, and how fearless they appear. No topic is safe from their sullen stare behind an LED’s glare. Ad Hominem, their beak. Burden of proof, their talons. The truth, as they see it, is the only goal and it’s borne on the wings of their final word.

I awoke this morning with last night’s post rattling around my head. Mostly, I wanted to do more fact checking since I was uncertain I understood the context of Joe Biden’s familial loss. Turns out I was wrong and Joe Biden lost his wife and daughter in a car accident nearly 40 years ago when his sons, Beau and Hunter, were young.

After confirming this from various sites, I realized I misinterpreted his words and edited my post accordingly. Then I made the foolish mistake of reading the comments section. While many of the commenters were polite and sympathetic, it was only a matter of time before the comment vultures appeared. There’s a definite distinction between the lazy, carrion-eating vultures and these birds of prey. They swooped in to attack those who believed the sincerity of Biden’s comments of loss. They beat their wings and slashed their talons at those who felt he was a compassionate human being rather than a calculating politician.

Granted, these comments came from articles that preceded his Late Show interview. Perhaps they would think differently after listening to the man’s earnest responses, his deflections regarding his situation being different than anyone else, and at each turn shunning the spotlight. In perusing the comments of parts one and two of this interview on YouTube, the comment vultures appeared again. Slashing. Rending. Perhaps you’re thinking, “In this age of the Internet, would you expect anything less?”

Yes and no. No, I would expect nothing less. Yes, I would hope for something less.

True, the First Amendment protects the rights of these individuals to speak their minds and I certainly don’t mean to imply that we shouldn’t offer differing opinions. There’s a reason freedom of speech is in the Constitution – number one with a bullet (no, I’m not going to discuss the Second Amendment here). When did that right supplant common human decency? When did it become a shield for callousness? When did empathy die? Is it simply that these people lack the ability to relate? Or, is there an even deeper dysfunction or maliciousness in our country? Does such a thing as Netiquette exist anymore?

So many questions, so few answers. Your thoughts?

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