“When you got nothing, You got nothing to lose”
Like A Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan
I’ve been a victim of internet hate. Sometimes private, sometime public. Sometimes e-mail, sometimes on Twitter and other social networks, as well as nooks and crannies all over the web.
Having an opinion and a status those complaining do not.
I’ve learned to ignore it. But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t inhibit me. Say the wrong thing and my enemies will express their vitriol. Hell, I said that Taylor Swift couldn’t sing and her minions are still lambasting me online.
Now if this happened in the newspaper, in traditional media, I’d call a high-priced publicity person to get the story quashed. You see unless what’s happening is truly news, the media can always forgo coverage. If you provide something in return. It’s all about the trade. I’ll hold back from doing this if you give me access to that.
But this bartering is meaningless online. Because those perpetrating the hate have got nothing to lose, they thrive on attention, if you attack you can make them famous. And every little guy sticking it to the man gets the benefit of the doubt from their brethren on the bottom.
And no one playing the professional game seems to understand all this.
The rich and famous, the powerful, believe they’re in control.
And then someone unknown comes out of the woodwork to piss on their parade. Sometimes justifiably, frequently not.
And there you have the internet today, where everybody with power is gun-shy, for fear of rattling the cages of the great unwashed, who want what they’ve got.
There’s an element of income inequality. And lack of upward mobility. Live in the U.S. long enough and you believe you deserve ascension, you deserve a better life. But as you get older and this does not happen you get angry and someone has to pay…the person who has your theoretical job.
I wish I knew the solution. I know that jobs and a social safety net help. But some are mentally ill. Some feel they must defend those they’ve pledged fealty too. Never mind criticize Taylor Swift, come down on Dave Grohl and you start a shitstorm. Which is why so many play it safe. And the terrorists win.
I won’t say I’m powerless against the online terrorists. I’ve learned you can conquer them. By attacking them individually. By hitting them where they live. Criticizing their little lives, getting personal. They don’t like the light shined upon them. If you make it about them, as opposed to the content, they freak.
Which is why I’m all in favor of striking in the middle of the night, when the enemy is unprepared. That’s what the Israelis do. They don’t get mad, they get even. And the world hates them for it. But the Israelis know they’re one loss away from the extinction of their country, they can’t let their guard down. And we can discuss the settlements and other choices the country has made that seem questionable. Furthermore, there are inequities towards the Palestinians in the past, nothing is black and white, but when it’s about your survival, you do what is necessary.
And those not involved criticize you for your behavior.
But they’re not standing in your shoes.
I’m not sure what motivates ISIS. Is it pure religious zealotry, or is it a lack of economic security? Zarqawi was a thief, who was brought up with seven sisters and two brothers. Did this make him a terrorist? Or like a school shooter, was he just nuts?
All I know is fighting terrorism isn’t like the battles of yore, where you puff up your chest and blast ’em back to the Stone Age. It’s a new game. Where intelligence is more important than might. Where strategy is more important than bluster. Where one false move can generate legions of heat you did not foresee. Cheney and Rumsfeld got rid of Saddam Hussein and they destabilized the whole region. And if you believe firepower and boots on the ground can effectuate peace, you believe that online spam can be eradicated.
It hasn’t been, although strides have been made.
And the biggest spammers come from disadvantaged economies, whether it be Russia or Nigeria. Their success rate is minimal relative to the missives they send out, but it still pays, much better than the job that doesn’t exist.
We live in a new world. Where the old knee-jerk responses just don’t work. You can give up your privacy, insist Apple decrypt its phones, but today’s terrorists are sophisticated enough to use secure channels. We’re looking for easy solutions, but there are none.
We used to live in relative anonymity with a belief our world ended at the county line. But not only can you make a crystal clear phone call around the globe, not only can you surf sites around the world, but today the people on the other end can instill fear in your heart and change your way of life.
If you let them.
Sure, you’re scared. Who wouldn’t be. But when you sacrifice your privacy and lifestyle to create a false sense of security you’re the loser.
We need a stronger safety net in the U.S. To head off class warfare if nothing else.
We need to lift up our brothers and give them opportunities, instead of believing what I’ve got is mine and you’re on your own.
We need to realize we’re all just people. And we’re in this together. And solutions come from those who are educated and experienced, as opposed to blowhards with a megaphone.
We’ve got to go on living our lives, we’ve got to take chances, we’ve got to stand up to bullies, we’ve got to be unafraid to express our opinions. That’s our way of life, in a nation built by immigrants where freedom is paramount.
More guns won’t eliminate school shootings.
And more bombings won’t decimate ISIS.
But everybody’s got a family. The Mafia learned there was power in threatening it.
Today everything’s personal. If we go on the offensive we must attack the individual. We must operate like the Don at the end of the “Godfather.”
How can it be that we were so together after 9/11, but so divided today? How did society become so coarse? How did we stop loving our brother?
I’ll argue it’s when the rank and file realized the jig was up, that they were economically screwed.
That’s what’s happening in the Middle East. With a huge dollop of religion thrown in. And we should understand this focus on belief, since we’ve got nincompoops in this country protesting a false war on Christmas and the denigration of everyone who does not believe like they do.
We’re all different.
But we’re all together.
We’ve got the power to communicate, but too often all we get is cacophony.
Root out ISIS. And root out spam and online hate while you’re at it. I’m all for it.
But it’s gonna take a long time. And it’s gonna be tough.
Because the old rules just don’t apply.