Last night some liberal I don’t even know tried to pick a Twitter fight with me while I was watching baseball. He responded to a news article I had posted the link to. I made a benign response, thinking he would go away, but he didn’t. At first, I was just going to ignore him. I knew what he was up to and had no interest in getting into a political argument. I don’t do that anymore. So instead I figured I’d have a bit of fun at his expense, so I started tweeting random stuff back at him that had nothing to do with his original tweet. It was funny because he was so serious and wanted so badly to get into an argument, but I remained flippant and kept changing the subject. After a few minutes I figured it was time to let him go, so I just favorited his last tweet to indicate I was done.
During the course of our brief exchange, this individual accused me of being a racist and suggested my Christian faith isn’t sincere. He also accused me of being a Republican. (I’m a libertarian, actually.) The thing is, he doesn’t even know me. He has never met me, and the only things he knows about me are what I put on Twitter, which is very little, actually. So how does he know I’m a racist and an insincere Christian? He doesn’t. He was simply relying on a faulty stereotype. And that’s part of the problem with our discourse in the Internet age.
I used to engage in these kinds of debates, either e-mail wars or the comments sections of blogs, where you get into an argument with a political opponent and it quickly devolves into a contest of who can sling the nastiest insults. We do this without ever knowing the other person, so how can we ever know if what we’re saying about the other person is actually true? I don’t engage in that kind of behavior anymore. I’m almost 46 years old. I have reached a point in my life where I no longer have to suffer fools, and so I don’t. It is rare that someone tries to engage me this way, but when it happens, I either ignore it or, if I’m feeling a bit playful, I’ll do what I did last night and sort of make a joke of it. Either way, the best way to deal with “keyboard commandos” is to simply take the high road.