DON’T TAKE THE BAIT – RICH PASCHALL

Keep Right On Going, by Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog


If you are a fisherman, and perhaps even if you are not, you can understand the frustration that comes with the sport. That is, you go out knowing fish are swimming all around you. Maybe a lot of them and you are ready to reel them in.  You bait the hook and drop it in amongst all those lovely fish and you wait … and wait. Nothing happens.  It is as if Charlie Tuna or some holy mackerel was there, warning off all the others to avoid your bait.

“This is good bait,” you may think.  “It is big and tempting and the sea creatures should flock to it,” but they just smirk and swim off to visit other old timers to see if their little fishes are off in schools somewhere else.

Avoid the bait

This is how we should be too.  We should stop taking the bait, but sometimes we do anyway. The consternation begins.  I am talking about social media and social conversation.  There is always someone lobbing bait in the water. It’s up to us to keep swimming.  No good comes from getting hooked.

It would appear that many throw out the bait on Facebook or Twitter — or whatever platform they prefer — knowing they will start an argument amongst friends and acquaintances.  In this politically charged “us versus them” environment fostered and encouraged by 45 and his ilk, there are always those waiting for someone to take the bait. Their posts can be filled with political arguments.  None are worthy of the time, but some play it like a sport.  It is almost like taking your boat out on Lake Michigan hoping to land a big one.  You are likely to end up with carp or alewives, of course.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Whether you are posting something in favor of POTUS or against, there is someone ready to take the bait and tug on the line.  While an astounding number of people are not in favor of the current pretender to the throne, he still has some rabid supporters who are willing to dangle the bait or take it themselves and the battle is on.  These battles of back and forth with the fish can get rather rowdy and sometimes Facebook or whoever has to step in and stop the battle from going on.

Soon after the terrible display of hate in Charlottesville, I posted a brief piece I saw about how the USA helped defeat the Nazis in World War 2.  I thought it was important to remember (or to learn) what that was all about.  I know exactly what my parents would have thought of recent events.  My father fought in World War II.  It is terrible, in my opinion, that people would carry the Nazi flags on our streets after the 1940’s but perhaps some forgot.  I had no idea I was dangling bait for the alt-right.

What followed my post was a long series of comments by a few people who conducted a mean-spirited, name-calling “debate.”  I could not keep up with it or monitor the frequent comments, which apparently turned threatening.  After someone complained, Facebook stepped in and removed the most egregious comments.  At my first opportunity, I removed the post completely.  History really is not debatable nor is it worth threatening someone, but that’s the road we’ve gone down.

Due to my stance on some topics, or my willingness to take the bait on a few occasions, I guess I have lost a few friends.  I can’t say it really bothers me.  If you are that bigoted, whether your opinion is based on some misinterpretation of history or the Bible or some other religion, I guess it’s best I swim on by. I’m too old to have this stress in my life.  Be careful. You never know when some fish might pull you into the water.

Until recently, I used to get together a few times a month with someone I have known since childhood. He’s a bit right of center politically, but we had mostly avoided political arguments. That changed in the current social climate. He has taken to dangling bait.  I was playing along for a while, but I now see the futility of this endeavor.

It will start with my friend saying something about 45 or other right-wing topic.  I might respond, “As a former military man, how do you feel about 45 making comments about North Korea that also seem to give up military secrets?”  It is a reasonable question, I think, but it only proves that I have taken the bait.

“What about Obama?” he might reply.  “You never said anything about Obama when he was in office.”

“Yes I did,” I usually point out.

“I never heard it.”

“You never listen to my side.”

“And what about Rahm (Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago)? What about that?” He will say in a voice somewhat louder.

“What does this have to do with 45 and North Korea?” I may inquire to try to steer the conversation back around, but it’s too late.  I am already on the line.

25 thoughts on “DON’T TAKE THE BAIT – RICH PASCHALL

  1. I stay out of Twitter, Facebook, and any other area that has fishermen with baited hooks. I keep my own blog relatively neutral and politically silent. And yeah, turn off the fireworks and the incendiary bombs. I so do not need trolls in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amen. Right on point. Your words resonate with me. Some folks just like to agitate and start meaningless mindless arguments. I’ve had to UnFriend and Block quite a few people on Facebook and turn off comments on my WordPress Blog. Now as an African-American Woman I cannot avoid discussions of politics and race. That is my world as a Black Woman in America. Racism is an every day experience for me so I write about my life. Whoever does not want to read it should UnSubscribe or UnFollow. For me the Political is Personal.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I agree Marilyn. I do not post too much about race on Facebook because it seems to bring out the worst in people. I think people just like to pick fights just to prove they are right. They feel a need to be right or vindicated in some way. The level of immaturity, racism, & rudeness on Facebook is awful. I used to participate in the FB Poetry Groups until some white people started telling me that my ancestors deserved to be slaves and that Black folks carry Ebola. Also the comments saying African-Americans should get shot and killed. There seems to be no end to this bigotry. I left almost every last FB writing and poetry group. Too much hate.

        So I use Facebook mostly to showcase my photography.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That existed long before #45. My parents and grandparents told me what it was like growing up during Jim Crow. Racism has never left this country. When the NYC schools were being integrated back in the 1960s I found myself being bused into Little Neck/Bayside to attend school. Teacher sat me next to a white boy and the first word out of his mouth was the N-Word. Right then and there I knew this was a society and a country that hated me and others who looked like me.

        I work as a Museum Security Guard in a Museum located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. My uniform covers me from my neck to my feet yet I’ve gotten propositioned and had to endure lewd comments from white males. One guy even actually said I should be his Sex Slave. Another white guy seemed to think that I was a Drug Dealer simply because I’m Black. This is not limited to white males and white women like to say nasty things about my hair. I wear my hair natural. This is the way it grows out of my head. Or they think I should be a Nanny to their bratty spoiled kids. Can’t wait to retire either 2018 or 2019 because I hate working and being in the Upper East Side.

        Sorry to say that these Limousine Liberals still see me a Black Woman as a servant, a stereotype. The trust fund babies limited vision. I am a College Graduate. I am a Veteran serving my country in the U.S. Army from 1977 to 1981. I a Sister who loves and cares for my brother Stephen who has Autism.

        Yes I am many positive things but I have and never will be seen as a human being.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t do FB and this is why. You cannot make a simple statement (your own opinion) without someone stepping up to the plate to challenge? I thought this was a conversation, not a debate. Sometimes a smile and a nod is the best interpretation. Yup. Don’t take the bait, Rich.

    Liked by 2 people

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