A friend recently forwarded an email to me that was created to bash a politician. It doesn’t matter which politician and it doesn’t matter what your political views are; this email was over the top.
It compared quotes from a couple of years ago to similar quotes from today, and pointed out how different the views were. There were two levels of highlights, yellow and bright yellow, along with numerous comments about individual entries such as “give me a break” or “can you believe this #$&#?”
It was infuriating, but not because I supported the politician in question. First, it was juvenile; all the highlights and comments were like something you’d find in a high school yearbook. The highlights and comments smacked of hysteria.
Also, there was an obvious agenda; the writer wanted to criticize this person no matter what, so he/she took things out of context and crafted the message to support that agenda. I don’t care who you want to bash, you can find inconsistencies and broken “promises” for just about anyone. (Remember, “broken promises” may not actually be as such if the circumstances have changed since the promise was originally made.) I found it insulting to my intelligence that someone would think that I couldn’t see that and actually be swayed by their drivel.
(Believe it or not, I AM writing about coping and stress; I’m getting there…)
The main reason, though, was the negativity that the message was spreading. There are only three possible reactions that can be expected by this kind of thing, and they are all negative. 1) you can agree, in which case you are appalled at the treachery and dishonesty of the politician, 2) you can support that politician, in which case you are offended and get naturally defensive, or 3) you can ignore it in which case it’s annoying that you have to do so.
The writer was dwelling on the negative, even celebrating it with all of those childish highlights and comments. The result is that both the writer and the reader wallow in the negativity and the accompanying stress. Why would anyone want to do that to themselves or to others? There is enough bad news and misery in the world today without creating more.