Slap a symptom of larger societal problem

Seems I missed the slap heard around the world.

As usual, I did not watch the Academy Awards ceremony last week. Watching a bunch of entitled people handing out awards to each other doesn’t do much for me. And since I haven’t even been to a theater for years, I am not exactly up on the “best” movies out there.

Give me a nice horror movie or a great documentary and I am good.

But the Oscars certainly made headlines for all the wrong reasons this year, as actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife.

Look, I am not going to rehash everything here. You saw it or heard about it, most certainly. If you need a re-cap you can go to Google.

Why Smith felt that was the best time to slap someone who makes a living telling jokes is beyond me. But we need to make sure this is clear – it was assault. Thankfully for Smith, Rock is not pressing charges.

First, I want to make clear that physically assaulting someone who says something you don’t like does not make you a tough guy. It makes you look weak. Heard of toxic masculinity? That is what it looks like.

But this speaks to a much deeper issue in society. We are a violent bunch, and these days seem to use violence as a go-to response.

We scream, and yell and storm the Capital and threaten those we don’t like. On social media, people belittle and mock and type nasty things in ALL CAPS. We have politicians who openly say the most inflammatory things about those they don’t agree with, and these people are applauded by those who agree with them.

I think we need to take a mirror and stare into it … deeply. We need to take a long look at ourselves. Will Smith is just a guy living on the planet. Sure, he is more famous and richer than all of us, but he is just a dude. And in America in 2022, if someone says something you don’t like, you assault them. With apparently no consequences.

This is not a good lesson.

Where does this stop? Do people start charging the stage at comedy shows if a comedian says something that offends them? How about a musician who sings a song protesting something you love? Do you get physical? Make threats?

I see reporters being threatened with bodily harm for simply covering political events. It is terrifying what is happening in this country.

Politicians get death threats all the time. Even other elected officials post things on social media that seem to call for violence against those on “the other side.”

This is who we are, and I don’t like it at all. The vitriol and anger and name calling we see every day horrifies me. I am so sick of those who set out to divide.

It is harmful and hurtful and disgusting.

One rich guy slapping another rich guy on TV in front of millions, including children, is just life now, I suppose. We have people with obscenities painted on barns and it is fine, right? We put down and laugh at people all the time.

If we keep going this way, it is going to get much worse. We have got to, as a society, reject the anger and division and especially the violence. If not, I hate to think about the country my future grandchildren will be living in.

All of this from a simple slap, you ask? Yes. That slap was a symptom of a much bigger and continually growing problem. Let’s be a part of the solution.