Offense is worst defense

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By Meaghan Downs

We’ve perfected the art of being offended.
We love perfecting the art of being offended.
People stumble all over themselves — and their computer keys — to be the first to offer their shock, disgust and outrage.
Pick a war, any war: the war on Christmas, the war on women, even the ridiculously hyped presidential election doggie wars.
Pick a side, and get your fake rage on.  
I suppose it’s how you can remind yourself of your own humanity, that at least you’re not as bad as that guy.
You know, the guy who said or did that awful thing that one time.
It’s an extremely easy club to join, and one that more people are becoming members of everyday.
And what are we getting so crazy about?
Take a trip down to the comments section of literally any news story.
Not much actual talking going on.
Contrary to what the peanut gallery may say or write, offense is not always the best defense.
Because there’s a good chance, a very good chance, that we’ll care even less.
For every public blunder or misplaced statement, there is a chorus of offended voices that immediately swells in reply, fades into a whisper of discontent, and then into nothing.
Let’s take a local example.
It wasn’t any particular person that incited a collective outrage about the conditions of Wildcat Road.
But people wrote letters. Advocated for a return to the pristine condition of Wildcat Creek as nature intended.
Myself, included.
Now, guess how many of those same “offended” individuals volunteered to assist the county with clean up last week.
I sincerely doubt it was all of those same people who claimed to be disgusted, offended, sick at the thought of Wildcat becoming a dumping ground.  
I’m as guilty as anyone else in not having or making the time to help.  
But at least I acknowledge it.
The very idea of being offended is to be so enraged, so insulted that you can’t help but take action.
It’s not a passive emotion, though people seem to treat it that way, by sitting back and running their mouths and assuming other people will step in to do the dirty work.  
Ironically (or hypocritically, depending on how offensive you think I am), I’m offended by this bandwagon approach to enacting change.
It’s not persuasive or intelligent.
To me, it’s the equivalent of white noise.
I don’t think posting a copy and paste paragraph as your Facebook status for one hour helps solve world hunger. Or keeps kids from committing suicide because they’re bullied in school.   
I don’t think it’s even a baby step.  
The first step on the road to change is to stop acting so surprised that people can be stupid.
Stop pretending that people don’t say hurtful, cruel things.  
Stop fainting every time a politician, celebrity or neighbor says or does something you don’t like.
If you really care that much, actually do something about it.
Listen, I understand the power of words.
But no one is going to find any sort of helpful power by attacking an issue or person through the safe anonymity of Topix forums.
All those people can ever ope to be, as they cling to their sense of higher morality and offended nature, is muzzled.
All growl and no bite.