Taking back the internet, one word at a time

This word has popped up into my world recently.

Libtard

In case it’s not glaringly obvious to you, it is a combination of the words “liberal” and “retard” – as in, you’re SO liberal, you must be retarded.

Libtard.

And if that isn’t bad enough, there is also the companion word – Conservatard.

As my one friend says “I’m sorry, but what year do we live in?”  Even more than that, how mature is society at this point, that people who are technically adults are creating words like “libtard” to fling when political discussions don’t go their way?  Just how old are we anyway, that this is the best we can do in debates?

I spent a good portion of yesterday debating the use of words like “retard” and “libtard” on Facebook, on a friend’s page (with her blessing.)  Two grown men kept defending the right of usage for these words – even after they stated “Oh, I’d NEVER use them myself…but…”

But what?  Please, explain to me so I can understand. (That didn’t happen.)

At one point of the conversation, one person said that since the word “libtard” was out there on the internet, there was nothing we could do about it.  That there is no way we could stop the word from being used.  I told him if he stood by and did nothing to call people out on this sort of thing, then he himself was part of the problem.

Why are we so quick to accept bad behavior when it’s on the internet?  Why do we go “Well, it’s there, nothing we can do about it?”  or “Oh, just leave it be.” Why is it allowed?

If a group of kids were kicking one kid on the playground, would we stand by going “Well, it’s started, there’s nothing we can do now.” ?  No.  We’d stop it.

So why can’t we call people out on their bad behavior online?

Why we do allow snarky people to use words like “libtard” and get away with it?

It’s not about freedom of speech.  I’m not here to take away anyone’s rights.  It’s about common courtesy, respect, and better word choices.

For a country with so much access to education, surely we have better vocabularies than “libtard” and “conservatard”.  Surely we can have more inspired political debates than stooping to junior high-ish name calling?  Surely there is a better insult out there than some form of “retard”?

Because let me tell you, for me and my friends (who are from all walks of life, with all sorts of voting records) – if you use a “tard” name to describe someone, your argument becomes invalid.   If you have to stoop to boorish name-calling, then we shall assume that your argument cannot possibly be a compelling one.

And again I shall say – when you use the word retard/libtard/conservatard, the only person who looks stupid is yourself.

As for those who don’t use these words, do me a favor – if you hear a word like this being used, call the person out on it.  Stop the conversation and say “Excuse me? No.”   Be part of the solution.  Take your internet world back.  Expect positive behavior from people.   Make the internet a better place.

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