Stop your kids becoming online political ex-screamists

Greg Bray, columnist for the Gladstone Observer. Photo Brenda Strong/The Observer
Greg Bray, columnist for the Gladstone Observer. Photo Brenda Strong/The Observer Brenda Strong GLA170212GREG

FOLKS, here in the Plasterboard Palace we often have political "discussions''. Long Suffering Wife thinks they're all crooks, the kids don't care, the dogs can't vote and occasionally I'll get so wound up that I lose the power of rational speech and end up pouring coins into the swear jar.

My problem (near the top of a very long list) is that I'm an idealist. We idealists live in a world chock-full of possibilities, and each day we try to close the gap between how things are, and how things could be.

Obviously, our biggest struggle is with reality.

On the other side of the fence are traditionalists, the well-meaning folk who want things to either stay the same or return to how things used to be. Well, good luck with that…

Now, the one place where idealists and traditionalists really clash is on the political stage; and folks, it's been pretty ugly out there. Because anyone questioning the status quo or (God forbid) trying to explain a firmly held conviction, is immediately abused, insulted or threatened by extreme, anonymous cyber haters from either side of the political divide.

Nowadays, we're all potential targets for these online, one-eyed, bile-spewing political hecklers who my old granddad would have said needed some "Bex, sex and a good lie down''.

And this very noisy, and faceless, minority aren't going away soon; and why would they when they're being so effective and getting away with it?

To lessen the odds of any of our family members turning into one of these "screaming extremies", we now try to discuss politics calmly at home, so we no longer have to hide the cutlery or empty the swear jar every 10 minutes.

Sure, it's far from ideal, but traditionally it's much better than the screeching alternative.

Topics:  editors picks politics

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