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Sifting through Internet idiocy

Speaking out against negative Internet comments and criticisms can often verge on broken-record territory, not to mention the sensation of fighting a losing battle.

It’s tough to fathom, with a medium like the worldwide web that has so much information to offer, how such misinformation and ignorance can persist.

But that’s exactly why it is important to speak out or write about it – because silence and blank pages will only make the negativity and hatred more pervasive.

Last week, discussion on a Facebook page took a turn for the worse when a news link was posted to the page about Labrador MP Yvonne Jones’ support of bringing Syrian refugees into Canada and being processed at 5 Wing Goose Bay.

The unfortunate comments that followed about those potential refugees, quite frankly, were nothing short of racism – and they were likely typed by people who didn’t bother to do a basic web search or read the news before they unleashed their Internet idiocy.

There are groups across the province and country working toward sponsoring just a few of the thousands of Syrian refugees. The hope is simply to provide fellow human beings with a better life than the one they now face.

It’s not to say that the screening process won’t or shouldn’t be as rigorous as it would for any other potential citizen of this country. But it would be a mistake to let the misguided opinions of a small group of paranoid naysayers to abuse that process before it even begins.

There are thoughtful, informed ideas – both for and against – about how this process of bringing refugees into Canada should work or if it would work. Let’s be sure we’re listening and reading those comments and pushing the unacceptable ones aside.

It may be true that we only fuel the fire of these Internet trolls the more we engage with them online, and it’s doubtful we’ll change anyone’s mind because of a well-phrased response in a Facebook comment.

It doesn’t mean we should be silent. It’s through continuing the productive and rational conversation with productive and rational people – even if those people disagree with each other – that will send a real message to the others.

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