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“My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time. I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.”

Neighbors who do not verify stories before sharing:

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“My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time. I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.”

Neighbors who do not verify stories before sharing:

Calibrating Signal To Noise

“Last Sunday the assigned Gospel lesson was Jesus telling his disciples what to do if a sister or brother ‘sinned against you.’ Not surprisingly, his first advice was to go directly to that person in private and speak to them. This is the first thing we are to do, and all of us know it. So why don’t we do it?

“Direct dealing is hard, even for those of us who have been commanded to do it by Jesus. When we are hurt or angry we feel vulnerable and don’t fully trust our emotions. As a result, we talk to others who are not involved in the situation or who we know will take our side. We don’t really mean to gossip or triangulate, but the effect is the same and so is the damage.

"When we talk about the situation with someone not involved before we talk to the person who has hurt or angered us, we bring a third person into the emotion of the situation. We may eventually work it out and get over it. The offending person may apologize or explain. We may have misunderstood or, most likely, we were partially responsible. At any rate, by dealing directly with the person, we are able to get some resolution and healing. Our relationship with the offender might even be stronger after our reconciliation.

"The problem with talking to a third party first is that person never has a chance for healing or reconciliation. It is like sharing our poison with them but never sharing the antidote. We have damaged their relationship with the offender, but they have no opportunity for healing that rift.

"It may make us feel better to talk it out with someone else when we are hurt or angry, but it also can be an incredibly selfish thing to do. If you need to, find a professional who is trained to handle the toxins without internalizing them. When we "share” our anger with someone who can’t do anything with it we may feel better, but that is only because we have injected our toxins into the life of an innocent person who may seem all too willing to take the poison but are not made better by it.

™Before you talk to others, go to the person who has offended you and channel the late Joan Rivers by saying, ‘Can we talk?’

“Blessings,

"Rev. Michael Piazza
"The Center for Progressive Renewal”