By Greg Jackson
This week I have to get this off of my chest, and I promise next week I will try to return to focusing on issues affecting Apopka, upcoming elections and Florida’s Community Redevelopment Agencies’ woeful trend of ignoring underserved communities. But today, I want to discuss our society as a whole. No two ways about it, I am disgusted with where our society is headed and mostly because of what I see or hear about on social media. Yes, I do understand and appreciate the purposes of social media. In fact, I, like many of you, have used this form of communication to promote ideas, market my services and even share some family moments. However, this “instant-gratification-generation,” which was brought up on microwaves, cell phones, fast-food, reality tv shows, etc., has pushed the use of social media to a disgusting low.
Social media is a great platform — when used correctly — that has made the world a smaller manageable place. However, instead of social media being a fun place to connect with friends (old and new), share ideas, promote businesses, explore new places, or learn new concepts, social media has become a dark and dangerous place. A place where folks find it acceptable to: show a person being bullied to the point of suicide; murder of innocent people; a man drowning while kids laugh at him instead of helping; a young girl dying in the street after an accident caused by her own sister; incidents of rape and violence; drug use; animal cruelty; acts of treason; recruitment to terrorist organizations; child abuse or neglect; and, unfortunately, the list could go on.
How did our society reach this detached, low-point of existence? Some may say it started with President Trump or President Obama. Some may say rap music or rock-and-roll precipitated it. Others may say it began with the decline of the modern church. But, I say it started when Americans developed a fast-food and microwave mentality, and oh yeah, reality television. There was a time when families, no matter their condition or situation, would sit together at the table and discuss the issues affecting them and how to address them. There was a time when communities gathered to strengthen their bonds and support each other. Those times, however for most American families, went away with the idea that things must be done quicker, results must be seen now, gratification must be experienced sooner rather than later, and that everyone wanted to put every moment of their lives on display for instant fame.
In today’s society, hard work and years of study are now replaced by a few moments of a video clip blasted across the internet on social media sites in hopes that you will get as many likes and requests as possible. Morals out the window, most people today just want to have their 15 seconds — no longer minutes — of fame, no matter the costs or who it hurts. Unfortunately, when the smoke clears, and you pull back the curtain you realize that social media provides the method and audience to do just that. I fully understand that my words here will only resonate with just a few people. So to those, I say: Prepare yourselves because the worst of social media has yet to reveal itself. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of our great society, which is too bad since there ain’t a yellow brick road in sight and our ruby red slippers were just sold on eBay — in my humble opinion.
Greg Jackson is a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Florida, a military veteran, current Orange County District 2 Representative on the Board of Zoning Adjustments, and General Counsel for the Community Redevelopment Agency. He has been as an active member of the Central Florida community for nearly 20 years. He was most recently a candidate for the Florida House District 45 seat.