By David Isaac, World Israel News -
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) says he’s taking indefinite leave from social media, in part because he saw how Jews in Israel celebrated their Sabbath. He made his announcement in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Jan. 11.
“We were inspired by seeing our Jewish brethren in Israel celebrate Shabbat, which reminded us of the Sundays we grew up with in the 1970s and ’80s,” he writes. “Ever since, one-seventh of our time has been immeasurably better, and Sunday dinner is a highlight of our week.”
Roy says his decision to cut his internet ties is about building stronger ties with his family and community.
He writes, “I’m doing so not to make a political statement, but in the hope that America can return to kitchen tables, churches, taverns, coffee shops, dance halls (it’s a Texas thing) — whatever it takes to look others in the eye and rebuild our communities and humanity.”
Roy’s message may find more resonance at this time than at others as the country is passing through a tense political period following the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
Questions have also risen about how much power Big Tech wields as social media giants delete citizen’s accounts, including President Donald Trump’s, and for actions against a pugnacious start-up, Parler.
Roy did not address Big Tech’s actions following the riot, but he discussed the negative impact social media has had on public discourse.
“While social media has proved a useful vehicle for sharing information quickly, I have concluded that it does more harm than good to individuals and society alike,” he writes.
“It tempts us to be reactive and feeds the worst of our human tendency to respond in anger rather than to stop and think before communicating,” he adds.
He suggests it brings out the worst in people and dehumanizes them.
“It reduces the value of communication to statements graded by ‘likes’ or being ‘ratioed,’ and other mechanisms that don’t reflect real human response or quality of thought,” he said.
“It has politicized communication to an unhealthy level, widened divisions rather than bridge them, and fed the temptation to call for censorship of views we find disagreeable.”
“Of all God’s earthly creations, man is the only one with rational speech, but we used to have a better way to communicate with each other. Let us dine together. Let us look each other in the eye. Let us sit down and talk again,” Roy concludes.
Image: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons