Four Most Powerful Words Online

This summer I had the opportunity to do something silly. Bizarre even. On the 4th of July, while leading a mission trip in Ensenada, we decided to celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks. It was one of those moments where you question yourself: Is this culturally insensitive? Or is it culturally sensitive in including and having fun with our Mexican friends? I suppose I’ll never really know– but it sure was fun.

The scariest moment of the night came when I had to light the fireworks.

Sparklers, bottle rockets, small things like that… no big deal, I used to do that all the time when I was a kid. But we’d also bought some mortars. You know, the big things  that shoot hundreds of feet into the air and explore.

They had some mortars which were a little bigger than a golf ball. I didn’t think twice about lightning those ones. They were kind of cute. Not quite harmless but not quite death defying.

But than my friend Miguel reached into the bag and pulled out the big ones. These were 6″ mortar, basically small bomb, bigger than a softball but smaller than a volleyball, and everyone was afraid of them.

I was afraid, too.

I tried to hand the lighter back to Miguel. “Here, you do it.

Nope. He handed it back to me and backed up.

It was dark, a little windy, and I had a cheap Bic lighter.

Nervous.

Click. Click. Click. Flame.

The wick doesn’t catch before the wind blows it out.

Click. Click. Click. Flame.

The wick doesn’t catch. The wick doesn’t catch.

WHOOSH!

Without warning the wick catches and lights the mortar inches from my head, firing several hundred feet into the sky before exploding.

The short wick was exhilarating and terrifying all at once.

I raised my hands and screamed, “AMERICA!

Everyone laughed.

We had a few more and each time I had the same experience. While the wick itself was quite long once I lit the end the mortar nearly immediately fired. WHOOSH! Right past my head. BANG. AMERICA!

Four Most Powerful Words Online

Friends, America has a short wick right now. Sometimes I’ll post something, even relatively benign, and WHOOSH. BANG. AMERICA! 

And other times I’ll respond to something, maybe even for fun, and get met with an oversized reaction. WHOOSH. BANG. AMERICA! 

There’s a lot of reasons for this. General angst. Pent up anger. Algorithms bundling together people to create warring tribes. People whose entire paycheck comes from garnering reactions on the left or the right or the hyper-left or hyper-right.

You have to be so careful right now or else… WHOOSH. BANG. AMERICA! 

And so I challenge you with this, a new discipline I’ve been trying to work into my online repertoire. And in doing so I’ve found these four words to be powerful: “I agree with you.

Give it a try. You might be surprised how it feels.

WHOOSH. BANG. AMERICA! 

Published by Adam McLane

Adam McLane is a partner at The Youth Cartel, co-author of A Parent's Guide to Understanding Social Media, blogger of 10+ years, and a fan of all things San Diego State University Aztecs.

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