I've often said you lose part of your soul when reading Facebook comments.
That has never been truer than this week.

Two stories, one about a local animal rights activist who was involved in a car accident, and another about a government policy of humanitarianism, has brought to the surface the worst side of human nature I have witnessed in a long time.

The vitriol, abuse and outright racism, among other hyperbole, is enough to want to give up on humanity.

What is the problem? Are people incapable of debating an issue without resorting to personal derision and outright nastiness?

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Are we so uneducated, so full of ourselves that we now derive entertainment and personal gratification from mindless trolling and persecution?

Whanganui, we're better than this.

Amongst the all the savagery one glimmer of hope emerged.

Two men, diametrically opposed over Whanganui providing solace to refugees, put aside those differences long enough to hongi.

It was a mark of respect for each other as men, a nod to their right to have an alternative viewpoint. Ross Fallen and Phillip Reweti showed us that even when on opposite sides of a protest, we can remain civil.

Facebook has certainly opened up a forum to voices perhaps unaccustomed to being heard. Perhaps people will mature over time and become more considered with their comments.

Reweti, for example, made some despicable comments, but when confronted about what he had written, and with pause to reflect, he removed those comments and expressed regret at having been so trigger happy.

The world needs its leaders and role models. Our community needs its voices of reason. Fortunately we have many. Sadly they number few among the angry mob.

I spoke this weekend with one such voice of reason who, so dismayed by apathy and hatred, is considering giving up her good works. I won't say who that was, but hope I was successful in dissuading her from doing so.

If you're on Facebook, or writing a letter to the editor of this paper, or chatting with friends, please don't let the ignorant dominate the conversation.

Engage in healthy, respectful debate. Be a role model.