I think I’m making an understatement when I say that this presidential election has been hard on Americans. No matter what “side” you are on, you didn’t remain unscathed.
I made it through the election without unfriending anyone, though I will admit to unfollowing a few and checking “hide” or “do not post” on even more.
But when the results came out I turned a corner.
I do not approve of politics
Before I really get started, let me make something clear. I do not approve of politics.I believe it is divisive by nature. And I think the two-party system of American politics is particularly divisive. I think most issues are more complicated than:
- Pro / con
- Republican / Democrat
- Black / white
- Red/ blue
- Rural / urban
- Conservative / liberal
So I usually try to stay out of political discussions and try to focus on details about the issues when I do discuss things.
I really don’t approve of the ugly side of humans
When the election results came out, I joined about half of the country in disappointment. And maybe a few other things. But I tried to take it all with a grain of salt. I’ve lived with Presidents I don’t like before, and I hope to live long enough that I’ll live through them again. There is more that I could say here, but I won’t. The important thing, I told myself, is to remember that local politics are more important than national ones. And I gave myself a talk about remembering to write to my representatives regularly.
Then the Facebook posts started to come. Nasty ones. About race, about gender, about beliefs, about equality, about economics, about just about any issue that you could name.
And it wasn’t just one “side” that was posting the memes and rants. It was like the civilized masks that some people had worn lifted for a moment and the real brutality of people’s natures came out.
I find myself searching for words or images to describe how really horrified I was. Am.
So, I started unfriending people. And I posted that I was doing that.
One round wasn’t enough
The first day about five “friends” bit the dust. Probably about twice that may pages were removed from my like list.
Two days later I went onto Facebook again. Another group of “friends” were removed and I was even more strict about un-liking pages. I posted about this round of edits as well.
And I noticed something; my friends list was shrinking without my input.
Just before the election, I remember looking at my page and noticing I had (if I am remembering right) 354 Facebook “friends.” Tonight I have 282.
It isn’t really a Dr. Seuss Quote
The obvious thing I’m keeping in mind is this quote:
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
― Bernard M. Baruch
Not broken up
It isn’t a shocker that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, or even that people don’t like me. Throughout elementary school there was a girl who loathed me; I couldn’t have cared less about her. Another girl, in an act of what I now recognize as bullying, made me sit through a group “therapy” session at the school counselor’s office because she thought I was “butting into” her group because I’d been friends with one of “her group’s” members for six years.
As an adult I’ve learned there are certain people and things that just aren’t going to work for me. And visa versa.
It’s why it’s so awesome that America is a free country.
The role of Facebook
America is a free country and Facebook is a completely new frontier. People are using it and other social media to do things that I haven’t even dreamed of and would probably be frightened by if I knew.
For me, Facebook is a leisure activity. The best time waster since television. There isn’t much more I enjoy than jumping on my feed an seeing a kitten video, funny meme, a friend’s children, or a fellow artist’s latest work. The horse watching opportunities are endless and it turns out the big wide world is a pretty awesome place.
Moving forward with my shorter list of friends and into a world with serious issues, no matter what “side” of the political aisle you are on (did I mention I don’t approve of that), I’ve been pondering what I can do to make the world a better place.
I don’t have an answer, but today I heard something that really hit me in my heart.
I’m sure most people have heard the following.
‘I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ Matthew 25:36 (New Living Translation)
But today in church the following was read:
I was hungry,
and you formed a humanities group to discuss my hunger.
I was imprisoned,
and you crept off to your chapel and prayed for my released.
I was naked,
and in your mind you debate the morality of my appearance.
I was sick,
and you knelt and thanked God for your health.
I was homeless,
and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God.
I was lonely,
and you left me alone to pray for me.
You seem so holy, so close to God
But I am still very hungry – and lonely – and cold.
-Anonymous (Taken from Youth For Christ)
This really hit me in my heart, because I am guilty of this.
So my mission is clear. I need to role up my sleeves and help.