I knew it was bad.
I’m in a position that doesn’t allow me to voice my political beliefs. In fact, I had to ask permission to put up yard signs (so you can imagine how dismayed I was when they were stolen…twice). Aside from that, however, my political activism this season has been relegated to “liking” other people’s posts on Facebook. For an outspoken broad like me, this has been difficult.
But it’s also been incredibly eye opening.
Facebook and Twitter and OpEd pieces had been getting more and more hard to stomach. It wasn’t that people had different beliefs. That, in my humble opinion, is what makes this country great. It was how personal it got. I remember a time in which you didn’t talk about politics unless you knew you were able to do so in a respectful and productive manner. I remember when people could simply agree to disagree without attacking each other’s character. Not this time around.
So I’m saying I knew it was bad. Really bad. But I didn’t realize how bad, or how sucked into it I was getting, until I found myself starting to write a comment to the mom of my best friend since I was 12. A woman I’ve known more than half my life. A woman I adore. I was commenting on one of her many posts and I had to take a step back and think about what I was ACTUALLY doing.
Would my comment change her opinion on the issue? Nope. Would it change her opinion of me? Quite possibly. Yes.
Would my comment do anything good for the Facebook community or the community at large? Nope. Would it make things awkward at the next family celebration I attended? It could.
Would my comment on her post in my little corner of Facebook change the opinions of anyone voting in this election? Absolutely not.
I quickly deleted what I’d started writing and decided I needed a break. Because here’s the thing. The fact that she and I disagree, vehemently, on this particular issue? It doesn’t make her a bad mother to my best friend since I was 12. It doesn’t make her a bad grandmother to her grandchildren, to my Godson. It doesn’t make her a bad wife. A bad community member. A bad anything. It just means we have very different views of the world. And that, my friends, is all it means.
I have 300+ friends on Facebook. I can honestly say that I have kept that group of people limited to people I actually adore. I just happen to be blessed with having met amazingly wonderful, kind, intelligent, and fabulous people in my 36 years. Even more than the 300+ I consider “friends” on Facebook. But because I’ve met so many amazing people in my day, and I’ve met them in so many different areas of my life, there is obviously no way we’d all agree on everything. But I think we can agree that we like each other at the end of the day. That we want what’s best for our and each other’s children. That we want our communities to be vibrant and good. And that we love this country.
I’m so tired of the discourse. The attacks. The hate. The fear. The accusatory, passive-aggressive, and sideways remarks from friends. Because that, my friends, is not how you actually TREAT friends. You treat friends with respect. You treat family with respect. Even when we disagree…vehemently.
So I’m breaking up with the ickyness that has somehow settled on all of us like a film over the past several months. I know I’m not the only one who winces a little when opening Facebook…fearful of what we’ll see. I’m not going to “like” anything that has even an ounce of “neener neener” or “take that!” or “this is bullsh-t!” Because friends should also not encourage their friends in bad behavior.
A wise woman on Twitter said something really good last night. She said that now is the time for grace. GRACE. It was such a lovely way to say that it’s time to be kind. It’s time to drop the edge everyone has been carrying around for the last several months. It’s time to shower each other with kindness and love and GRACE. I adore all of you and I wish you nothing but peace and joy. But the discourse is just gross…and I am walking away from it. I’m done. It’s over. We? The ickyness and I? We are through.
TODAY: What if, as we shake off the months of conflict, we practice a little…if not a lot…of grace?