For three years or so I absolutely refused to get into any kind of political discourse on Facebook in spite of numerous attempts to pull me into the exchanges taking place daily, simply because I knew my views differed from those of my friends and that with the polarization we have today, open expression of those views would likely be a friendship killer. For the past few months however, I HAVE been expressing those views on Facebook and guess what? Surprise, surprise… It has been a friendship killer. When I decided to start engaging it seems I had two choices.
I could simply go along, say what everyone else was saying and be accepted… or I could express MY views and get the usual treatment afforded anyone even slightly to the left of Genghis Khan. I chose to express my own views. To those I have offended by it, I can only say that while offending people wasn’t the primary purpose, it is quite often going to be the byproduct when someone says what they think instead of what others believe they OUGHT to think and in my case responses to my posts have ranged from incredulous queries about my “changing parties” to the usual labeling as a “liberal” with that extra special little intonation that ranks liberals at about the level of dung beetles, to long extended “refutations” on some of my threads, mainly those in which I had offered an actual personal opinion instead of just another cut and paste… that droned on for so long you could no longer tell what the thread had originally been about. In ALL of the cases it has eventually resulted in at best being totally ignored from that point on or actual “unfriending” from the person who didn’t like what I said.
I played the little cartoon game for a while because that seemed to be the method used most by those on the right. You know the ones… you find little caricatures of President Obama in which various traits are grossly exaggerated… in his case of course, his lips and ears… anything that exaggerates his blackness… preferably there will in an image of a gun or a hangman’s noose or he’ll be dressed like an African witch doctor with a bone through his nose, or any of numerous other references to him being anything but a normal, right wing fundamental Christian … anything that demonizes him in the eyes of those who form their opinions based on that type of “information”and you post it in public so that everyone can see how bright and clever you are, even though you didn’t make the damned thing but only helped to spread it.
I posted a few similar cartoons and such, mainly featuring the clown parade that was the GOP primary race. It was kind of fun to post a cartoon supporting the left see it followed by at least six supporting the right but I learned quite quickly that while posting racially charged pictures and innuendo about the President Of The United States is only indulging in “humor”, the goring of a right wing sacred cow is outright blasphemy. In fact, I learned right then that while blood might be thicker than water, to a modern day “conservative”, politics is thicker than both of them put together.
Those of you who have chosen to end our friendship because you don’t like my politics or my response to multi-post criticisms, “rebuttals” or constant jockeying for the last word on one of my threads or in regard to something I may have said… I’m not happy that you’ve chosen to do so of course but there is no way I can be anything other than I am or say anything other than those things in which I honestly believe. I may have left the Republican party (although I still insist that the Republican party left me when it started using hate as a legitimate political tool) but my core values and who I am have never changed.
I ask only that you understand that it works both ways. When you talk of people like me being a “liberal” or a “Democrat” (for what it matters, I’m neither) in between rounds of publishing your little hyperbolic twaddle about all liberals being “crybabies” or “welfare queens” or worse, or referring to all Democrats “hating America” and supporting whatever enemy of the day the propaganda machine has selected for you with whatever sound bite talking points your favorite pundits used that morning, you’ve just expressed your total disdain and contempt not only for me but for the core values and beliefs I hold and stand for. One of the coldest feelings I’ve ever had was the day after President Obama was elected and my grandson… about 13 at the time… posted on his MySpace page to the tune of, “GOD! I hate fucking Liberals!!!”. Welcome to the world in which children are taught to hate others because of their political beliefs, eh?
So ultimately, my plan is to continue doing exactly what I’m doing. I will continue to make posts that support those things I believe in and inveigh against those things I don’t, much as I expect you will. If you can’t handle that, then it’s probably a good idea to simply ignore my posts entirely. And yes, I will remove posts from my threads that I feel obscure or misrepresent the original intent with which I started the thread in the first place . I’m not on Facebook to provide an extra podium or bully pulpit for your views. That’s what YOUR account is for.