A friend mentioned how “political” I am. Well, yeah, I have some strong views. She asked me why I was always posting political stuff on fb. I was like, WHAAT?!!? I didn’t think I did.
Because I like facts rather than perceptions, I analyzed my posts from the current date (today is July 18 2019) to the start of the month.
There were 101 posts.
That’s pretty much floored me.
101 posts in less than 18 days. That’s a sickness.
However, that would need to be addressed at another time. Right then, I had to find out how many political posts I actually made.
So, I tabulated each post into one of two columns: Neutral or Political. Counting them, 78 posts were neutral, meaning they were funny memes, non-political articles, and Bible verses. The other 23 posts were political in nature, whether revolving around local or national issues or figures.
That means that 77% of my posts were pretty much blather, and 23% of my posts were issue-related, with me taking a stance.
That seems low to me, considering that those numbers would have swapped a decade ago. I think I’ve made some great progress!
But, I still need to stay off of Facebook. What a waste of time!!! 78 posts of blather? Why??
I was on bedrest, lying on the couch. I had kissed hubby off to work, and my baby was kicking inside of me as I turned on the TV, which happened upon the WB. The screen showed a plane hitting the twin towers, and I thought, “What a stupid movie, that can’t happen in real life.” So, I switched stations. The same footage appeared on another channel, and another, and another…
We were on the West Coast. While we’d slept, the world had changed as we knew it, and we were waking up to the nightmare. Hope living inside me, in the form of a new life, while horror struck the nation.
We connected, because there was nothing else we could do, and we needed to hear our loved ones’ voices. As thousands that day would never hear again.
Phone calls to my sister, a few towns over. Updates from my husband in Silicon Valley. Word of my brother-in-law in San Francisco’s Union Square. Everyone told to go home. My dad in Iowa and mom in Arizona. Friends close by, and those scattered across the nation. We just needed to hear the voices. We needed to feel close.
Flights were landing with people stranded everywhere, and unimaginable death and pain in NYC, PA, and DC. Shock waves rippled through the states.
On the West Coast, we thought we were next. Who’s going to get it–Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco…? We didn’t know. It was the unknown that kept us on edge. The military scrambled fighter jets.
And, later, silence. No more traffic on the roads, no more planes in the air. It was eerily quiet.
That evening, the comforting words of our President, sitting in the Oval Office, speaking to the nation brought us calm and a reminder of our own resilience as a nation. We were raw, we were spent, and we were in disbelief. We grieved, but somehow, we knew we’d prevail. We knew we were made of tougher stuff.
And, today? We’re softer. And, we’re angrier. And we’re divided into a thousand factions, like pieces of glass from a vase slipped onto a tile floor. No more vase. No more unity.
I think of those flag-lined streets and I grieve for a time when having pride in American principles was a good thing. I grieve for a people who hugged others more tightly that day; who spoke to their neighbors more willingly; who didn’t take your prayers as a slam against their atheism and let you pray.
I yearn for a people who didn’t barricade themselves inside social media prisons and feed on trumped up anger and resentment toward others. I ache for people who didn’t decimate the honor of strangers in 40-characters-or-less under the guise of activism and righteousness. I long for a people who fact-checked and didn’t propagate lies or half-truths for their own benefit. I miss a people who didn’t easily jump on board with hit-pieces designed to inflict pain and suffering on others.
And, while I see the fury boiling over today, and I see the gasoline people pour on it, I pray for people to stop. To lay down their keyboards of destruction. To seek out peace not war. To build bridges, to find common ground, and harvest love and forgiveness.
And, I think of those flags, waving proudly in the front of houses down my street in San Jose, California, and I wonder what happened to us as a nation? How did we go from the phoenix rising from the ashes of the World Trade Center and communing with our neighbors, to calling our neighbors horrific names using abhorrent language?
Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And, I think, people must hate themselves in the way they treat others.
But, I hold out hope. There is always hope.
Seven days after 9/11, my hope was born. She came pink and screaming into the world. And, maybe that’s how we’ll find our way back to each other: through the babies’ cries and hope for their future.
And, while my baby turns 17 years old this year, I still have hope inside me.
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” ~ Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Roseanne’s racist tweet gets her show canned. Bill Maher apologizes for using racial slur. Alec Baldwin viciously slams gay reporter. Joy Behar equates Christianity with mental illness.Trump…well, you know. And on, and on, and on…
The attacks are personal. They’re not about issues. Neither are they about seeking resolution. They are personal and cruel. Most are distasteful and horrid digs at a person or a culture, revolving around race, sexual orientation, disability, looks, or any number of physical or characteristic attributes.
But they are not about issues.
Issues themselves are boring and don’t grab headlines. Shocking slams get attention.
Looking over social media, it’s clear that very few people have honor or mores (look it up, this is not a typo). There is no civilized discourse, or honorable interaction. Everything said is meant to grab attention and to feed or sway an audience.
And, we are the audience. We’re the suckers lapping it up.
I’m reminded of a story my husband told me. His dad, after a long career in the Air Force, lived out his work life in the corporate world. He nabbed a gig at an American plant of a Japanese company. Now, anyone who has worked for Japanese companies understands their unique culture of comingling capitalistic big business with Japanese cultural protocols. It can make for some interesting situations. My father-in-law worked on the team reorganizing a new inventory system. He became alarmed at the lack of security, and when questioning his superior, the response was, “We will rely on honor.” To which, my father-in-law replied, “Sir, we’re Americans, we have no honor.” The losses that first year were so great that they shut down the entire program.
I can hear his sentiment ringing in my head as I read the latest scandals: we have no honor.
As a collective, we don’t.
But as an individual, we can.
You, me, your neighbor, your co-worker, your spouse, your friend, your mother, your brother…we can EACH have honor in this dishonorable world.
The honorable thing to do when someone else doesn’t have honor is not to fight back, but to turn off that person. Unfollow or unfriend them. Unplug from Social Media. Stop listening to the news. Stop scanning the latest headlines. When we’re stuck in the Troll-dom of responding to every headline, every tweet, post, quote, or opinion piece, we’re part of the problem, not the solution. We allow the garbage to thrive.
But, if I don’t respond, no one will!
No. If you DO respond, you’re not changing them, you’re giving them an audience. You’re giving them a platform, an opportunity to be the most talked about issue of the day.
Don’t give them that power. Unplug. Take a walk. Meet a friend for coffee. Do your work. Laugh with your family and friends. Volunteer. Give back.
But, don’t continue to feed the negativity.
They have no honor. But YOU can.
“Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces ethics. It is honor.” ~Emily Post, etiquette author