10 Comments

I Made a Terrible Mistake.

From Flickr User DonkeyHotey (OMG I will die of the clever.)

I am not good at paying attention to politics.

I am annoyed and saddened by the limitations of the scope of the rhetoric.

I am convinced that my vote simply doesn’t matter (though I show up at the polls, just in case), and that rich people are totally in charge of this country, whatever histrionic of republic in which we choose to believe we participate.

And since I’m reasonably certain that unless I get 1% rich (and when I do, boy oh, look out white dudes), I can affect no change, even if I experience wild success in American Letters, I’ll still be a woman, I’ll still be a kooky arty liberal (by appearances, though I am an anarchist/libertarian in my soul), and I would seriously prefer to spend my energy and intellect on more spiritually/culturally rewarding pursuits.

Despite all of this, I could not control myself when the very tippy top of my Facebook News Feed said, “Wanky McWank Pants and 10 other friends like Mitt Romney.”

So I posted the following status update:

So facebook just told me that several of my friends *who will remain unnamed out of respect for their freedom of speech* “liked” Mitt Romney. For a fleeting moment, I considered unfriending every single one of them.

In my mind, I was being flip. I was pointing out the beauty of our illusion of freedom of speech.

When I re-read my status update, I was maybe a little chagrined to realize that, to Romney fans (i.e., humans without critical thinking skills), my status update would be offensive.

But my chagrin was short lived. It was quickly followed by a belly-sinking sense of my own doofus-like state. I should’ve kept my typing fingers still.

I pride myself in staying out of political discussions. I try to maintain a professional attitude and presence in social media. Like to as I might, I do NOT talk smack about people (except for fans of Mitt, apparently), and I do not make personal statements about my relationships, friends and relatives with whose actions/behavior I disagree, or my innermost feelings, dark as they may be.

This Me, of whom you get a sense on my blog, is about 70% persona. People who know me in life can identify the differences between the Me who writes here and the Me who lives in a place and does mundane things like put on socks and go up and down staircases.

I think that any writer would tell you that she inhabits a more perfect self, or a less perfect one, depending on the scenario, when she writes anything.

I think this is why people publish the letters that writers write to people and each other. We are never simply sharing the news. We are always spinning.

This post is supposed to be confessional. I think I lost a “friend” over the facebook status. Based on his ranting, I’m not sure I mind, but I would like to hope that that above-quoted status will be the last thing of a political nature that I personally write on Facebook. Henceforth, I shall only share news articles and comment on other people’s political statuses.

Anybody care to share Facebook rules to live by?

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10 comments on “I Made a Terrible Mistake.

  1. “never post anything anywhere that you wouldn’t say in front of your mother, boss, kids and spouse because they will all probably hear it someday”.

  2. I try to keep politics out of my conversations with friends. My political views are an eclectic bag. I also totally get the sentiment of your post that you may or may not have lost a friend over.

  3. I don’t talk about religion or politics, simply because many of my authors and clients aren’t as left-leaning as me. Having said that, though, I took your post for what it was: just a little twinkly-eyed joke. The problem is, the right wing has no sense of humor. Like, NONE.

  4. This is a really tough one for me. I sometimes don’t post anything, because I don’t want to jump into the political arena, and offend people, and yet I think this world is facing some very difficult challenges. It isn’t such a great idea to avoid talking about them and just post inspirational pictures, because that’s called “sticking your head in the sand.” Ideally, we could all have a respectful dialog about how to solve those challenges (climate change caused by global warming, for example, or the economic mess) without devolving to name-calling and fixed, angry, positions, but that isn’t what happens any more.
    So this isn’t an answer, but I don’t think that avoiding a conversation about important issues is an answer, either. Simply be polite.
    I’ve tried to make sure I wasn’t posting political stuff to everyone, by creating some groups that only receive certain posts, but Facebook doesn’t make that easy. Still, I don’t want the world listening in on my conversation with my family, anymore than I want potential readers hearing about my politics.

    • I love this very thoughtful counterpoint, but I’m not sure what the best venue for this kind of discourse is. Certainly not facebook, but I was thinking earlier today about how defensiveness, and equating politics with personhood is kind of an american condition: it’s like we have some kind of cultural issue with loving people, even if we don’t love their beliefs or politics. I say love. And disagree. Concurrently.

  5. I don’t think you’ve done anything wrong by that above mentioned post. It simply began a “discussion” and it kind of reflected how politics has been making people behave lately. There seems to be a angry big divide in the country and one little quippy comment showed that.

    You cannot blame yourself on how things can evolve crazily, way beyond original intentions. You cannot feel guilty about those who took it personal, that is their issue not yours.

    Some friends and even my own sister disagrees with my point of view of today’s politics, (or even whatever random topic) we may have a colorful “discussion” about it from time to time but we certainly don’t disown or de-friend each other. It’s kind of a very childish thing to do. “I’m not your friend anymore because you don’t like the color green!”

    Real friends, acquaintances, adults, let you have your opinions even if they disagree with their own. It’s fun to have the discussions, the debates, the rock-em-sock-em-my-view-point-is-better-than-yours dynamic banter that may or may not lead to great thoughts. That’s what they are there for.

    Bottom line, don’t feel bad about it. Yeah, some people took it wrong, but it’s on them. You don’t need that kind of second guessing in your life. So, maybe you may never mention politics again. But, today’s politics can be tomorrow’s crayon color.

  6. My blog is called, “The View from My Window in Palestine,” and you can be sure I don’t stay away from politics! That said, I that think that all of us benefit from genuine sharing, no matter what the topic. Hopefully people will learn to engage across the differences rather than disengage. And if we’re not genuine about our politics, are we really being whole human beings?

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