Glennon Doyle wrote a piece yesterday about a man who left her a terrible insult on her Facebook page the same day he announced via his own Facebook wall that his pregnant wife found out they were having a daughter.
There are not two of you, sir. There is not you, the father – and you, the internet misogynist. The internet you IS YOU. If you are a misogynist on the internet, you are also a misogynist in your daughter’s nursery. While you are holding her. While you are whispering to her your dreams for her: That she uses her heart and her mind and her passion to live a big life of purpose.
It was a great piece and I highly encourage you read it.
It got me thinking of all of the Anti-Clinton and Anti-Trump memes and status I see on my Facebook feed every day. I think we can take the message about concerning dual personalities into our own Facebook spheres.
We are in this scary political time where fear drives people to click links and view news; so the world of media focuses on rare (but terrifying) stories of tragedies and headlines are baiting with fear-inducing phrasing that rarely have anything to do with the content of the article itself. Political discord is built on Worse-Case-Scenarios that are posed as guaranteed outcomes if opposing governing bodies win any election. We have gone from trying to form a global melting pot to a perpetual fear of the OTHER and people who make money off our eyeballs on their content are capitalizing on that.
And all of this fear and anxiety is most easily expressed behind a Facebook status sharing nothing but a meme insulting anyone in your circle who thinks differently from you.
I have seen people post horrible memes and statuses on Facebook regarding politics of their opposition that they would NEVER say to the face of someone they love. I’m voting for Hillary Clinton. There’s no surprise there. Yet no one has started a political conversation with me to inform me that my candidate is a corrupt idiot who will lead our country to an economic wasteland.
But holy crap if I don’t see that sentiment all over my feed.
And my side is worse. There are postings of insult after insult of people considering voting for Trump yet are any of those people taking time to recognize that there are friends and family in their circle voting for him – EVEN IF THEY DON’T KNOW IT. I know several respectable people who are voting for him. So, while he scares me, and I don’t quite understand, I’m not going to post something insulting about his supporters unless I’m willing to sit down with my friends and family and say the exact thing to their face.
We all are allowing ourselves different social rules on Facebook than we do in face-to-face interactions. That weird liberation from typical social norms tempered with the political climate of fear and anger has created monsters out of many of us.
All I think is that maybe we ALL remember that there can’t be two of us. If we are judgemental assholes online – simplifying people into worthy/unworthy based solely on their political leanings – then that’s who we are in the real world too. Consider the political statuses and memes you post. Now, imagine the friend or family member who votes the way that meme or status is slinging insults. (If you can think of NO ONE who votes differently than you do, we have entirely bigger issues to discuss.) Now, imagine that person standing in front of you. Would you say the words in that status to their face? Would you mock their candidate of choice if it was just you and them in a room together? Or would you maybe try to have a polite discussion with them about politics? Because if you can’t imagine doing either – then maybe you’re just adding fuel to a fire you never wanted to start.
But if you want to watch all of the relationships you have with people who vote differently burn, then keep pouring the gasoline. I think we’ve lost control of the fire at this point anyway.