One of my friends posted this message on Facebook yesterday:
“How many people have been ‘Facebook Unfriended’ in the past week due to differences?”
I actually had been considering that thought myself.
I love the way Facebook allows me to reconnect with people from different aspects of my life and keep up with what their doing. Whether it’s my High School buddies sharing memories from growing up, or someone close to me I don’t see as often as I would like, I find it a great way to remain in touch and up to date.
Heck it’s also offered me the opportunity to share these Tuesdays with MOJO musings with many weekly!
The tension comes in when heated topics such as politics or world, domestic, local and religious issues arise. Given a Presidential election on the horizon, there is no loss for posting fodder these days! In fact, as my friend’s post suggests, there has been so much available subject matter lately, it’s become challenging to scroll through without a sigh.
One of my other Facebook friends calls it an “eye rolling moment.” All of the sudden, someone you thought a kindred soul surprises you with a point of view so vastly different from yours, you don’t know whether to comment, delete, unfriend or laugh. Or maybe that’s when the fun starts?!
I mean, isn’t that what this country is about – co-existing in an atmosphere where we can freely and openly discuss, debate, and engage about varying points of view? Certainly it’s up to each individual whether to participate or not. I rarely comment on super controversial topics put out into the Facebook stratosphere and recently wrote a blog entry about the bullying that ensued when I responded to a certain post.
I retreated; disappointed I was unable to have a discussion on a difficult topic without it escalating to downright nastiness.
I don't believe in hate. I don't believe in easy solutions. I don't believe in calling public or private figures names. I don't believe my friends and I have to agree on everything.
Imagine how boring life would be!
Certainly I would love for us all to agree on world peace, and hope we’ll get there some day. But HOW we get there is something to be openly and freely debated in a non-violent fashion. Your way is just as worthy of discussion as mine.
This morning I read an article about a sit-in to raise awareness about racism at Smith College. A noble mission indeed! The article cites:
“As you might expect, the students sought press coverage of the protest. But with a twist: only journalists who expressed solidarity with the cause were allowed in.”
I had to read that sentence twice. It went on to say "organizers said journalists were welcome to cover the event if they agreed to explicitly state they supported the movement in their articles."
Sorry students, if you want to have a party and only invite certain people, then go for it. You can also feel free to delete whomever you like from your social media feeds, and put out propaganda on your campus. If, however, you want to have the press cover an event, you don’t get to censor who can attend and what they can write. The media is meant to write news objectively, and you may want to consult the First Amendment.
But I digress. My point is, we are a beautiful world of billions of people with many opinions and approaches. We could all easily unfriend or ignore those with attitudes vastly different from our own - I’ve strongly considered it when encountering something I find offensive. My wish is that we choose not to. That instead we value what others think and work to remain open to having respectful and open conversations. That we try hard not shut down anyone with a differing opinion without judgment. At least as best we can in the moment!
So as we move into Thanksgiving, a time of giving thanks for the food we eat, the relationships we cherish, the air we breath, the bed we sleep in and the many things we each have to be grateful for, perhaps we can call a truce over the turkey. Let’s put the name calling aside at the Thanksgiving table and remember how lucky we are to have each other. There are no easy solutions, but with open mindedness and grace, together we can move a little closer to getting there.
With gratitude and wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving,
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™