I got Facebook-scolded on Tuesday night by a woman I barely know.
I think she misinterpreted my post. Or maybe she didn’t. Either way, I’m certain she felt compelled to tell me off because my opinion differs from hers.
It was such a little moment, but it so perfectly summed up this exposed-nerve of an election, that defensiveness and reactionary behavior, that need to bring down others for not thinking exactly alike.
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The woman made a choice to respond, to strike and make it personal. It’s a choice I don’t understand.
I didn’t disparage anyone or discount anyone’s choice for president in my post. I didn’t write on her Facebook page, where her thoughts reside. I wrote on my own page, where my thoughts belong.
She invited herself to my party and then wiped her feet on my carpet.
The next morning, she deleted her comment.
And I didn’t realize how much I needed her to do that so that I could believe there’s hope for us all yet.
We lost a lot of things this summer. Among them basic kindness, civility, respect for differing opinions and the ability to understand nuance and variation between the extremes.
Also, friends. People lost actual friends over this election. Some even cut off family or were cut off by family.
Maybe this always happens. Maybe it was bound to happen with the way the election played out over the past three months. Or maybe it’s because Aunt Phyllis is on Facebook now and she most certainly will not agree to disagree and she doesn’t care if that was your friend, he’s stupid.
Whatever the case, this particular election changed the way we see each other.
It exposed our hypocrisies and the things we’re willing to overlook in the leaders we believe in. It showed how far we were willing to take things to get our way. It showed our fears, our biases, our anger. Our inhumanity.
It gave us permission to indulge in our worst sides.
At the same time, this election proved that we don’t see each other at all and perhaps never really will. It proved that we’re most comfortable when we can label and categorize and broadly apply our judgment with blocked ears.
But again, there’s hope in the wreckage.
I was out to lunch with a friend Wednesday. We were both tired from staying up late. Together we tried to find a place to mentally land on what the future might hold.
She told me about some comments left on her own Facebook page by a former co-worker who voted for President-elect Donald Trump. The co-worker lashed out at her for not seeing things the same way, for not “thinking.”
Then the co-worker did something unexpected: She deleted her comments and called my friend. When she couldn’t reach her, she texted.
And she apologized.
Things got out of hand out there. It’s OK that we don’t agree. We’re still friends.
Contact Ms. Farrell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843-706-8140.