Every day, I go through my social media feed and see posts from my friends that claim that the actions depicted in the photo are the actions of a “typical liberal”, “just like a libtard”, “the way all conservatives see things”… I’ll see a manipulated photo and people will depict it as true, thus causing a cycle of sharing and believing. I’ll see a photo from Westboro and people will label it as a typical Christian. A photo of a pentagram is exemplary of something a “typical atheist will do”.
Honestly, I believe that a majority of the political, religious and social divide we see nowadays can be blamed on social media. The “if it’s on Facebook, it must be true” mentality has GOT to stop.
We cry that this divide must stop… we cry that the bullying must stop… and yet.. we are equally to blame for both because of social media.
Almost as frequently, I see people post pity photos of children. “Share this child’s photo so Facebook can donate money”, “Don’t pass up this photo without saying ‘Amen’ in the comments”.. Not only are they using the child’s photo for their own financial gain, but I’ve seen photos of children of my own friends stolen.
Yet, people still share the memes. Yet, people still condescend each other. They believe the internet is their shield. They believe that they’re immune from being questioned about their bullying. They believe that what they share with the condescending undertones won’t be portrayed as their own personal feelings as well.
Yet, they want the divide to be closed. You can’t close a divide if you’re part of what is dividing. It doesn’t work that way.
And so, someone I know personally and have known for well over 20 years (Who shall remain anonymous) shared a photo that implied that the actions depicted in the photo were of a ‘typical liberal’. I, as well as others, tried pointing out that it was false. This person I have known for over 20 years became offended and I was asked “What the hell was wrong with me,” with the pretense that she could post whatever she wanted on Facebook.. she had that right.
I sent the following private message in response. (names and identifying specifics have been omitted)
“By now, you surely have seen or heard about the message (that was) sent to you (by a mutual friend regarding your response to me). But I want to explain how what you said to me was both infuriating and hurtful privately. I, however, fear that this will be yet another thing I say that you will see as an attack rather than an explanation.
(I love you, but this isn’t the first time this has happened, nor the second..)
Allow me, however, to start with today. As per usual, you posted something political that was a scant lie regarding the other party or was considered a rumor. Myself and several others have asked you to verify that what you’re posting is true before sharing it. When we do ask, you’ve become offended more than once.
I understand you can post whatever you want on your facebook.. We shouldn’t care. However, if anyone wants a divide to be closed, then the best place to start is to not share rumors. The reason is, because if you believe it’s true, then surely there are 10 people you know who will as well… then 10 of their friends, etc.
You had said (in your comments after you were shown that what you posted was just a hoax) that anyone can look on the comments on what you shared and see that you were corrected. However, what I was trying to say was that people don’t. Why would they? They never do. They just believe what they see and pass it on as true, just like you or anyone else would who didn’t do their research. However, all you or even (someone else) had to do was took at the comments on the original post you were sharing and see that it had already been proven as bogus and bull (just as I did!). If you had looked at the comments on the original post, you would have seen it.
But you didn’t… it took (someone we both know) posting that link before you realized it wasn’t true. Thus, why should you expect anyone else to do the same and look at the comments on your own posts before sharing the false information themselves? You seemed put off by me trying to ask that and I don’t know why. But you’re right. You have every right to post whatever you want. If you want to post things that are rumors; if you want to post lies; if anyone wants to post things that are prejudice, racist, bigoted or ethnocentric, that’s up to them.
However, don’t then say that you want people to get along and that you want this nation to just stop bickering. As long as people spread nonsense like that, it won’t stop. People will continue spreading misinformation. People will continue spreading lies about each other. People will continue believing what they will, thus furthering the divide.
You asked me “What the hell was wrong with me”. You asked me that actually in February, 2017 as well when you were up in arms about Obama awarding a medal designed for philanthropists to actors and not veterans. Myself and one other person tried explaining that it wasn’t a medal for veterans, but instead for philanthropists (which are commonly actors) and you asked me what the hell was wrong with me. And yet, I guess, we are the bad ones because that question you asked surely conveyed that to me. (Your husband’s phone call to a mutual friend following the debachle conveyed that as well). How dare we.. how dare we try and stop a furthering divide.
How DARE we stop people from sharing stolen photos of kids (for example) under false pretenses. You may not realize.. but I’ve seen in the past couple years, NO LESS than 5 photos of Kids with EB posted with claims that the kids have cancer.. that the kids have no friends.. these kids were abused, these kids were burned.. please share with an Amen, etc. I’ve personally known a few of them. And so, I have to tell the parents that their photos have been stolen and are going viral with false information attached. For me, that kind of stuff is actually deeply personal.
So what the hell is wrong with me? I’ve been personally impacted by people passing on false stuff. I’ve had to report countless photos to Facebook because they’re the photos of my FRIEND’s kids. It gets to you over time, seeing crap passed around Facebook as true.. Having to report it.. having to tell the parents of some kids that the photo of their child is being spread across the world in a false light. It gets to you over time, being bullied on facebook because of the stuff like what you pass on that’s interpreted as TRUE by so many.. So many people, for some reason, believe that everything on Facebook.. the graphics that are manipulated in Photoshop.. the incorrect situations that are captioned with photos and I don’t know why (they believe it!)..
Calling people “libtards”, a “Typical Democrat”, “that’s just like a Christian would do”. It’s so condescending and mean. To spread it only implies to others that you feel the same way, and thus, conveying yourself as condescending and mean. So, yes, I have been hurt by horribly slanderous stuff passed around by people who also say that they want to make a difference in the world, and if I can stop it from continuing, I’d like to.
I hate to think that people I love would see me as a “Libtard”. I hate to see that my family would be so condescending to think that a ‘typical democrat’ would stop certain asinine things from happening, like a flag from being raised.. I’m one who hopes to help close the gap that has been widening so rapidly over the past couple years.
That’s what the hell is wrong with me. “
I’ve been working on something else for a while. I was going to post it earlier today, but a few things came up and I didn’t have an opportunity. This has now created that opportunity. Following the recent school walkouts, I saw people say that the students should have been punished for protesting.
I’ve seen people scream for gun control.
I’ve seen people make fun and bully liberals. I’ve seen people make fun of Christians.
I see people say that “What everyone needs is JESUS.. Jesus in the schools, Jesus at work, Jesus everywhere” without even considering that their Jewish or Buddhist friend may see it a little differently.
I see people say that we must welcome other cultures into our country and that they love seeing other ideals. Then, I see them say that in order for this country to unite and in order for them to be citizens, they must assimilate and be just like the rest of us. And yet, we have yet to assimilate and be like the ones we forced from their homes when this country was created.
I’ve also seen people say that more attention needs to be paid to mental health and that school shooters should be put to death.
Most of what I’ve seen, however, is a bunch of hypocrites. People saying that they don’t want this political unrest and yet condescend those who think differently. I see people sharing campaigns to stop bullying, and then belittle the current President. I see people say they love everyone in their family, regardless of their beliefs and then post a photo of someone calling another a “libtard”. Really? Open your eyes and see what you’re doing! Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials.. we are ALL part of the problem and nobody is exempt from it.
Everybody is pointing fingers at everyone else. But the disease is that not a single person is willing to point the finger to themselves. We’re too busy taking our selfies.. looking at our phones and sharing events of our OWN lives to look around and see that others are sad. Others are hurting. Others are pissed. Others are being killed because of their beliefs. People are being killed because of their genetic chemistry. People are being shut out and not heard because of how they were RAISED And you know why? Because we’re too busy looking at our phones sharing events of our OWN lives to see it. We are too busy thinking of ourselves to see. We as a country are stuck in a rut. Admit it.
We keep hoping that the next generation will fix it. And yet, we don’t point the finger to ourselves and try to fix our own misgivings first.
We all have them. I do, too.
But, until we, as the adults, stop spreading hate, stop bullying other adults, stop spreading lies, then how can we expect the next generation to NOT learn from our own behaviors.
In my fury over this, I wrote the following a few days ago:
These children who marched against school Shootings
Are the children of those who believed that lootings was the right way to prove their point.
Stealing is patriotic my generation has declared. It’s the way we protest. It’s how we make it fair.
Today’s kids say they need to be protected from the mentally ill and those sick in the head
When it’s they themselves who tell those who need help that they are better off dead.
The kids who are bullying. The kids who are teasing. These kids who are pushing, pulling and squeezing the life out of the ones who just don’t fit the mold.
And where do they learn it from? Us.
They see us calling each other names. Libtards. Snowflakes. Fucking idiots and cunts.
Fags, scum, and other names just as blunt.
And yet, we blame the guns. It’s the guns that are at fault, not us, we scream.
To think that removing guns will fix it all is a pipe dream.
There needs to be more control, that much is true but to think that’s the only answer is fooling me
Start treating people as they are, not what you want to change them to be.
Start seeing the differences that make you you and me, me.
Stop abandoning those who are transgender and gay.
You think your praying, your isolation may make them sway.
Back to what you define as natural.
When in fact all you’re doing is telling them you hate.
That they have no choice but to follow your mandate.
Down that slippery slope then, they go.
You refuse to listen to their side, and so their only option they see is ammo.
Schools pushing those who are slower behind, those with ADD, Bipolar, dyslexia you’ve confined
Them to a label; as stupid or a thug, never helping them out, and sweeping them under the rug.
Start seeing those who say they need help
instead of being so self absorbed playing on Snapchat and yelp.
It is us who are causing the hurt, the anger, this… greed.
We tell our soldiers to “get over” their PTSD.
Our kids see us insult, belittle and tease.
And then we wonder why our offspring have this same disease.
We have leaders who are hurtful, condescending and impede.
They pay no attention to our actual need.
So take away the guns, go ahead, I don’t care.
But what you’ve overseen is that it won’t be fixed with just prayer.
Take action. Stand up. The bullies aren’t just in school.
If you believe that, then you’re the bigger fool.
Help those in need. Stop calling each other names.
Adults, start acting like one instead of playing these stupid fucking games.
Get your head out of your phones and look around you’ll see,
that you’re hurting your family, your friends.. me.
With all this self absorption and entitlement and fake shit we believe true..
You know, now that I think about it, I’d be pissed too.
Ten years ago, I joined Facebook and just quietly watched as people would post to my wall, wish me happy birthday, or share their random thoughts.
Today, as I type this, I have 581 friends. These friends all have differing races, backgrounds, histories, religions, cultural backgrounds, and political opinions. However, over the past 24 hours I’ve been personally insulted because of my political opinions and my friends have been insulted on my own page (which can be equated to someone insulting someone else at the same gathering in my own home) for their own political opinions.
I’ve seen people say things passive aggressively about me today as well as in the past about varying things from Politics to my own health issues.
On social media, and even more so since the onset of our most recent election, I’ve read so much “we need to eradicate the Muslims” “we need to kill all mentally ill” and “we just need to get rid of anyone who isn’t a Christian because God will do it anyway” “People like YOU are the reason this country is going to shit” and “Gays should die!” kinds of posts and responses to others, that it makes me sad. It stresses me out. It hurts me to see people behave in this manner.
Last weekend, my husband went away for a couple days and I, for the most part, stayed off social media. The pain in my teeth from the constant gritting I’ve been doing since early December started to subside. As soon as I opened up my social media app again on the way home, the anxiety came back. The backstabbing, insulting, hatred, rumors, speculations and absolute embarrassments were in front of me again.
I cannot allow myself to be a part of that any longer.
I cannot draw myself into a conversation about how horrible certain people are.
I cannot allow my friends to hate on each other in my own ‘personal space’.
I can no longer bear witness to people hurting others in the name of religion
Over an election
Over sexual preference
Over an opinion.
I have very strong political and religious opinions, however, I’ve also learned that voicing those on social media only leads to more stress and anxiety because of backlash from those who don’t agree with me.
And so, I’m backing you off. I’m backing me off. I’m doing this not because I don’t want to be your friend any longer, but instead, because i want to remain so.
I’m turning social media back into what I originally meant for it to be, which is just a means to keep a few people in touch with me: family, some friends and a few contacts for my disability.
And so, if I’ve unfriended you, it’s not a slap in the face. Don’t think I hate you. I do not. I need to distance myself for me. I need to distance myself for you because obviously, for some of you, my opinions make you rather irate.
I feel that as a country, we are at the cusp of repeating a very dark and sad time. I understand those who want change. I understand those who did not want to see history repeating itself twice in their own lifetime. I understand people not wanting to ‘re-elect’ someone to office, or even have someone in office who has a proven negative track record. I get that. It’s why I didn’t vote for a first female President this time. For me, it would have taken more than just estrogen and two X chromosomes to make it happen.
I also didn’t vote for reality TV star, real estate tycoon, narcissism either.
But, the way I see it, the irony is that by voting against her, some of you voted FOR narcissism. You voted for a person who wants change THEIR way, not the way the majority wants. You voted for tyranny. You voted for bullying. You voted for sexism, racism and hate. But I dare not say that much on social media. I’d be insulted by my friends who see things differently than I do.
I dare not say that I don’t want to say anything about it on social media. I’d be insulted by my friends who DO see things the same as I do for NOT saying anything.
Today, though, I was told that since I did not vote for the woman who was the First Lady of the state I currently reside in, I automatically voted FOR this hatred. I was told that directly. Again, I did not vote for anyone who has lived in the state of New York within the past 10 years. But somehow, I’m to blame.
The level of disrespect I’ve seen over the past year has been heartbreaking. Disrespect of myself, my friends and our fellow humans in general. The only way that we can resolve that is to first improve ourselves. If social media makes you have to take Xanax just to get through the day, then maybe you need to step away, too.
And that is what I’m doing first. I’m stepping away the only way that I know how without worrying my family or disappearing altogether.
And so again, this isn’t against any of you. It’s about me and my own health, anxiety (and my god, my teeth!).
I don’t hate anyone. Hate is a strong word. I don’t dislike anyone I’m departing from.
I’m just disappointed in my friends, in the state I live in and in society in general. If I keep you around, don’t think of it as winning a lottery or a friendship contest. I’m being very selective in that regard. Again, family and my immediate support network both in health and friendships are what’s sticking around.
I’ll still be around. I can be found in my groups I moderate. I can be found in the neighborhood groups. I can be found on my site for my blog and the one for my craft. You’re welcome to find me there.
I just can’t with the hatred, entitlement and disrespect any longer. I just can’t.
Peace, Love and Unicorns.