What we say and do matters. Especially now, perhaps. I have never been one to be knowingly incendiary- I truly do my best to seek peace in my life and shy away from confrontation, posting positive things on social media the vast majority of the time. However, today I received a private message from a Facebook friend, very gently telling me that they had to unfriend me because of what I intended as a silly post that would make people smile.
My friend’s post was actually a gift, though a sad one. It helped me to see the other side in away that I hadn’t, and perhaps more importantly, to see that the most pressing issue at hand is to be a part of bringing the torn fabric of our society back together again. The gentle political meme I posted was humorous to me and to many people I know. In fact, it was covered in the evening news just now in a positive, light, end-of -the-news-hour way, created by a person saying he was trying to bring humor to the country at a time when we all need it most. However, tensions are high these days- frighteningly and sometimes violently so- and perhaps it’s time for me to step into the shoes of others before I post things on Facebook more carefully than I already do. Imagine the world if we all took a moment to think about that before we hit post.
I am not saying we have to lose our sense of humor as a people (I don’t want to live in a world that is so rigid- laughter is medicinal, especially where politics is concerned). Or that we shouldn’t refuse to remain quiet when we learn of social injustice and racism. My many years as a teacher have made me care deeply about the protections for those marginalized by society. My friend wasn’t asking me to do that at all- she was only trying to rid her newsfeed of things that she felt poked holes in our already tattered social fabric. I get that- I feel the same, a desire to return to simpler days with fewer land mines. It’s just sad that we’ve come to this place of such strife.
For now, I am going to be more vigilant about being a positive force to all- not just the people who think the way I do. I still won’t please everyone, and that’s okay. I will at least know that I’ve done my part in helping to bring people together instead of adding to the great divide that we are facing now.