Last week, we were kind of off the grid. I say kind of because I was still working with a minimal and slow connection. Since work was a priority, “fun things” like Facebook, and I use those words together loosely, were knocked down the priority ladder. I hopped on to update people about my back procedure, but mainly, I was off of Facebook.
It felt good.
I didn’t have to watch a flame war develop in the comments of someone simply sharing a photo. I didn’t know what the latest mommyblogger drama was at the time. I didn’t know what the most recent hot button parenting news story was about, nor did I care. And the clincher, I avoided angsty, self-righteous, negative, nasty political commentary from all sides. Oh, sweet political silence.
I know we all have opinions. In fact, I love a good political debate. What I have seen on Facebook in the past few months does not qualify as political debate. It’s angry people spewing angry words. It’s hatred. It’s harmful. It’s a lot of dishonesty. It’s scary. It’s discouraging. It’s heartbreaking. It’s everything we stand for in this country — the ability to say whatever you want whenever you want to whomever you want — taken to the absolute worst extreme. It is sad.
A week without it made me realize how much I dreaded loading Facebook every day. Why? Why was I loading something I dreaded?
The answer, of course, is because I like the cute pictures you post of your children. I like to support you when you ask for prayers or kind thoughts. But I too fell victim to kvetching too much, maybe not about politics, but about things that don’t need permanent, public records of said kvetching. That’s what a husband is for, to listen to my unprompted rants about weather and heat and how noisy the boys are and why I can’t ever find the ingredients I need in this area of Ohio and on and on and on. I’m not a negative person, but I sometimes seem like one on Facebook. I don’t like it.
So, I’m done. Not forever. But through the election. Mainly because I want to keep being your friend. You? You are allowed to believe whatever it is that you believe politically speaking or otherwise. I want you to believe — and to believe so deeply that you would get in a fight about it with random strangers that are of no consequence in your life. I want the people I love to have strong convictions and stand by them. I just don’t want to lose respect for them because of how they go about talking about said convictions, when they slip into name-calling and nastiness. I want to believe that they respect my beliefs as much as I respect theirs, that there is room in this world for us all to breathe and move and love and feel and believe. That our differences bring us closer rather than push us apart. That our unique beliefs make us stronger.
I know. My mom called me an idealist last week. I see rainbows on the cloudiest day. It is one of my many flaws; I see the good to a fault.
But more than wanting to keep respecting my Facebook friends and their beliefs, I want my friends to respect me. I want to be the kind of person online who I am offline. I want to be positive, to be cheerful, to be encouraging. Somewhere along the line it became less about sharing and connecting and more about complaining and being right. I’m not okay with that; it’s not me.
I want us to still be friends after this election is over. I also want to get back to the me who sees the good in everyone and everything. And so, no Facebook, my friends. I may update the blog pages (Stop, Drop & Blog and The Chronicles of Munchkin Land), but probably not regularly. I have turned off notifications. I have logged out of the site. I removed the link from my bookmark bar. I have removed the app from my phone. I am, for now, done.
Hopefully we can still be friends on the morning of Wednesday, November 7, 2012. The world will be slightly different by then, no matter the outcome.
I hope I am too.