It really came out of the blue. There I (Steve) was checking my Facebook feed when a post from a long time friend popped up. I started to read it and saw that it was one of those posts that had the “See More” click link that opened another window to the complete and very long post. Because I know this friend to be a good writer I clicked on the link and continued reading.
I really wish I hadn’t.
What started as, what I thought was going to be, an interesting opinion piece quickly turned into a rant against the OTHER side — people with political opinions that differed from the writer’s. It wasn’t just a rant, it was chapter and verse from the talking points of those whose politics aligned with the poster.
I was stunned.
The person I’d known for many years was someone who was certainly capable of expressing their own point of view, but someone who always did it in a way that acknowledged that you might not agree and didn’t belittle your beliefs.
The person whose writing was on my computer screen would have none of that. If you were not in agreement, you were the enemy and were complicit in causing the problems being highlighted.
You had no intelligence, probably very few, if any, morals and were finally being called out for all your sins. A very wide net of hatred was being cast and the emotion behind it propelled the verbiage into a level of disdain I didn’t know my friend was capable of.
My first thought was that someone had hacked the account. I was about to send a private message when I saw some comments showing up on my friend’s timeline. It quickly became apparent that most of those commenting were in agreement. I still wasn’t convinced that the account hadn’t been hacked and again started to send a private message when I saw my friend’s reply to several of the comments. I could tell from some of the things said in my friend’s responses that the account had not been hacked and, in fact, the original post was from my friend.
Several years ago, Johnnie met my friend and they now, also, stay in touch on Facebook. So, I pointed the post out to her and asked her to take a look to see if I was overreacting. She did and agreed that I was not.
Both of us couldn’t get it out of our heads.
I’m well aware of the reality that people change. That who you were at six, sixteen or twenty may or may not be who you are today.
But, this just felt and read — different.
With little regard for friends, my friend was making statements that could, and probably did, insult many.
All in the name of politics.
As I said at the top, this is a friend I’ve known for years. But now, I’m not sure I know them at all.
I’ve intentionally not mentioned if this was a him or a her and I’ve intentionally not mentioned which side of the political divide my friend’s opinions were on. It really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it’s becoming more and more the norm that politics and individual political opinions supersede everything else.
I said at the outset of this missive that I really wish I hadn’t read my friend’s post. But, I did … and now, I’m not sure I’m going to read many more.
Sadly, I’m not sure I’ll be missed.