As I stated a couple months ago, I deleted my Facebook account. I was having a very hard time processing a few aspects of my life changes along with the day to day of mothering, teething, toddler antics, homeschooling, being the family chef, etc. All of that was overwhelming enough without the input of 200 other people in an increasingly bitter political climate as the election loomed closer. Truth be told, about once a week or so, I would log into my husband’s account to get a feel for how our friends were doing and try to keep tabs on any major life changes. Stephen was also pretty good about letting me in on any important news.
So on Tuesday as I logged in for my weekly check-in to see how people were reacting to the election (the newsie in me that used to work overtime on election day at a big pizza party in the newsroom couldn’t resist), I just kind of realized that this whole sneaking in for peeks on my friends and family was a little ridiculous and that I should just get an account of my own again already. Especially because I was so very tempted to “like” certain things people were saying or cute pictures, but seeing as how my husband and I view things slightly differently with regards to our “public” life I didn’t want to make it seem like he was “liking” something he normally wouldn’t or taking a stand on an issue or making a public statement on something that he wouldn’t.
Furthermore, there were many great things that I missed out on by not being on Facebook: words of encouragement, insightful thoughts or articles, important life announcements from other people, etc. It’s a give and take just like anything else in life. We’re all sinful, imperfect people and unfortunately coexisting on this planet with other sinners means we get hurt, angry, and the like sometimes.
As an example of something that I would have missed out on, during one of my “covert” Facebook log-ins, one of our friends posted a youTube video of a talk on vulnerability by Dr. Brené Brown at TEDx Houston. It really resonated with me and was very much in line with some stuff I had heard one of my very good friends, that also happens to be an MFT, say recently.
I am so terrible about being vulnerable. Maybe it is because I’ve been hurt too much. Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert. Maybe, who knows? Dr. Brown’s research suggests that because of this, I am likely to live a life that is not as happy with less love. I don’t want this. It’s interesting too because I feel like I have constantly struggled with friendship and maintaining friendships. I feel like I have a hard time connecting with others. Well, no wonder, I’m not vulnerable with others.
The followup talk she gave on listening to shame is equally good.
So, I’ve been processing all that she had to say for the last couple weeks and what that meant for my life, how I wanted to live it, and how it impacted my need to have meaningful friendships and relationships. Both videos have seriously changed my perspective on life in a lot of ways.
I have also been thinking about these things in light of the wake of the election reactions I have seen. Admittedly, there has been so much I have seen that has absolutely infuriated me. This is me being honest and slightly vulnerable. I think if you have read this blog long enough or know me in person you can kind of grasp where I stand on the issues and what kinds of things I would find infuriating (or maybe not because I have vulnerability issues, haha). I wonder though if expressing those feelings to those that have said the infuriating things is a form of societal shaming? Many have already done so to them in direct comments or as blogs or general status updates to “no one specific person in particular” or “you know who you are”.
I tend to be slightly more political and openly opinionated than most I know, yet I find myself hesitant to post my viewpoints and for the backlash I might receive if I do. More societal shaming. More closing down the vulnerability. Is that good for me? I don’t think so.
Many have already come before me and eloquently stated things that I believe too. Like this post by Jo Ashline. Or this one by Brannon Hancock.
So, I’m not sure I have much to add to the conversation in light of these and probably many more posts in this vein. It helps to know I’m not alone though. I don’t want to shame others, just like I know explicity stating all my political viewpoints would likely lead to shaming of and negative reaction to me in the very tense current climate.
At the same time, while having a differing political opinion is completely fine with me, some things that seem to come along with that opinion are not. I get feeling disappointed, I really do. The candidate I would have liked to see win was no longer an option on the ballot and I was left feeling like I had to pick between all not so great choices.
However, I don’t think it is OK to cut yourself off from friends and family that love you because they disagreed with your viewpoint and your guy lost. It was not OK for Democrats to be a “Sore Loserman” twelve years ago, but completely OK for Republicans to be now? I think not.
Stating that someone (or rather the entire group of Americans that voted a certain way) is ignorant, voted blindly, or without morals is NOT OK either. As Hancock said in the post I linked to above, “In light of this, the question of how we live as citizens of our this-worldly cities in the time that remains is not at all simple. In fact, I think it’s incredibly complex, which is why platitudes like ‘vote biblical values’ strike me as not only meaningless but rather irresponsible – I want us to take our Bible, and our responsibility as citizens, more seriously than that. I believe sincere Christians can come to radically different conclusions about politics, because I believe there is a bit of good and a bit of truth — as well as a whole lot of broken, sinful humanity — involved in ALL of our attempts to govern ourselves and organize our common life in the present age.” The way we vote is not a litmus test for our love of country or God. I know plenty of Christians that weighed the issues, the records, and the backgrounds of each candidate and still voted for Obama. I know I stated this before in the months leading up to the last presidential election, but all that the office of President encompases and how we come to the decision of who is best suited to that role is much, much more than the two hot-button issues of abortion and homosexuality.
I was only in high school and not able to vote when it happened, but I remember the presidency and election of Bill Clinton pretty vividly. I had quite the spectrum of adults in my life at the time and I remember extreme statements like I have seen in the last few days leading up to that. A Catholic turned Jewish woman in my life was terribly afraid of what would happen to our country and Jews in particular if the Republicans won. She vowed to move to Canada if they did. When they did, following that presidency, she did not move to Canada. She made it through. We all did. Christians in my life at the time were equally afraid of this country going down the tubes if Bill Clinton got re-elected, “We would never have economic success because small businesses and big corporations would fail, and the Christians would be imprisoned and persecuted for their faith. The morality of everyone in our country was definitely in peril if we elected the adulterer,” they opined. As an adult, I have a wide spectrum of adult friends and I have heard many of these same things from those on all sides of the issue. It just kind of seems like melodramatic posturing to me that has no real basis in historical examples and fact.
Electing Obama to a second term does not mean the country is going to fall apart. It does not mean that Christians will be persecuted and imprisoned. It does not mean we are going to become a dictatorship. To quote that Jo Ashline post, “Get it together people and gain some perspective. Because this country will go to hell in a hand basket not because of a single man, but because we allow ourselves to forget just how amazing and resilient and FREE our nation truly is. Maybe you woke up this morning feeling frightened about your future because you were counting on the other guy to make things better. But you also woke up in the same country where you are Free to express your religious beliefs, Free to speak your mind, Free to choose where you want to live, and Free to think idiotic things such as ‘this is a tragic day for our nation.’ I urge you to find a way today to remind yourself just how good we have it, even if you’re facing economic strife or some sort of adversity. So if you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps today because Mitt Romney won’t be moving into the White House come January, remember that we live in a nation where you get to do this all over again in four years. In the meantime, empower others by getting involved in your community somehow. Do something kind for someone. Be someone’s hero. Spread kindness and tolerance. Teach your children that diversity is the cornerstone of this country and show them that not only is it possible to lose with dignity and respect, it’s imperative if we’re to move forward as nation. Then meet up with your coworkers at the water cooler or your friends at the bar, and talk about what an idiot you think Obama is. Because you can.”