Facebook friendships are tenuous things. Examine them closely, and you’re bound to notice some cracks in the foundation.
How many times over the past 3 years have you been stunned at posts from Facebook friends, wondering to yourself why the hell are we friends?
If you use Facebook regularly, you’re forced to reconcile the word “friend” with a fuck-load of posts that are diametrically opposed to the values you hold. Still, we hold on to our Facebook “friendships” – why is that? I suspect it has something to do with our relationship to the word “friend” itself and the social context it holds (outside the realm of Facebook).
In life, we’re taught that friends stick together through thick and thin. Being friends means accepting each other’s differences. We’re taught that friendships are a thing to value and that we shouldn’t dismiss them capriciously.
We’re hemmed in by the meaning of the word “friend.” We feel the weightiness of its definition and the social-contractual obligation that comes with being a friend.
So, we stick.
For a lot of us, our Facebook friendships are based on a shared high school experience. We became “friends” on social media because we shared the same teachers, coaches, classes, dances, parties, proms for four years. We suffered together, and we exalted together. So when Facebook came along, I guess we thought that sharing 3rd period Spanish some 30 years ago was a good enough glue and something we could build on.
Then, along comes Donald Trump, and with him, a strong need to express ourselves (both for and against). And now, when we read each other’s posts, we realize that 3rd period Spanish some thirty years ago is the only thing we have in common.
Nostalgia is pleasant, but it can’t bridge the gap between bigotry and tolerance, so let’s stop thinking it can.
I want to live in a country that welcomes the stranger and demands equality under the law, has a healthy respect for dissent, and always strives for truth. As a child, these values were instilled in me as “American values” and serve as the pillars of democracy. And because of that, these values became part of my “American identity.” Thus, these values are at the heart of who I am as an American.
When I see “friends” treat these values fluidly or as something to skirt around when they come in conflict with one’s politics or religion, it pisses me off. When President Trump employs fear and lies to chip away at these values to shake our citizenry’s confidence and divide us, it pisses me off even more.
The continued support of this President puts my “friends” in an ugly light. If I were to meet you for the first time today (as opposed to 30 years ago in 3rd-period Spanish), I would choose not to associate with you, and I certainly wouldn’t consider you a friend.
Americans who were paying attention in 2016 knew that Donald Trump was dishonest, morally deprived, and vacuous. That’s why most of us didn’t vote for him. But because of the electoral college and the help of a hostile foreign nation, we have a national security threat sitting in the oval office.
After nearly 4 years of this egotistical ass-hat, still no replacement for Obama Care, no progress on fixing our infrastructure, no bold initiative to combat climate change, and no relief or reform on the high cost of college education and student loan debt.
What we do have is 34 indictments related to Russian Interference in the 2016 election, overwhelming evidence of obstruction of justice, a tax cut for the wealthy that failed to trickle down to the middle class, a lot of cozying-up to dictators, thugs, and autocrats, an increase in hate crimes and white nationalism, a cabinet built on nepotism rather than competence, a divided nation, a dismembered Washington Post journalist, and a lot of brown children in cages.
What happened to us? Under this President, America has been transformed from that shining city on the hill to an unstable tenement house, its occupants at each other’s throats, all to the glee of a narcissistic, petulant man-child rapist.
The President is petty, dishonest, vindictive, unethical, and shallow. For the last 3 years, these traits have been on display for everyone to see. In addition, there is video, audio, and text evidence that the President is demonstrably uninformed and a shitty human being.
And yet, so many “friends” turn a blind eye to it all. As long as abortion rights are being restricted, immigrants are being punished, unemployment is low, who cares about character, truth, honesty, and integrity.
If you decide to vote for this President in 2020 because the economy is doing well, unemployment is low, and “USA, USA, USA!”, then you are no friend of mine.
I’ve never ended a friendship over politics – but let’s stop pretending this is about politics. It’s about values – decency, competency, and respect for truth, honesty, and integrity.
I won’t put friendship above these things.
That’s not compromising; that’s compromising my values.