When we enter the social media jungle we’ll find assumptions. And at least a little judgment and sometimes quite a lot. After all, many social media friends don’t have more than a superficial friendship with us, right? They don’t really KNOW us.
Well, maybe. Sometimes they know us way too well. But never as well as an in-person friend.
But knowing someone in person is no guarantee there won’t be judgment, because people do like to make assumptions and to judge, often without any basis and almost always without any context. And most don’t ask for context, either.
So, it’s no secret that I’m a liberal who believes I am my brother/sister’s keeper and also a raging feminist. It’s no secret that the one grudge I hold is over the sexism that HRC faced in her presidential efforts. Those are things I’ve written about and blogged about and posted about.
Haters gotta hate
But a couple years ago, someone I know in person took exception to my musings on white privilege and left the friendship. Apparently, I wasn’t liberal enough. If she’d asked, she would’ve learned that my immigrant grandparents were heavily discriminated against, thought of as dirty Dagos. Had she asked, I might have shared the fact that my views were colored–nuanced– by personal experience and my upbringing. That color of skin did not enter into it in this case. Her WASP ethnicity did.
Did it mean I wasn’t a progressive? Not hardly. It just meant that she failed to value the friendship enough to find out why I held the position I did. To see my struggle with something that had impacted my life in ways she could not imagine. To ask. And discuss. Something a couple of my Black friends DID do. There was only “I’m horrified” and off she went into the wild blue yonder. And good riddance. Because my expectation of my friends is that they do what I do, which is take them in. Take the whole person in. And ask questions. Dig into the hard topics instead of judging.
General society does not take in nuances, it’s obvious, and many today are super-quick to bring down judgment. Or take offense. Just like that awful man in the Oval Office, they choose a cockeyed view of things.
Mama called them delicata
The term “snowflake” is an insult thrown around today in reference to a generation that is less resilient and more prone to taking offense. My Sicilian grandmother had a similar term for those who were overly sensitive: “delicata” (male is delicato). “Delicate” in the most delicious linguistic sense.
In my household and among my best friends and nephews, discussions are fast, whip-smart and knowledgeable. Debate is embraced. Evidence is required. And it’s safe to air our struggles with…whatever. Honesty is required. Benefit of the doubt is given. And the whole person is taken in. Sometimes, I forget that the rest of the world isn’t like that. That many are, as Mama, my grandmother would say, delicata.
The role of politics in life today
I was asked to participate in an event not too long ago, and then disinvited on the basis of an anti-Trump meme I posted without commentary. A meme that someone had to dig pretty far back in my feed to find. Which said something. Someone was LOOKING. HARD.
Rejecting the hot seat
The hosts wanted to interrogate me about my political position, although the event was non-political. I stood firm. i wasn’t going to answer any questions about my politics. This wasn’t the Inquisition. Or was it?
The intent wasn’t pure. I saw what was happening–my politics, not my competence, were being judged. Worse, they were using a progressive message point to object. Oh, how many on the right love to hijack our own positions and contort them to fit their own ends. I was relieved to find out the real intentions of this crowd and not to participate in any kind of event with them. In fact, I wouldn’t be caught dead with any of them.
When I excerpted one of my journals from 1998 last month I repeated the term obese, which I used in that entry back then. Sure enough, someone was offended. But just as I don’t believe terms in Civil War era diaries should be sanitized to respect todays values, I wasn’t going to change what I wrote back then. Those diaries are instructive, by the way. Educational. They help give us deeper understanding into the racist culture of the South in those days.
When I posted using the term “the bubba vote” I got pushback that it was name calling, despite the fact that the bubba vote has been referenced hundreds– if not thousands– of times in mainstream media like the New York Times and Politico. My online friend said she was “disappointed” in me for using a term she considered “demeaning.” Key words: SHE considered.
Someone else called me “defeatist” when I took an analytical and realistic view that Kamala and Lizzie wouldn’t play in the states we lost and questioned my feminist credentials. REALLY?? Their gender wasn’t a factor in my analysis; that was the other person’s assumption. I call my analysis “realistic.” Because I’m both a feminist and I want to win that race. Bring me a candidate of any gender or race who can win.
Whose problem is it?
Well, you know, people can feel the way they feel, and they need to own it. That’s as it should be. But me? I can only be what I am. Anyone who follows me at all knows I wear my heart on my sleeve 100 percent of the time–and I expect them to know my heart because of that. Someone’s disappointment or taking offense when none is intended is not my problem. It’s theirs. Oh, I’ll look at myself and assess my heart. But really, they should do that, too. Let me say that again: we should all look into our hearts for our motivation and our beliefs.
Now, unlike my real life friend, two of my online friends had offline discussions with me about it. Kudos for them for that! The woman who assumed I was casting aspersions on women candidates for their gender did not respond when I messaged her privately.
And like I said, I consider it a narrow escape from the judgment and wrath being thrown my way by the clearly right-wing zealots running that event I was disinvited from. The key word here is zealots–I was raised by right-wingers but I emerged left. Right-wing is a descriptor, not an insult. Even today. Just saying.
While shocking to lose a real life friend over something she could have easily asked about, the fact that she didn’t told me everything about her that I needed to know. I came out ahead there, too.
Now, the complicating factor is that I do have a business and most women are prospects. My husband said to me once about this, “You can be Carol or you can be A Healing Spirit, but it’s going to be hard to be both.”
The price is right
I agree that I have and will lose a few opportunities because I do not sanitize what I write and post–which is pretty mild by any reasonable standard. I don’t post every minute of every day. But when I do, I choose not to whitewash my opinion or parse my words. I could, and I know many who do (because I know them and their politics). In a way, I wish I could do the same. But I can’t. That life of walking on eggshells is not for me. If we don’t stand up now for what we believe we are doomed to lose our American way.
And I don’t agree that I have to choose between being me and being my business. I believe that my politics, progressive politics, politics in which we support policies that help and support people–those politics–are 100 percent in line with the caring business I began. One hundred percent.
Progressive people don’t operate from fear, we operate from “how can we help?” We’re not afraid someone’s going to take too much of our money, we know that taxes are the way we keep our country going and the way we find people who need help. We’re ok with that. We’re not afraid of people who are different. We just don’t operate from fear. We operate from love.
The progressive point of view is a compassionate point of view and aligns nicely with the mission of A Healing Spirit.
I have to trust that those people who want to be helped by what I have to offer will also be the kind who see the heart I’ve put into every single one of my products and services.
The kind who think my politics don’t matter because the bottom line is that politics has nothing to do with grief or healing.
So don’t expect me to hold back my opinions any time soon. Like, not in my lifetime.
Speaking of that: Have you liked A Healing Spirit’s Facebook Page? I’d love for you to.
Also, sign up up for our every-so-often newsletter at the bottom at the
newsletter page to keep up with the latest services and support for healing.
Yes, those are live links. Thank you!