Tuesday, November 18, 2008

post-election blues: to de-friend or not to de-friend

If you're my friend on facebook, then you know that I'm the slightest bit obsessed with it, particularly with the status updates. And with its recent changes, I practically peed my pants with excitement when I saw that you can comment on people's statuses (and it's a feature I'm certainly taking advantage of). What can I say? I'm nosy. I need to know what's going on with my friends at any particular moment. Facebook status updates feed my curiosity.

During the election, I updated my status quite a bit and saw that others did the same. On election night, with my ears glued to CNN's reporting, I was online facebook-ing and twittering my thoughts and reactions. I was not alone. Many of my friends did the same. It was therapeutic to share my feelings of anxiety and anticipation with my friends, regardless of who they were backing. Either way, no matter how it turned out, this election was going to make history. Either we would have our first African American president or we would have our first female vice president.

As results were coming in and McCain faced a huge electoral vote deficit, what I had hoped for was starting to become a reality. And that's when the hate starting coming in. Some of my friends updated their statuses with hateful messages.

  • "Do white Americans want a standardless country?"
  • "What of all the unborn babies?" (aside: ok, talk of unborn babies is pretty hypocritical. If you're so 'pro-life' why don't you support--politically--improved social services for single mothers in order to make it easier for a woman to choose to carry her baby to term rather than choose to abort? When anti-choicers begin to care as much for a child after his/her birth as when he/she is still in the womb, then maybe I'll care to listen to their arguments against abortion)
  • "There's going to be a special place in hell for Obama when it's all said and done."
  • "I hope people get what they voted for." (aside: I voted for change. I think I got it.)
  • "I don't get it. Is he like the second-coming or something?" (aside: if you don't get that having a black president is history in the making, if you can't appreciate it, then I feel sorry for you. Go find some older black folks and ask them about segregation and how horrible a time that was. Now ask yourself that "second-coming" question again. No, Obama's not the second coming. But if you can't see his election as something special especially to people who experience racism every day then I can't help you.)
Also, almost immediately following Obama's election, Facebook groups counting down to his last day in office or calling for Obama's impeachment starting turning up like crazy. Seriously? He's not even in office yet and you think his presidency is going to be so bad that you already can't wait for him to leave or you're calling for his impeachment. What has Obama done to you? What has he done compared to the last 8 years of crap we've had? Warrantless wiretapping? Conscious clauses so doctors and pharmacists don't have to give women birth control? Redefining 'executive privilege'? Firing lawyers who didn't agree with Bush's policies? A needless war that has cost far too many American lives and far too much money? At least liberals waited until Bush had effed up this country so bad before calling for his impeachment or counting down to 1-20-09. Perhaps the people in these anti-Obama Facebook groups are among the 20% that still approve of Bush as our president.

And while I like to think of myself as a liberal who is willing to listen to the other side, I have no patience for conservatives who repeat baseless rhetoric to make a point. It's no fun to associate yourself with people who agree with you 100% of the time. But if you disagree with me politically, I'll respect you enough for you to make an intelligent argument to state your point. If you can't, then maybe we shouldn't ever talk about politics.

With emotions running high after the election, I'm confronted with a little dilemma. Should I de-friend all those that have offended me with their ignorant status messages? Part of me wants to and would have no regrets doing so. I have no need for ignorance and prejudice in my life. And since I am not close friends with them, it wouldn't necessarily be a big loss to me. I'd rather have a small group of good friends than a large group of friends I barely know.

In the end, I'll probably do nothing. It's just Facebook, after all. And all this negativity makes me see the reality of what an Obama administration is up against. Getting people to work together to get things done in this country is going to be an uphill battle.

UPDATE: comments have been turned off on this post because I prefer not to have the crazy anti-choicers leave their hateful rhetoric on the blog (just to clarify, there are plenty of sane anti-choicers who are welcome to drop me an email).  it is not because I do not want to have a healthy dialogue with dissenting opinions.