We all have those connections on Facebook – people we knew once upon a time, maybe in childhood, but who we don’t really know anymore except on social media. I like to see these people’s posts, watch their children grow and their careers soar, and most of the time, the interaction is supportive: “You look great!” “Congratulations!” “Hope your day gets better!”
But I had one of these connections, a friend from elementary school, post something rather extreme.
So I commented. Three days of posts, two separate threads. I was told throughout to “grow a brain and fuck myself” for asking how the above comment helps and that we should talk about it; that Trump wants to exterminate Mexicans, this is the pre-cursor to another Holocaust, and that they don’t need to waste their time proving this – I should go out and find the info myself; if it has to be explained to me, I’m hopeless and they don’t feel its their job to educate a 40+-year-old woman of means; that the OP should just “rule out the white people”; that California is “occupied territory”; that the “motherfuckers” who were Columbus’s crew were undocumented, there’s no European legitimacy for being on this soil, and I am an interloper. It all comes down to the fact that my very existence is offensive because I don’t believe in open borders.
First, there’s a lot I could say about the politics and actual issues of the discussion (which was mostly by me – these people who piled on generally did not add to the discussion substantively, although a few did, and I tried to acknowledge those as the thread grew), but frankly, that’s not what bothered me. We all have different opinions. I’m open to hearing about those and exploring ideas. That’s why I engaged.
What bothers me is how the discussion was handled. The OP had a perfect opportunity – she was obviously upset, emotional, and frustrated, and I was willing to listen. Why not take that opportunity and try to change my mind? After all, she claimed that Trump wants to EXTERMINATE her and all people from Mexico! If she really felt that way, wouldn’t she want my vote and support?
Sadly, no. She didn’t care to change my mind. She just wanted to tell me how ignorant I was and that she didn’t want to be friends with anyone who didn’t think exactly the way she does.
And then her friends chimed in. Some added arguments, one linked to a video of Rachel Maddow (drink the Kool-Aid much?), they said how I put my foot in my mouth and can’t stand the heat and blah, blah, blah.
I think the fact that I stuck it out so long is proof that I can stand the heat. I remained respectful. I continued to try to address the issues. This former friend of mine…she did not.
I took screen shots of both entire threads, and my first thought was that I would post them here. Maybe someday I will, but right now, I’m too disheartened. In one of her posts, the OP alluded to the fact that 20 people had messaged her asking her to back off me. I appreciate that, and while I didn’t feel I needed help, per se, even having one person stand up and say, “This is not how we have a civil dialog and advance our cause,” would have been golden. We have many mutual friends on Facebook, and not one of them actually engaged, but some of them had to read the discussion. And nobody spoke out.
To sum it up, I don’t feel offended at any of the exchange. I just feel sad. If this is the way the OP treats a friend, I would hate to be her enemy.