What Civil Discourse?

I thought I’d miss Face Book. I don’t. I miss the photos and messages from friends and family far away. But Face Book? Nah.

I thought I’d be looking for the app on my phone—I deleted it. I don’t look for it and I’ve stopped checking Twitter too. Imagine.

This morning, my husband, Jim called me into the living room to show me something on HIS Face Book. Something about calling Social Security checks a Federal Benefit check. I will not get into the whole “I paid for that benefit and that’s why I’m entitled to it” discussion. Rebranding Social Security isn’t the problem. Just don’t think you can stop sending the cash (that we paid for out of every paycheck) without consequences. 

But I digress. Below that post, was another post about California and sanctuary cities. And a cryptic comment from Jim about hunger.

Now a little backstory. Jim has a lot of friends from high school—and their spouses—who are on the other side of our current political discussion. That’s fine. We’re both in favor of—well, for want of a better term—a civil discourse. Back in the ‘70’s we used to call it dialogue.

Addressing Jim’s post, one of those friends asked the burning question “Huh?” I did mention that Jim’s post was cryptic, right?

I’ve lived with the love of my life for more than a quarter century, and I knew exactly what he meant. I also knew he needed—oh—probably another 30 words to explain what he meant to folks who don’t live with him.

But. Just below Jim’s comment and his friend’s question was a GIF of a guy talking to a brick wall. And someone—maybe one of those old high school buddies—had added, “They have no common sense. This is what it’s like talking to a …” Maybe a donkey. Maybe an elephant. 

Okay. I get it. We’re on different sides of the current political argument. But c’mon guy. Stop with the insults. We’ll never get anywhere if the discussion starts with name-calling.

And for me, that’s what Face Book turned into. Family photos, cute kittens and puppies, flowers, and verbal abuse from ‘the other side’. It’s like we’re all in a boxing match and when the ref calls ‘FIGHT!’ we take our respective corners. No handshake. No punches.

No one will ever win that fist fight. Instead, at some point, weapons will be drawn.

The next time I’m asked to look at Face Book, I think I’ll put my fingers in my ears and sing. Lalalalalala…