I’m having a very hard time blogging, commenting, and being a responsible citizen on Facebook right now.
Responsible, because I want to stand by my words online, even if you read them in a month when the craziness is muted. Not gone – the consequences of this election will haunt this nation for years.
Born in California, reared in Mexico City, and living permanently in the States since I went to Seattle U. to finish a college career interrupted by non-student communists shutting down the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in 1968-69, I have NEVER seen an election like this one.
Being an INFJ (sliding to an INTP depending on my mood when answering questions – it’s impossible to tell with older people who have adapted the world to themselves with practice), supposedly makes me a peacemaker who, according to one online site,
‘their real passion is to get to the heart of the issue so that people need not be rescued at all.’
‘Egalitarianism and karma are very attractive ideas to INFJs, and they tend to believe that nothing would help the world so much as using love and compassion to soften the hearts of tyrants.’
The problem is I’m censoring myself
I’ve always tried to express my own opinions, and not jump on bandwagons too quickly. I spend time writing comments, re-read before posting, and tone down things which might be taken as fighting words.
The touchstone: not saying anything online I wouldn’t be willing to say in person, with that willingness being tempered by having to achieve something positive, or what is the purpose of talking.
I get snippy occasionally – everyone does – but tend more to pour oil on water than light it up for flames.
But I can’t tell you how many times lately I’m deleting entire comments, leaving challenging statements unchallenged, NOT saying something I really think should be said.
And not just about politics, but on Goodreads, in private FB groups, and even on that bastion of even-handedness and civility, ThePassiveVoice.
And it’s causing me some real discomfort.
Firebrands exhaust me
I’m not the best person for defending or advocating for anything – my energy is too limited.
I have the comments. I WRITE the comments.
And then I delete them, because the climate seems fraught. Everyone’s temper is short. People who claim to be Christian use language Christ would blanch at to impugn someone else’s ancestry.
Racism, sexism, ableism – all are alive and kicking. And punching. And screaming.
I blocked someone on my Facebook page I’ve homeschooled with, and known for twenty years (not close lately, but still).
We used to paper over differences, not mention differences in beliefs where it was not important, strive to find the common ground. Our homeschool group had several Jewish families, at least one Muslim one, ours (the Catholics), and a large collection of mainline and evangelical Protestants – and we coexisted and went on field trips together.
Nuance, thesauri, satire
It’s easier to stay out of the fray.
Indie publishing and traditional publishing long ago developed into separate camps with entirely different belief systems. I read, formed my own opinions, chose the indie camp and don’t regret it.
But, as a writer, I know perfectly well how to slant word choices to make a subtle point. Except that the subtlety seems gone, and everything said seems to lead to an assault on the castle walls.
I hope to hell it’s temporary
And that I won’t be ashamed of anything of said during the proceedings.
But I’m shaken. And unhappy. I’ve always thought it was a great thing to be an American, and that, regardless of problems, this is where I want to live. I’m looking forward to when diversity is even greater in our country, and education serves ALL our kids well, so they have futures.
And now we’re going down a possible black hole. And even the possibility of the black hole has done huge damage with its gravitational force.
Surely we can do better than this.
What to do? What to do?
I’ll gird my loins, go back into the fray, keep attempting to use reason while understanding there is always injustice.
And hope the rest of us are shaken enough to look seriously at ourselves and make sure we’re not making things worse. Platitudes, all, but I intend to try.
This can’t be, as someone said, ‘the end of the American experiment.’