Click her to receive blog updates via email

Thursday, November 8, 2012

To Friend or Unfriend, that is the question

In the last few days since the election, I've seen posts on Facebook and heard TV and radio personalities talking about the current trend of people "unfriending" people on Facebook because of opposing political views. At first, I found this rude. Why would you unfriend someone, especially when you're friends with them in the non-virtual world, simply because they post a political affirmation different from your own?

But then today, I found myself wanting to do the same. Many of my friends from back home in Alabama that I've known my entire life have views that are polar to my own. I'm used to this because my husband's views are also polar to mine. But he and I have respectful debate. I'm sure when he's talking with like-minded friends, he might use words that are more colorful than those he uses when he and I debate. In fact, I know this to be true because I've overheard him. Yet, when he and I discuss issues, we use respectful tones and phrases. Just yesterday, I had a political discussion with a friend who holds opposite beliefs and we were able to share our differences with civility.

I say this not to tout myself or those closest to me as being able to politely disagree. I say this (and am posting this blog on Facebook) as a request to everyone to please stop with the venom. Some of my friends are gloating. Some of my friends are spitting hate. Please don't do this on Facebook and Twitter. These mediums are for sharing life and information, not climbing on a soapbox and screaming your opinion into your friends' faces. Maybe I'm an idealist, but discussions as important as politics and the future of our country are just that--discussions. It's pointless to shout into cyberspace and not engage in thoughtful discussion. Yes, that last sentence is going to get me unfriended by some, but I'm okay with that.

One final thought, in Romney's concession speech, he said, "At a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing. The leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work. And we citizens have to rise to the occasion." He also implored his supporters to pray for the President. 

I recognize the seeming hypocrisy of my posting this on Facebook after asserting that it isn't a place for politics. But I hope you see this post as not a political one, but as one where I'm asking for a return to the friendly, sharing-life medium Facebook represents. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Gratitude Reminder from Sandy

This week, Hurricane Sandy crippled a huge part of the East Coast. People wondered if the weather people were hyping it up, but--unfortunately--they weren't. The past several days, we've heard stories of death. Stories of people stranded. Stories of power outages and elderly being carried down dark stair wells.

But in the parts of the country Sandy didn't devastate, life went on. When Jamie and I lost our daughter, Abby, I remember my anger at life going on in the face of tragedy. As we drove home from the funeral home where we'd made the decision to cremate our baby, I grew angry at people waiting in line at the McDonald's drive-thru. At the businessman on his cell phone. At the Walmart parking lot full of people buying bandaids and sponges and light bulbs.

Watching these stories from Sandy, I'm reminded of how isolated I felt in my pain and loss. I re-indexed myself for any annoyance at delays caused by Sandy. In checking myself, I came to the following comparisons:

Me:  Something I expected to be delivered yesterday showed up today.
The driver:  I couldn't show up for my job as a delivery man because I still don't have power, my kids are home from school, and our local grocery store is out of water.

Me:   We were stuck at home Monday and Tuesday and lost productivity on those two days.
Waiter in downtown Manhatten:  I couldn't go to work all week because of the storm, so I lost a week's worth of income.

Me:   I had a sewage backup that caused a drip in my basement.
New Jersey Shore resident:  I'm sitting on the second floor of my house because my first floor is flooded with sand. I have no power or clean water.

Me:  The howling winds kept me up most of the night on Monday and the craziness in trying to catch up later in the week wiped me out.
Latest report:  109 people died in the United States from Sandy. More souls were lost in the Caribbean.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am acutely aware this year of all I've been blessed with. Beautiful, healthy children. A wonderful husband with a secure job he loves. Friends who have my back and help me grow as a person. My health. My home. My life.