Yup, I fell into the trap! I let my ego and pride get the best of me. I will admit that I participated in the 2016 Election Facebook War that began when Trump was elected. I’m so disappointed in myself because I know better than that. Posting views about the election on FB invokes the very same conversations that I have avoided for my whole voting life. This year, my “old school” convictions of never talking about religion or politics with friends were not only abandoned but my political views are in writing during an age when words and pictures can never be fully deleted or ever forgotten. Now my Facebook post is out there in cyber space and years from now it could be found and traced back to me. I decided for this very reason I would just leave it on my page and own it.
What cracks me up is that for the 9+ years that we have lived in Linden Hills, MN (Google it) I have surrounded myself with many friends who are passionate Democrats. I have been able to avoid uncomfortable discussions while STILL having political conversations. And yet there I was - on a platform where my friends and family were battling over the election. Whether Facebook friends agreed with my vote or not, I was responsible for starting the dialogue. I had been holding in my feelings since the day after the election so the tension was pent up. Two days after Trump was elected I spoke out on Facebook and I found it liberating. I was able to find closure but only after harsh words and finger pointing. To be completely honest, I went to bed that night and slept like a baby. But I woke up the next day and thought, what price did I have to pay to get that feeling? What I learned about myself after all this is that I shouldn’t have been ashamed to tell people that I supported Trump. I’m pretty sure I messed up my son who was over the moon that Trump won. I practically scolded him into NOT talking about it at school. Great parenting.
I learned that I am very opened-minded because not until the election did I come to grips that 90% of my friends are Democrats and I am the token Republican. I’m proud of my friendships mostly because they are not solely based on political views.
I learned that my pen is mightier than my sword and that frightens me. I do have a history of writing my feelings down and hitting the “Send” button before waiting a day or two. Maybe after calming down, I would end up not sending it out at all because I would realize the ramifications. But I love to write. Writing is my favorite form of communication. And so my passion to write lead me to a FB debacle that I can’t ever take back.
I learned that I missed a golden opportunity to graciously accept the compliments when my friends asked how I could support Trump. In my fit of rage I only wanted to see that they were cornering me to answer for the millions of people who voted for Trump. Only a level-headed person would be able to see this but it just goes to show you, I wasn’t level-headed. Instead, I chose to fight. This is where I admit that I was completely at fault. When I realized my behavior the next day, I came crawling back to my friends to say that I was sorry. Instead of writing, I picked up the phone and left voicemails. Whether they could ever forgive me is not under my control. It was important for me to say I am sorry and to say it immediately.
Believe it or not, there are two silver linings that came out of all this: 1) I learned that I am not a person who can hold onto this type of anger for more than a day and that is a good thing. Maybe I’ve grown up or maybe I have grasped that life is really so short. I just don’t have enough room to accommodate anger because I don't have enough hours in my day to fit it in. Lately, something that I can be so mad about one day will be so small to me the next. I’ve been aiming to be the person who chooses love over being right. It’s such a hippie cliche but it’s my newest mantra and I think it's why I didn't wait very long to apologize to my friends.
Silver lining #2: The thoughtfulness my friends displayed with calls or texts throughout the day was amazing. They knew I needed to hear that I was supported. It was an eye-opening experience because I hang out with some pretty hard-core democrats who typically could eat any political foe for dinner. But in my case, for their token Republican friend, they made an exception. Even though we voted differently, these friends are the ones that reached out to me. I got a great big, sincere hug from a friend whom I thought would hate me forever after she found out who I voted for, but her behavior was the total opposite and I was so grateful. All of these friends are busy and they could have done many other things with their time but they saw me spiraling on social media and they showed their compassion. In other words, they dropped what they were doing to tell me that they had my back. Priceless. It was important for me to write thank you cards as thoughtful pinches. It’s the least I could do for the way they made me feel.
Found these Thank You cards at Target. Mara-Mi. Twenty-four cards for $6.99.
I believe there is a market out there for cards that say, “ Thanks for your support when I f’ed up on Facebook” or “Thanks for standing by me even though I made an ass out of myself on Facebook”. Or in Trumps case, “Thanks for your support even though I should never be on Twitter again.” I know I will not be the only person to fall into the social media trap. And I know I’m not the only person with a pen that is mightier than a sword. And I know I’m not the only person who will be supported by those who know what its like to make a mistake but knows more what it’s like to be a friend. Hallmark - are you out there?