I long ago gave up engaging in negative discourse over social media. While it was never something that I did with any particular regularity, a few month ago I managed to find myself inordinately caught-up, worked-up and fed-up by an hours-long Facebook thread in which I repeatedly attempted (and, I might add, failed) to dissuade a high school acquaintance (and, not for nothin’, her own private posse of like-minded people) that not only is a person who identifies as transgender not a lower form of life but, as it turns out, neither are her parents who “allow” her to be herself. Not surprisingly, I have a lot of feelings around this subject and I will even cop to the fact that, at the beginning, when I mistakenly thought we were engaging in respectful banter, I enjoyed the energy of the exchange. It was when the vicious personal attacks began that I was outta there.
I recall feeling disgusted not only that there were people that I personally know who were, in addition to being violently misinformed, entirely unwilling to accept the fact that there existed an ideology other than their own. The complete absence of empathy, compassion and kindness was appalling not because they did not see my point of view; rather, they did not respect the fact that the point of view I have is different from their own.
Of late, there is an abundance of fractured friendships, name calling, accusation hurling, highly aggressive support for your person but even more highly aggressive sentiment against theirs. The hostility, and its intensity, comes from both sides resulting not in change necessarily rather an interpersonal breakdown: complete and total disrespect for one another.
This week, there are those who have taken to social media to rally against the millions of women who participated in the marches held all over the world over this weekend. Yeah, I straight up do not understand that. In my mind, the marches were not against their guy…they were for every mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend who fears losing the long held right to decide for themselves what they can and cannot do to their bodies, who they can or cannot marry, how they are able to protect themselves, in every sense of the word, from this increasingly cruel and scary world. How can anyone, with or without a vagina, protest that?! Yet they have.
Today a friend posted a video on Facebook of a woman named Peggy Hubbard who, I have learned, frequently posts videos sharing her feelings and opinions on happenings in the world. With abject disgust and anger in her voice, countenance and presentation, she spent nearly ten minutes dispensing a lecture on how disgraceful the marches were, how women should be ashamed of themselves and, rather inexplicably, had a running diatribe about the abundance of nudity at the marches. (Huh? There was nudity? I normally don’t miss something like that…) She lashed out at Bill Clinton’s ogling of FLOTUS, was deeply offended by the sea of Pussyhats, aggressively refusing to use the “p” word opting, instead, to utter “vagina” as often as possible. She claimed, no, certified is more like it, that the women who marched had set us back 100 years. And it pissed me off.
I briefly considered just scrolling on by, but her outright lack of respect for other women was more than I could take. So I posted this:
XXXXX, nothing personal, but this woman is a disgrace to women everywhere. The women on the march did not set things back 100 years….your boy XXXXX is doing his level best to take care of that on his own. What’s all this talk about nudity? And for a woman to think that XXXXX propensity for grabbing pussies is ok…well, yuk. Bill Clinton “undressed FLOTUS with his eyes”…gimme a break.
I briefly deliberated not posting my knee jerk response, yet I allowed my impulsivity and underlying anger at the way the world seems to be functioning now and hit enter. And then I waited for a flurry of nastiness, retribution and criticism to be hurled my way. A part of me might even have been gunning for some spirited discourse. But the anticipated flood of vitriol never came. In fact, the original poster and his supporters were far more respectful of me than I was of them. I, in fact, had gone after them for having an ideology different from my own…and did so in a not particularly gracious or articulate way.
I have since deleted the comment, acutely aware that my incendiary remarks recast me into exactly the kind of person I have such disdain for. Ouch. I fear, however, that we are all falling prey to a new normal which includes disrespect, unkindness and lack of acceptance. I do not want that in my life…and suspect you don’t want it in yours, either.
Our feelings are never wrong. We are fully entitled to our opinions, fears and concerns. We are not, however, entitled to shame, curse or diminish someone else if their feelings (which are still never wrong) differ from our own. As I see it, either we are all going to work a little harder at respecting one another or all hell is going to break loose.
 I tried to share the Facebook Live link here, but was unable to…however, a Google search brought up tons of videos of her, just not the one I was hoping to share.