From silence, just watching, I can learn much. A few things I have noticed follow.
To the extent that you let one particular person become the context for your perspective on all other things and all other people, that person has become your god.
I have been blocked on FB by one or two brothers or sisters in the faith. For what? For not being sufficiently anti-Trump. Someone who swallows whole the media caricature of Trump as the abusive autocrat, and who admits she identifies Trump with her abusive ex, is dumbfounded that anyone could support anything he does. Note: I am not a Celebrity Trump fan, nor a Populist Hero Trump fan, though I have enjoyed his political fearlessness and his savage humor. My support is for policies and I avoid commenting on the personalities of any politicians. I do not promote the man, but say so when I support the job done.
For that I am blocked. Erased out of social media existence.
Many of my friends have allowed Trump to be the alpha and the omega of all judgements. All arguments begin with: because Trump is detestable…, and all arguments end with: because Trump is hateful. That is the definition of making Trump the center of your universe, your all in all, your moral standard. He’s your god.
It must stink to be a committed, Christian church member who is also a committed Democrat when the subject of abortion comes up. You can never be an activist on the side of life. For all your good works, you can never, ever post pro-life thoughts on social media, and you must scroll past when your pro-life friends do. You can never speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. That would betray your political loyalties.
When I post thoughts on FB in support of simple free speech, non-partisanly noting my concerns about the censoring of one brand of political thought, none of my Democrat friends like those posts. One or two actually argue and justify censorship. These are people my age, who grew up hearing that only totalitarian regimes censor free speech. That I disagree with what you have to say but I will defend with my life your right to say it.
How easily people are persuaded to give away their rights. Or, as they see it, yours.
No matter what, there is one lesson to be learned. People are more comfortable with me, like me, approve of me…if I keep my thoughts to myself. Almost all of us could say this. Even, or especially, people who love us, do not like hearing our opinions. In fact, they do not seem to have any hesitation to shut us down.
The well-considered thoughts of this woman make my unequivocally feminist friends uncomfortable. My friends who were fans of #RESIST will not engage, like or acknowledge MY resistance. I have been told to shut up and I have been erased (blocked.) They would rather I be quiet, and not think what I think.
It’s hard to turn on a dime from 4 years of hate, contempt and high levels of outrage to peace, love and unity. As you see.
My “friends” have allowed FB friends to insult me personally, liked their comments, and sat silent while they ridiculed me.
While eagerly posting the daily rant of hate-monger “historian” Heather Cox Olberman who takes particular care, not only to criticize political actors, who are fair game, but to condemn our neighbors and friends who are on the right. Hate us, fear us.
Without saying a word, we can train ourselves to hate the other, the ones who have a different perspective. Our God, our culture, and our families taught us that the greatest virtues were love, tolerance and patience for the different-thinkers, and that friendly persuasion was the way we would change minds. Somehow maybe a third of our fellow Americans have been persuaded that constant hatred of the Other is more virtuous.