Opinion

With Drawl

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Note: Here’s a little something that I will be sharing on a certain social media site. It doesn’t really apply to my experience here on WordPress, but it does apply to a lot of social media and I think some of you might appreciate the words…

Howdy, folks.

This here piece is somethin’ I been wantin’ to write for quite a spell, but I kept puttin’ it off cuz even the best of us don’t want to slam no doors if we don’t have to. It’s just not neighborly, and I always believed you should say hey to your neighbor even if you don’t really care for them. That’s just what you do, if you’re of a right mind.

But here’s the thing: Another part of that right mind is understandin’ that there comes a point when you can’t pretend no more. The neighborly wave feels downright awful when you know you’re wavin’ at somebody that don’t care two cents about your own happiness. All they want to do is ride roughshod over your own beliefs and slap you in the face if you question that roughshod.

That’s not a way to live. That’s not a way to show respect, on either side. The goodness of people comes from our ability to accept one another for what we are, or hope to be, not from lashing out at things we don’t understand. Why some people don’t get this, I don’t get myself.

I used to be on the Facebook all the time, every day. I’d click on this and like on that and do what I could to make everybody feel special, because we should. None of us are any less important than the other, even if some of us say stupid things from time to time. If I really didn’t appreciate somethin’ somebody said, I’d just let it roll by. That’s not me and I’m not a part of that. Ignore and go on.

But I really can’t do that anymore. I did try, for a long time, to turn the other cheek. But something important, something fundamental, has changed with some of the folks in this country. Wait, scratch that. Those folks didn’t really change. They always were what they are, dark and bitter, but they somehow knew to be kinda quiet about it, murmurin’ in the night instead of hollerin’ in the daylight. Now? They holler like a stuck pig every chance they get.

I suppose there’s a coupla things behind this. One is this Internet thing. There was a time when the only people your trash talk could affect was the people you could meet in person, be it at the barn dance or the VFW or the gun range or wherever the hell it was that you could find like-minded folk. You could stoke the fire and plot your revenge against the people who done you wrong, which means anybody who is different from you, but most of that mess would fizzle away just as soon as the tap ran out on the beer keg and folks had to get home so they could go to church in the morning.

Gotta say this: Don’t mean to tarnish the religious. I got spiritual beliefs of my own, bits and pieces that I draw from all faiths, puttin’ em together in a way that makes sense to me, helps me figure out what is right and what is wrong. But it’s fair to say that some churches, or better yet, some congregations, have taken it upon themselves to be the judge and jury, and there’s something straight-out wrong with that. Salvation is personal, between you and your own light, not something to be decided by people with too much time on their hands.

Anyway, this Internet thing was invented, and people who didn’t know each other from a hole in the ground can now spur each other on with lies and hatred. Most of it ain’t true, but when messed-up people find other messed-up people, they egg each other on with those lies and that hate.

The other thing that stirs up the poison is a political party in this country that has decided the only way they can win is turnin’ people against each other. Some folks call it a cultural divide, I call it a people divide, a fundamental disrespect for things you don’t know. This whole mess started with Reagan, a shady man who was and is considered a messiah by some of the people in the party that I’m not naming but we all know who I’m talkin’ about. This man proclaimed that greed is good, that rich people are better than poor people, that the union workers who built this country have no rights, and that people with AIDS should die because it would help his party win more elections.

There is no honor in that. None. Justify it all you want, but the man had no shame, and he and his minions did their best to allow corporations to run roughshod over the common folk, encouraged Wall Street to forget about humanity, and he had a part in the dismantling of libel and slander laws, a gutting of checks and balances that now allows politicians and conservative talk show hosts to say whatever they want without any regard for truth or responsibility.

All of which has led to our current trickle-down situation (as opposed to the Trickle-Down Theory of Economics which Reagan used to mislead the country) wherein certain political and social “leaders” are spewing outlandish lies that have nothing to do with reality. In my opinion, if you say it, you should have to prove it, and if you can’t, then you should shut the hell up. Better yet, you should go to jail. Sounds harsh, I suppose, but if you throw a fake brick, you own that brick, and you own the damage it makes when it lands. What the hell has happened in this country that people are no longer held responsible for their own actions?

That’s what gets me, right there. The lack of ownership. You don’t have to like people, much less love ‘em. That’s your right. But what’s not your right? Hurtin’ other innocent people with your willful, ignorant actions. This is somethin’ I can’t get my head around, this delusional, violent hatred. And the complete lack of guilt on the part of the people doin’ the hatin’ and the lyin’, spewin’ terrible stuff that they can never prove because it ain’t true and, most important, they know it’s not true and they say it anyway.

And I don’t wanna hear any mess about that’s just how the haters was raised, they don’t know any different cuz they come from a long line of people with blackness in their hearts. There’s no excuse anymore. If you have one lick of gumption, five minutes in the day, you can find out the truth about damn near anything. We’re in a digital world now, and the information is out there, the real information, and you can see what’s really going on. ‘Course, you ain’t gonna see it if you always run to one of those cesspool sites full of crap, like Breitbart News or Fox News, neither of which has earned the right to be called a “news” organization.

Yes, I know some of you might point a finger and say “how come you get to hate on news shows just because you don’t like what they say while at the same time sayin’ we shouldn’t hate on anybody”? Well, here’s this: Breitbart and Fox and Beck and Limbaugh and Coulter and whoever the hell is this year’s Sarah Palin know that they are all up in the fertilizer but they don’t care, because they also know that their fertilizer smells just like what the haters want to smell. So they keep shovelin’. This is what the digital age has become. People who should never have had a voice can have one if they’ve got an internet connection and a keyboard.

Which brings me back around to where I really wanted to go with my ramblin’. I used to be a big fan of the Facebook. It was a hoot findin’ people I ain’t seen in a while, catchin’ up and seein’ what they been up to. But the more time I spent on Facebook, the more I could see that there was a hell of a lot people who been up to things that I can’t stomach. My feed on Facebook was always a bit gnarly, peppered with things I didn’t want to see, the hate and lies I been talkin’ about. Like I said, I ignored it for a long time. But the nastiness is increasing, and it started doin’ so about the time a certain misogynist started risin’ in the presidential polls. He’s not the only source of the problem, of course, but he’s embraced the hate, made love to it, and sounded a trumpet call to gather his flock so they can go forth and hate some more.

My daily Facebook feed is filled with racism, xenophobia, utter ignorance, unfounded calls to arms and a complete lack of respect for humanity. Yeah, I’ve been blocking some of the most offensive people, but it saddens me to be doing such, especially when it’s people that were once friends or even family members. My soul can only take so much and I just don’t care for it anymore.

Which is why I will no longer be on Facebook. Yep, I’m gonna miss a lot of good people who would never in a million years be somethin’ that I wouldn’t respect. I want to stay close to the good people. I just can’t do it anymore on a platform that not only tolerates hatred but defends it as well. (I’ve personally reported horrible public pages, full of lynchin’ cartoons and hollerin’ about killin’ the President. Every time, I get a response from Facebook that they didn’t find nothin’ wrong with the page. Check the page again, still the lynchin’ and killin’. How can you look at that and not think it’s wrong? Unless you got at least a little bit of that page in yourself.)

I’m gonna spend my time now on other sites, where I don’t see that mess. I’m sure it’s there, cuz there are crazies everywhere these days, but at least I don’t see it like I do on Facebook, and that’s what I need right now, the not seein’. Some folks might think I’m bein’ a titty baby about all this, and that’s fine, they can think what they want, free country. But I’m old enough to understand that when somethin’ gets ya agitated, you should stop doin’ it.

I’ll leave my personal page up cuz for some folks that’s the only way they know to find me, in case somethin’ comes up I need to know about. And I’ll keep workin’ on my author page, partly cuz that affects my writing career but mostly cuz I can control the feed instead of reactin’ to it. You can join me over there if you want, but somethin’ tells me that the people who truly want to hear from me are already over there.

Just thought I should let you know the why-fors and the whatnots. I owe at least that to the many decent people I met over the years. Those good folks may not be happy to read this, but they know in their hearts what’s in mine and why I need to do this.

Cheers.

 

42 replies »

  1. Bravo! Bravo! The new Mark Twain! Thank you for this.
    I cannot stand fb. I have people I see there who I love to interact with, but mostly it is the most inane, vacuous, thing. I mean it is not all that interesting that you woke this morning with a stomach ache, or that your sitting in an airport, or that is is the 30th photo your posting of yourself this month which is not even half way done.
    It scares me that people are this inane.
    I just read Zuckerberg talking about how he loves to hunt and how fb will create world wide understanding. It’s like a miss universe pageant contender speech, without the clarifying presence of Donald Dump.
    No wonder fb has this clueless quality.
    I don’t interact with the trumpites you apparently are subjected too on fb. If I did, I would be free, free of fb, at last!
    You go Brian!

    Liked by 3 people

    • This, right here, is exactly the response that I was hoping to get. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just me not having a real clue about what’s going on in the world, hoping for an ideal that is not achievable, but then I calm down and remind myself that, yes, there is a more important purpose in life. We don’t have to be this way, and we should speak out against those who take us to a place of bitterness. We are better than this. (Well, most of us.) Thank you so much for your comment, Cindy. And I fully plan to keep going… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m so sorry you decided to give up on everyone. I think the only way to get people to notice the nonsense they’re on about is to hammer it back into their heads. On the plus side, you have someone there with you, which should make your burden light. I like to think of social media as the substitute for love. (As a lighthearted aside, Siri is not having my drawl today so I’m making do with tapping my comment.) Do you have a pleasant weekend, with or without drawl.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, I haven’t given up on everyone. But I am learning to stop tolerating people who are not worth my time. I used to fight back on Facebook, but it became increasingly clear that I was beating my head against a brick wall. That doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying, but now I’m choosing the arena. I think you are quite right with the line about “social media as the substitute for love”, but I might adjust that a bit to “substitute for attention”, which is somewhat the same but also different. Many of the “haters” on social media just want people to pay attention to them, which is sad in one respect, but it still doesn’t justify what they are doing. Now, as for Siri, she can be quite petulant at times. I’m thinking that the Human Resources department needs to sit down and have a discussion with her… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • I was slow as well. I kept hoping, but I also found myself avoiding the platform more and more. When I signed in the other day and had to scroll through several pages of my feed before I could find a single positive post, I was pretty much done at that point…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have left fb in hubby’s hands so I could watch from the sidelines at how irritated he could become. It amazes me that he keeps returning…I really enjoyed reading this piece, very clever title and love the line ” Salvation is personal, between you and your own light”. Very nice.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I left FB over a year ago and have thought about going back, but on second thought have decided not to. For the reasons you have explained here Brian, I am unable to go back. There are many more important life matters than FB. Great post my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh Brian, it is sad that we feel we need to cut ourselves off from friends because of prejudice, bitterness, and lies promoted by one sick man who will do anything to win. I just don’t browse facebook so I guess i’m missing most of the dialogue that is spewed there. I post my blog there, but that is all I do. Thanks for your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I guess fb is only fitting for school kids to have a bit of fun…..after that, it doesn’t contribute or help to grow in anyway. Rather might just create problems. WordPress is a good place with many like minded people who help each other grow……but unfortunately most other social sites are filled mostly with shallow people who can’t mind their own business and with a very narrow mindset.
    I think its better to not give any importance to them and continue doing whatever you believe in and that makes you happy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am happy to say I don’t seem to have the problems on FB that you have had. However, I have a very, very, very small number of friends (including family) and a private page. One or two post things I don’t like the flavour of, but being such a small feed I just skip over it.
    I know how just that little bit of nasty makes me feel, so imagine what a whole lot of it must be like. You are right, better to keep your own world flavoursome, your energy positive and your happiness as level as it can be in this crazy world. We don’t have to live in the sewer, we can choose to elevate ourselves to the verdant shores of sweet flowers and grass, or the sea-breeze of the coast. (wow, very flowery there). Don’t let the bastards drag you down!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’ve been on a slow withdrawal from FB, as I noticed I typically felt worse after being on it. Although nothing I saw came close to what you describe. I certainly don’t blame you for leaving.
    Claudette’s right, we can choose the verdant shores as our dwelling place. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s the “feeling worse” that forced me to accept that a change was necessary. I’ve babbled about my FB issues in past posts, and it was time to stop babbling and start doing. (Or not doing, if we want to get technical.) I want the verdant shores. I just need to find the cheapest shore that will fit my retirement budget… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 I left FB 3 years ago, but tentatively put my toe back in the water earlier this year to set up a blog page, all the while ready with towel and trainers to run like mad at the slightest provocation, but so far all is well. I never give in to temptations to look at private pages despite constant emails from FB to suggest ‘Friends’. It’s sad that we have to take these drastic measures to avoid such hate and negativity and prevent our psyches being corrupted any further.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the thing that really gets me, the actions we have to take to avoid the negativity. We shouldn’t have to take those steps. Why is it so hard for people to be decent and kind? I realize I’m being idealistic, but it’s so much easier to embrace rather than reject…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Well-said…very well-said! You stated the exact reasons why I do not, and never will have, a Facebook account. The mindlessness that I have to put up with in my loved MMORPG, and some of the nonsense I see on WP, is bad enough. At least I can limit unwarranted things on those platforms – FB seems to be nothing more than unregulated ‘zone chat,’ to me.

    I plan on re-blogging this tomorrow, if that’s all right!
    😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • FB really is unregulated and seems to be biased in favor of stoking issues rather than quelling them. I’m hoping to be strong and just stay away, but it will be difficult not hearing from the decent people. But yes, please re-blog. I completely trust you with anything you might want to do with my musings… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I surround myself with positive folk on Facebook. It is my oasis of light — not too mushy, for example, they have to accept I’d wear a “Full Metal Jacket” tee shirt ( because, Kubrick), or that I love donkeys (the real ones, not the Jack-asses on t.v.), and they need to love food and music and art and know that I’m a believer too. It’s all in the blocking and unfollowing, that’s the ticket!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The mess I have in Facebook is the result of me being too generous in the early years, when I was happy to accept friend requests from just about anyone, especially acquaintances and certain family members from my Oklahoma days, which has proven to be the core contingent of “instigators”. I have been doing some culling, but I still have over 2,000 contacts and I frankly just don’t have the time and strength to deal with it considering my current writing projects. I think I’ll just let it be what it is for now, and then I’ll take a fresh look in a few months. By the way, speaking of writing projects, do you do NaNoWriMo?

      Liked by 1 person

    • I must confess that I have ventured back into Facebook lately, and it’s been a bit more satisfying, since I am immediately deleting the crazies and the conspiracy theorists when they make an insipid comment, even if they happen to be family members or previously-close friends. It’s been nice whittling it down to the sane folks…

      Liked by 1 person

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