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Why I Put Myself in Timeout

I’m been lying low on all things social media (and all things social for that matter) for about a week now.

Things were getting a little too heated and ugly for me. I needed to take a break. My “ness” and I crawled back into our protective little shell.

It all started last Tuesday, with the announcement of the winner of the Presidential election. When I heard the news, I was elated. After celebrating with friends at home, I was feeling great. Then, I made the mistake of checking Facebook to connect with friends and family. That’s when things went downhill – fast.

It wasn’t the “I’m disappointed” or “feeling sad” comments. I totally get that. I was aware that just under half of the population of our country was disappointed. They did not share my enthusiasm.

It wasn’t that, but rather the cries of “the idiot vote won”, “were all f*cked”; along with the name calling – “Muslim”, “Socialist”, and “The Anti-Christ”. All of these posts from people I actually know – like in real life.

I don’t know why I couldn’t ignore it. I don’t know why I let it bother me. I don’t know why I didn’t just put down the iPhone and move on. Instead, some combination of stress, too much celebratory champagne, and a raging case of PMS, led me to respond to a few people. I regret that.

The thing I regret the most is that I let them steal my joy. Which is not their fault. Nope. That’s all mine.

The next day I woke up feeling sad and depressed and embarrassed by my outburst. I tried a couple of times to get back on Facebook to apologize, and even wrote what I thought was an inspirational blog post. But, it didn’t make me feel any better.

I realized that what I really needed was to put myself in a timeout…to take a break from all things social media, until cooler heads (mostly mine) prevail.

I’m not sure why I take it all to heart so much. It’s not that I expect everyone to agree. I don’t even think that we should. I certainly don’t expect people to see things the exact same way I do. As a self described “tree-hugger” living in South OC, I’m used to being in the minority most of the time.

I think it’s that I just so desperately want people to be reasonable, and rational, and deal in facts and numbers and math.

I also want people to not be hateful. And every once in a while, approach problems with an open mind. And if they are going to use words like “Muslim”, “socialist”, and “anti-Christ”, have some idea what those words actually mean.

Maybe it’s too much to ask. I don’t really know right now…

Hey, I was no fan of George W. Bush, but he was our President. When he was re-elected, I didn’t think the world was ending, or that it wasn’t fair, or that people who voted for him were all morons. I just realized I was not part of the majority vote, hoped for the best in the next four years, and vowed to make a difference locally with the issues that were important to me.

While I didn’t like Bush’s policies, I didn’t hate him as a person. I tried to make light of the situation. Here is a picture I took one time in the Houston airport. I was staring down a statue of Bush Sr. I captioned it “making peace with the man who brought us GW”.

I still hold out hope that instead of fueling more hatred and division, this election will cause us to pull together to work on the things we agree on. Every time I see a clip from Fox News or an interview with John McCain, that hope dies a little bit inside, but there is still an ember burning there.

In my mind, the short list of things we agree on goes something like this – healthy, educated children; stable jobs and some security in retirement; clean air and water; and a democracy that really does work by and for the people.

The good news is that polls suggest that the vast majority of American people do want this. In the real world (not the extremes we see on TV), most people lean more toward the middle.

If we agree that we want a government that works for the people (rather than special interests and companies that spend the most money on lobbyists), there must be compromise – on both sides. If everyone digs their heels in and doesn’t budge, nothing will get done. Which, I can’t imagine is good for anyone – except maybe the cable news networks pumping their audiences full of propaganda and carefully manipulated numbers (which does not equate to facts and math by the way).

I also don’t take myself so seriously that I believe anyone cares about my political opinions. But it’s my blog so I figured, I can write a post just for me – and I feel a little bit better now.

Maybe even better enough to dip my toe back into the Facebook waters again. With a little more trepidation and a little bit thicker skin this time.

Keeping my fingers crossed. Wish me luck…

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