From time to time Facebook changes from a happy pink glow of love and joyfulness to a grey no-man's land of discussion.
During the Prop 8 campaign, the political and social beliefs of long-time friends, acquaintances, and professional connections played out on their Facebook walls twitter pages, and blogs. It wasn't until the heat of Prop 8 did I have to teach myself how to "unfriend" or prevent them from contacting me. I did it to just one person, and in retrospect - I kind of wish I hadn't.
In any case, tonight...I posted a link about another tea-party protest and I used a disparaging catch phrase I'd heard on a conservative radio show to describe the event. Yes - I heard it on a conservative radio show...it was a misstep by the radio personality - as tea-bagging is very different from a tea-party. So, here's what is playing out on my facebook page:
So, there it is.
I can appreciate how Scott is feeling. I've been perceived for decades as the folky-crazy-lefty-tree-hugging-tofu-snorting-government handout-loving liberal.
In high school I was the punch line for many off hand remarks about how my afterschool activities raised the taxes of those who couldn't afford it. The moment after graduation, some one told me that I could go out and save all the trees I wanted.
When I started college I was made fun of because I loved the Indigo Girls and Ani Difranco and that I still liked boys.
It gets better.
When I got to Evergreen, while at first a seemingly haven of the super liberal...I was questioned why I would dare to put a Nader poster on my door. I was asked - why not Clinton? Hasn't he done well?
Apparently it was wrong to question TANF and the attempt to "end welfare as we know it"
Why would a liberal-loving girl go to a well-known conservative institution? Well - the weather was nice, I liked the religious component, and I didn't think there would be anything wrong learning about the conservative argument.
I knew that I would be made fun of being a member of the Green Party (and I still am). Since so many people see the Greens as an illegitimate political force. I expected my fellow students to be the most relentless - which wasn't the case. There were two professors in particular who felt they could take additional liberties to do their best to embarrass me and belittle my political and social beliefs.
There were questions about how I could consider baptism and continue to be pro-choice. Outrageous questions about the limits of government, which seemed irrational. Of course I would take a moment to consider the argument. The whole experience forced me to really question my commitment to both my political and social beliefs.
I think that I have good friends who are politically and socially conservative. IMO, the good conservative is one who came to it on their own. They aren't registered as a republican just because their parents were, but rather they came to the conclusion on their own. I have good friends who are politically and socially liberal. Same thing...People who are confident in their beliefs not because it's how their parents were/are, but believe in their beliefs because they are indeed their beliefs.
Now - just to focus on the government spending protesting...
After September 2001, the left mobilized. This mobilization was to support peace, to avoid war. I fully admit there are people who would be very aggressive in "fighting" for peace and "fighting" to avoid war. I've had friends who have died working for peace. I know people who have died in uniform - all in the effort to seek peace. I worry about it all the time, given my brother is in the Navy.
From all of President Bush's decisions to dig the United States deeper into debt, deeper into a very messy and (IMO illegal) war, I take pride that I essentially was protesting years ago against government spending. I was protesting against government spending on war.
Others are taking pride in protesting against government spending on health care, education, and social services.
Here's my promise to the tea-party folks: Protest at the federal building on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. The "other" anti-spending folks will take Tuesdays and Thursdays. However - let's leave the federal buildings along on Saturday and Sundays so that the feds don't have to schedule extra private security on the weekends.
At the end of the day, I hope that Scott and his wife don't "unfriend" me on Facebook. I like them, they are good people, and we obviously don't agree on a couple of things. And, today - of all days...we can see this as a joyful and prideful example of the American Democracy.
Can I get an Amen? (or what-what if you are so inclined)