I Unfriended someone on Facebook last night. It was the first time that I have ever done this. When I pushed the button, I did it with a strange mix of sadness, regret, relief and anger.
This Facebook friend was someone I didn’t know. We both belong to the Facebook Group “Introverts are Awesome” (we are, you know), and we had both made some similar comments on some posts, so, when she sent me a Friend request, I figured, “Why not” and when ahead and clicked OK. This friendship was not to be.
I am an east coast liberal living in Maryland, the bluest of the blue states. She lives in Louisiana and seemed to be a bit conservative, but, for the most part it was an amiable relationship. She did tend to disagree with many things I posted. It was fine at first, the tone remained civil. Then it started to get worse. We disagreed on voting rights, voter ID laws, mandatory vaccinations and whether or not the IRS targeted liberal as well as conservative groups. Sometimes I found her comments irksome, but, for the most part we were able to generally continue to keep it amiable.
It all blew up over the latest flail between over the government shutdown. To me it was obvious that this was all the fault of the Republicans (if you disagree with my position or political comments, please don’t write, that is not what the blog is about). My feeling has been that in a fit of childish pique they are holding the nation hostage over a law they don’t like even though that law was legally passed by Congress, signed by the President and upheld by the Supreme Court. To me, this is threatening and extortion, and has no place in the running of our government. Obviously, she disagreed with me, but she never really told me what she thought about the matter. At one point she made a comment that I was not being constructive and bipartisan. I blew up and out came all my frustration over this whole thing and how, over the years, the Republicans have thrown back in his face any offer the President had made to work together. She disappeared for a while.
The other day I posted a story from the Washington Post about the ripple effect of the government shutdown and its impact on food trucks. I then received a rather nasty comment from her saying something to the effect that, “I thought you said you knew everything about the shutdown.” This seemed strange considering the story, so I simply wrote back, “No, I never said that.” That was followed by another nasty comment along the lines of “You are not interested in any opinions that differ from your own.” Again, this seemed strange and not consistent with the substance of the article, but I didn’t like the tone and felt that it was an unfair characterization and a personal attack. It made me angry, so I responded with:
“I really have no idea what you are talking about. In the DC area we have been expecting this ripple effect. BTW, poll after poll shows that, regardless of how people feel about the ACA, most disagree with shutting down the government over this. Numerous Republicans formerly in Congress or Republican administrations, numerous business leaders and well regarded conservative journalists feel this whole thing is wrongheaded and destructive. That is some more information that I gathered. Just admit it, this whole thing is stupid and bad for the country. If the Republicans don’t like the ACA, let them come up with something else. They’ve had four years and haven’t done squat! What have you offered of substance? About the same as the Republicans causing this mess, nada, just nasty little comments like those above.”
Like I said, I was angry.
Anyway, I thought about it for a few minutes and it occurred to me that this was really just a random person I had bumped into on Facebook. This person was not a friend. I had never met her, and I don’t know anything about her. I don’t know what she looks like, how old she is, her marital status, nothing. Due to vagaries of Facebook, I never saw most of her posts. I went and looked, and well, she should not accuse anyone of being partisan. So, I had enough, I Unfriended her and and I blocked her. She is gone, and I am relieved. There are plenty of people I do know who I can argue with. I guess, in the future, while wandering around Facebook I need to remember what my mother said, and be careful about speaking to strangers.