Unfollow If You Must

unfriendYesterday, a friend unfollowed me on Twitter because of some political tweets I’d written over the last couple of days. It was no big surprise–from previous comments she’s made, she’s clearly a supporter of PEOTUS and, well, I’m not. And while I do try to limit my political tweets to legitimate criticism and/or actions, I will not refrain from tweeting about politics entirely. Any political tweets I make are based on facts (really, did you know you can look shit up to verify it?) and I’m careful not to engage in personal attacks.

To clarify: calling PEOTUS ugly names are personal attacks. Criticizing his policies are not.

Still, some people don’t want to hear about politics at all, especially if the conversation is critical of their chosen candidate. I don’t fault them for that. While I’ve only unfollowed (or unfriended) a handful of people for their political rants, sometimes it just gets to be too much and I have to permanently disengage. I expect that some chosen to do the same with me.

Incidentally, I make no apologies for unfollowing or unfriending on social media. It’s not a contract written in blood. We owe each other nothing.

In general, I think the person who unfollowed me is nice and she’s been supportive. In turn, I’ve tried to be supportive of her. So it’s sad that the relationship won’t continue but we’re not all that close in the first place and I doubt either of us will miss it much. I certainly won’t silence myself entirely just to appease someone who doesn’t share the same beliefs I do.

People are angry and anxious, and rightfully so. The criticism and ugliness is not going to end any time soon and while I won’t be party to the ugliness, I will speak up when it’s warranted. If that loses me a few friends, then that’s the way it is.

Online acquaintances are one thing, but with the holidays coming up, I really feel for the people who have to sit at the same table with friends and family and pretend that everything’s okay. To forget the viciousness we’ve seen and heard from people we grew up with and love. There’s gonna be some awkwardness around quite a few Thanksgiving tables this week.

I’m fortunate. Though my parents don’t share my political beliefs entirely, they are kind and respectful people who don’t say hurtful things, even when they disagree with me. They certainly don’t spout off online, which is where a lot of this awful stuff propagates. Which isn’t to say they don’t speak up when they feel strongly about something, but they understand politeness matters. They understand that FACTS matter. I’ve learned from them, even if it’s taken awhile for it to sink in.

Holly West

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