Thursday, January 13, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
It’s said that if you have even one good friend in your life, you’re blessed. I’m blessed many times. At every stage of my life, I’ve met people who’ve become dear friends. All kinds of people, and maybe some of them don’t always butter their bread on the same side I do. Or even use butter for that matter. Most of them use too much butter actually, but I digress.
I want to tell you about one of these dear friends now. We’re gonna call him Bumpy Time. Last week he sent me a video of his fearless high-energy toddler son flying down a monster snow hill that would make grown men whimper. Not only was he not scared, he just hung on tight and laughed, yelling “Bumpy time!”
So, Bumpy Time and me. We go way back. Back to a time in my life when I was fairly loco. Maybe that’s why we bonded in the first place. Our connection was pretty instant, we laughed at the same things, and it went from there.
It went from there to Bumpy Time being the first person to ring my doorbell to hug me on the day my dad died. The. First. Person. This will never go unforgotten. He kept this practice intact on the day my mom died as well, in spite of the fact that he had to turn around and drive back to town from god knows what work-related mission he was on.
I could regale you in several blog posts about our relationship. Suffice it to say, I’ve felt for quite some time that Bumpy Time is one of the most loyal friends I’ll ever have.
We don’t live near each other any more, so Facebook is the perfect platform for two silly, sarcastic, cynical friends such as us to stay in touch and make each other laugh in the process.
Yesterday, however, we went through a surprisingly humorless exchange right there on my wall. The way it ended makes me appreciate our friendship even more, and makes me wish this kind of discourse could take place on a broader stage.
When I heard about Congresswoman Giffords being shot yesterday in Arizona, the very first thing I thought of were those crosshair targets on a map that Sarah Palin had so smugly put out there, telling her followers to “reload.”
I went to her website, and sure enough, Gabby Giffords was one of the targets. It was sickening. My knee-jerk reaction was to post a link citing this fact on my Facebook page.
Some of my friends added comments agreeing that it was disgusting, as is Palin.
I went out for dinner. When I returned, I found that Bumpy Time had chimed in, calling my friends and me Tree Huggers and telling us we were being ridiculous to blame Palin for something that had happened miles away.
Since I was still so sad, puzzled, disgusted, scared, angry, and shocked by the whole event, I began to argue with him on my page about how I wasn’t blaming her, I was blaming her words. Blah blah blah blah blah, ad nauseum.
Then I decided to delete the whole exchange.
I’m well past needing to have public drama/dialogue on my Facebook page. That’s just not me. Any taste I may have had for any kind of public drama was well sated by spending 20 years as a classroom teacher. I don’t mean the kids, I mean their parents.
After I adiosed the argument from the Facebook page, I sent Bumpy Time an email which pretty much repeated my views. And I said perhaps we shouldn't discuss this topic, we don’t see eye to eye. I also took the liberty of telling him he sounded dumb when he called me a tree hugger.
He replied something like this. Well, exactly like this.
I don't give a fuck if I sound dumb. Blaming someone for a murder 2400 miles a way is dumb. She didn't hate that 9-year-old girl. Guns don't kill people Kitty. People kill people. Her words had nothing to do with this murder.
I don't like hate either, but hate has nothing to do with Palin and a fucking map.
You hated her in your words and your friends’ words on your page... Don't be a hypocrite.
We do see eye to eye on things. Again, I don't like Palin, but I am not going to blame her for something like this.
What made me mad wasn't the fact you guys were sick about what happened, just "hating" someone that you blame. That's what was "dumb."
I call all liberals Huggers and all Right wing wackos, Oilers You got to remember, I am about as Independent as a person can be.
OH, really, thought I. I still wasn’t quite ready to hear him. I still wanted him to listen to me. Even though, as you can see, he was.
I said in response:
Ok, now I'm laughing.
But I'm not blaming her; I'm NOT blaming her words.
I posted that right when it happened.
Then I went out for dinner.
And right when it happened the first thing I thought of was her page. And I went to her page and that target/reload bullshit was there and it made me sick.
So I reacted to that.
But I shouldn't put that kind of shit on my page, it's never good.
I get the thing about people killing people not guns killing people. No need for the BOLD font, mister.
I'm just so sick of it all, and it's so scary.
And a moron like Palin saying that kind of crap and thinking it's cute is just not ok with me.
She may not hold an office but she has a pulpit and people listen to her and support her.
I LIKE BOLD FONT
Yeah. Then we exchanged opinions about what buffoons the media blowhards for both liberals and right-wingers are. And a few other remarks that were funny as heck. But there was nothing more to argue about, that I knew.
I came away from this knowing that we all need to listen to each other. We need to stop blaming, hating and calling each other names. We need to look in the mirror and see who’s there.
What are you doing, YOU, today to stop spreading the gospel of hate and ignorance?
It’s scary out there and it needs to change. And it starts with you. And me.
So today I put this on my Facebook page, while I’m busy thinking about what else I can do.
People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being,
and not enough energy putting themselves on the line,
growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives.
J. Michael Straczynski