A Facebook friend from my childhood posted what she thought was an innocuous yet extemely deragatory comment about Michelle Obama’s current Vogue cover. It incited a dialogue that was both bitter, and frightening at the same time. Those that agreed added their two cents in the same defamatory way, and those that disagreed practically ripped her head off. As I read the comments, the small voice in my head kept repeating,” don’t engage, don’t engage.” Yet, regardless of your political bent, she made a comment that was demeaning, rude and wrong on so many levels…about another woman who didn’t do anything to invite this vitriol.
I silently followed the thread throughout the evening, and picked it up again early in the morning. A few people commented to say goodbye, as they unfollowed her forever. A few encourged her. The only thing that was consistent was the hatred. This was not about reasoning, or objecting; this was two factions that were so fed up with one another, that they said exactly what they thought, without sugar coating a thing. I finally caved and simply stated my mantra that Michelle herself instilled in me a few months ago: “When they go low, we go high.”
Minutes later, the post was deleted.
I think of myself as open minded and reasonable. I am liberal, and believe in the rights of all people, regardless of race, color, religion or sexual orientation. I believe in being a good person, and doing the right thing wherever possible. I want to accept that others have opinions different from my own. Yet, all of this hate is getting to me. It’s giving me a stomach ache that won’t go away. It’s causing feelings to well up inside me that are full of fear, and frustration. And finally, as each racist, homophobic, xenophobic and misogynistic cabinet appointment is revealed, those feelings inside me are starting to resemble hatred. And that frightens me even more.
Yes, I do hate that we have just set ourselves up to be a white supremacist society that has no filter in how we deal with others. Even our new first lady to be, who has decided to stay in New York, seems to want no part of this sh*t show. Yes, I do hate that you supported this behavior and are doing nothing to stop it, as it spirals out of control before your guy even takes office. Yes, I do hate that suddenly you are smug and spewing rude comments as if it’s ok because our future president does it too. It’s not ok.
I am sorry Michelle. I don’t know how much longer I can continue to go high, when so many around me on both sides are going so very, very low.
Each day, I take a deep breath, and try to remind myself of the good things in life, and to live in the moment, because as the Jews in Nazi Germany can attest to, it can change for the worst in heartbeat. And all indications are that we could easily be headed in that direction.
I believe in free speech, but not in hateful, hurtful speech. Please take a minute to think, before you speak or post a comment that might inspire hateful rhetoric, and demand it from others. If we all did that, it would be the first step in coming together to keep America great.
Photo: Glasshouse Images
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