Please bare with me, as I clean up a few post-election issues.
So, my employer has an unauthorized FaceBook page - and I've participated in it for years. As many of you know, I work for one of the last big bookstores standing - and I've watched the page evolve from a generic what-are-you-reading forum to a place where employees discuss genuine issues that reflect our changing industry. This particular FB page is notoriously left-leaning, and actually banned all political posts (about four months ago) because those discussions made some unhappy. But on the morning following the 11/8 election, that ban was lifted - and booksellers were allowed to speak their minds.
Throughout 11/9, this forum was commandeered by an avalanche of post-election grief - and employees who understandably hated the results. From the day I joined three years ago, I've watched this group closely...and admittedly used it for multiple reasons, including gauging the book world's "temperature," learning to participate in similar online forums, and teaching myself the art of "social media outreach" to promote both upcoming writing and drawing projects. As a gay Republican, this page has often proved hostile to me, especially when sharing views that aren't always popular with the mainstream. But, I've played along. The forum continues to generate many contacts, FB friends, and LinkedIn requests - all of which have have helped build my online resume, so to speak. Social media is a crucial part of the modern age, and as a 47-year-old Gen-Xer, it's been a challenge to get good at it.
Throughout the day following the election, I watched my employer's forum erupt in angry, demeaning, and insulting posts - all directed at Trump voters, and people like myself. The discussion grew heated, and I was shocked that the room's moderators were allowing it to continue; again, as mentioned, the forum had a strict rule about political topics, including the following pinned post: "I noticed there might be some kind of election happening - here's everyone's obligatory friendly reminder that you're always more than welcome to post all about it on your own timeline." By the time I got home - after following the forum all day, I'd had it. MOD's clearly had no intention of stopping the insults, so I responded with this:
I'm an out/proud gay man...and not only did I vote for Donald Trump, I really LIKE him. The GOP is NOT going to cancel GLBT rights/marriages. The GOP is NOT going to make customers attack cashiers. The GOP is NOT going to hold anyone hostage, and force them to conform to outdated ideas. Seriously...so many claim that Trump is intolerant, but can anyone see their hypocrisy to us who respect conservatism? I get that folks need to vent, but this world is made of all kinds of people. As Obama said, "the sun will rise tomorrow"...and I definitely continued, lived, and thrived in my life when he was re-elected. No, I'm not happy with the recent campaign, but I AM happy with its result. And I know I'm not the only one." (NOTE: This isn't an exact quote, because my comments were removed so fast, I couldn't record my post - or those of others. This was the basic draft that I jotted on my iPad on the way home.)
My response lasted twenty minutes max, and was removed almost immediately - along with every other election-related post in the group. I've had a rapport with one of the room's moderators for years, and when I asked her why, she claimed that she had only just noticed everyone's comments - and had decided to take everything down, to avoid a "flame war." Funny how she - nor any other MOD - had not made that decision in the twelve hours earlier, before I tried to defend myself after a day's worth of attacks. From a previous blog: "It's funny how people who preach intolerance are often the most intolerant of all." Sadly, that sums up this election in a nutshell.
On a personal note, my response - though only allowed to stand briefly - generated a stunning number of new FB friend requests (and several private messages, thanking me for what I'd said). I wonder how many followers I would have added, had I not held my tongue - and joined the discussion, earlier in the day.
I firmly believe in the Star Trek view of Earth's future: no war, no poverty, everyone gets along. But even The Enterprise has photon torpedoes, and humanity's future isn't portrayed as some kumbaya drum-circle. The military is as important as affordable housing/health care, but again, we're not quite there yet. We still have one last round of "fighting" to go, a third world war so to speak, in an effort to get Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, agnostics - everyone - on the same page. It ain't gonna' be easy folks, and there will be more than just hurt feelings from having one's post deleted from a FaceBook forum. But it will happen. Humanity is almost there. And I for one am pleased to be alive, in time to see the beginnings of all of it starting to happen. We need "nationalism" for the moment, but once ISIS stops beheading jihadists (and North Korea & Iran stop threatening with nukes), we must think bigger. It's the only way humanity survives.
Can you just imagine how exciting it will be when everyone looks UP for the very first time?
How petty our election will look when that finally happens.