Grandma used to say, "Out of your mouth, printed." God knows what she would've thought of Facebook.
The other day a Facebook friend posted President Obama's video message wishing the Jews of America a happy new year. That's very nice. My friend seemed to think this holiday message was unique and emblematic of the President's eminent friendship of all Jews, and was proud to post it.
Usually I don't comment much on Facebook, especially not on political posts. I don't know why I was motivated differently when I saw that one, but I wrote, "Yeah, because he's such a great friend to the Jews..."
To which my so-called friend replied, "Not all Jews feel the same way about Israel, Lynne."
Right. And a little conversation ensued, with one compatriot quoting about "the Occupied Territories," and another proclaiming that she doesn't understand why Jews are in favor of the Iran deal.
I got involved. I got mouthy. I was pissed.
And here's why. For a pretty apolitical, fervently Jewish Midwesterner, I hate extremist politics. On both sides of the aisle.
You know what I'm talking about. There are the bleeding-heart liberals who believe everyone has the right to believe what they want UNLESS their beliefs oppose the right to abortion, to not be religious, or the thought that all white westerners must be the bad guys. They take political correctness too far, advocating more for minority groups than the minority folks themselves.
On the other side are the crazy right-wingers who believe no one has the right to a belief or to enact the law except for God Himself. Those are the ones who prize the unborn child more than the living, breathing pregnant rape victim; who clutch their guns behind their Confederate-flag draped trucks and hide money in the church or in a Caribbean bank.
Yes, I'm being a little extreme in my examples, but that's exactly the point. Politics should be about voting your conscience, not bullying others to side with you. We shouldn't need the validation of group-think to stand up for what we believe is right.
And we shouldn't need everyone to agree or follow suit in order to maintain our beliefs.
I've always been pro-choice but I don't think I could ever have an abortion. I believe it's killing an innocent life, but it's not for me to say what another woman should or shouldn't do.
At the same time, I understand that sounds hypocritical — I don't believe in shooting, stabbing or running someone over with my car, and if I did I'd definitely have to go to jail. I get the people who see ending an unborn life in the same way, even though I disagree.
So what I would say to them is, don't do it. And pray for the souls of others who do. That's all we can do — that's the best we can do. Be a role model for what we think is right.
This social media thing takes politics to a new ugly height. We're forever posing out there for all to see — in our rants, and our whines, and our bikini shots, and the articles we share.
I heard someone say that on social media, we play different characters of ourselves, as if it's our very own reality TV show.
I voted for Mr. Obama. Twice. I hailed him as a relief after what I saw as eight years of bad leadership. Now, I'm disappointed. It turns out, the Obama in my mind had nothing to do with the man himself.
How much did any of us really know about him when he rose to power? How much of our love for this candidate had to do with him being the first African-American President?
(Shhh ... we're not supposed to say things like that. It's not liberal at all.)
It's because of his dealings with Iran, the crazy country that considers us the Great Satan and wants to wipe Israel off the map. Iran's leaders don't even temper their comments in order to play nice and get our dollars. They're blatantly honest, sticking out their tongues at us while we smile like carnival clowns, stupidly walking into their guns pointed straight at us.
That's how I feel. It doesn't mean I'll vote Republican. It doesn't mean anything other than what it means. It means I'm a dissatisfied customer.
On the same day that my friend posted her happy dance about the president's Rosh Hashanah video (by the way, all presidents issue greetings to most ethnic groups on their holidays; it's really nothing special), another friend posted some innocuous comment about how some people "want to say something but don't."
I sighed when I saw that, having no clue what she meant, and not really caring. It wasn't a good friend. Clearly she has a problem with some people not reacting the way she wants them to, so she chose Facebook to call them out in a passive-aggressive manner.
All these people posted things like, "I don't know what's going on, but I'm sending you love." Very nice. Turns out the woman's husband was laid off from his job. Ouch. Definitely a bump in the road.
But we've got to stop lashing out at one another on public forums.
If we want to take part in this public debate culture of social media and post everything for all to see, we have to deal with the consequences. Some posts are going to get love while others are going to be flagged for inciting.
My late grandmother used to say, "Out of your mouth, printed." God knows what she would have thought about social media.