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SALT LAKE CITY — I recently read a letter posted from a Facebook friend that said, and I will cut to the chase while being as accurate to the intent as possible:
“If you vote for (they named the person and the party), please un-friend yourself from me because you are wrong, and I couldn’t be bothered to take the time to delete you myself. Thank you.”
I added the “thank you” part.
Of course his post contained proper punctuation — always impressive — and well-written phrases like: “Voting for (your candidate) puts a nail into coffin of national civil rights, and you are not my true friend if you think I deserve less than equal treatment.”
"If you vote for (they named the person and the party), please un-friend yourself from me because you are wrong, and I couldn't be bothered to take the time to delete you myself. Thank you."
I mean to neither make fun, nor have fun with the post. It was heartfelt, and, interestingly enough — for a closet conservative — I agreed with the bulk of it.
I try to be a civil rights kind of guy.
If it wasn’t for my wife, and her suggested/imposed practice for me to wait 24 hours, I may have deleted myself from his page, deleting myself from all those who have graciously accepted my friendship requests, and then grounded myself to my room for a good cry.
My boat tends to run on sentiment.
But I did wait the mandated time because I know that waiting a day helps me differentiate between the mountains and the mole hills of the passionate type — the emotional exaggeration that often motivates me.
Calmed down, these were my thoughts:
First, this man is unfriending me (encouraging me to unfriend myself) because he assumes that I don’t think like he does on the issue of civil rights? The most conservative venue I have ever experienced, the Missionary Training Center for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, contained more diversity than in the framework of this Facebook post.
Second, most of the common sense beliefs I cherish I can attribute to a friend or friends who didn’t think like I did. I can’t imagine being so well versed that I would contemplate eliminating from my life anything as “superfluous” as other points of view.
I am just barely smart enough to know I need to hang around the smart people.
In the third place, he wants me to take care of said deletion? Fire yourself, do the paperwork and shut the door on your way out? Not only does he not want to be my friend, he doesn’t want to touch the keys that might lead him to acknowledge what he thinks is my POV.
I have better things to do, like scrape the plaque off my teeth, than feed into what appears to be a victim/bully complex.
I realize that elections — some more than others — take a lot out of us. With so much at stake, it slips our collective minds that we survived Carter, Clinton and the Bushes.
We will survive Obama, and the next president as well — as long as we remember that this is government for and by the people, and act accordingly instead of voting with fury every four years and then going into hibernation.
The “Dad” moment (There is always a “Dad” moment)
For a different perspective, I let two of my children read the Facebook post to see what they thought. This is one of the things I do to try to keep perspective.
My daughter read it slowly and said, “Well, he has no real need for Facebook if he eliminates all but the friends that think like him. What is he going to talk about, cats?” She has been getting a lot of cute cat photos from her FB friends.
My son looked up after reading and said without any guile, “Dad, do you want me to delete you for him?
“But Dad is for civil rights,” my daughter answered for me.
“I know, but this guy is rude,” my son said.
Passionate, I thought. Emotional, maybe. Okay, a little rude.
Rather than delete either one of us, I would like to say to my friend on Facebook who is voting for (candidate here), that I have political convictions just as you do. I may feel just as strongly about my candidate.
It seems unfair that you would interpret for me what you think are my thoughts, feelings and political leanings, blast me for them, and then ask me to clean up the mess.
Frankly, your post sounds like it was written by the stereotypical, staunch, conservative busybody from the 1950s — the kind we all used to despise. And somewhere along the way, you have picked up her tactics.
Here is a way to get my positive attention, on Facebook, if that is the forum you choose to advance your political leanings.
- Tell me that such and such is an issue that is important to you.
- Tell me why it is important, how it may affect your life and the lives of those you love.
- Tell me which candidate believes the way you feel, or supports your cause and ask for my support.
A little respect and a little less "church lady," even on Facebook, will go a long way.
May God bless our country now and after the election, and lead the man who leads the country — whoever he is.
Davison Cheney writes "The Prodigal Dad" series every week on ksl.com. See his other musings at davisoncheneymegadad.blogspot.com.*