A recent post one of my best childhood friends, Ginny, shared on Facebook depressed me beyond belief. The post had photo of a protestor holding a sign, “You are on Stolen Native American and Mexican Land.” Beneath the photo a yellow minion says, “Wrong! All of human history is one group of people conquering another and seizing their land. That’s just how humans did it for thousands of years. White Europeans just happened to be the best at it. Everything you enjoy in your life in modern America you owe to those settlers and pioneers (NOT IMMIGRANTS) who braved a vast, uncharted land and conquered it. We have no reason to feel guilty and We owe you Nothing.” The post was from a site called Fuck Liberals.
I replied: “Wow. I don’t even know how to respond to such a statement. ‘Conquering another and seizing their land. … White Europeans just happen to be the best at it.’ You’re proud of that?”
Ginny replied: “Did anybody say they were proud of that?”
Me: “So you’re not proud of that? Are you embarrassed?”
Ginny: “I have nothing to be embarrassed about. I did not conquer any lands.”
Maria Romero , someone I don’t know, replied: “You tell that crazy misguided liberal Ginny. I stand with you and our country.”
In 1969 Ginny wrote in my seventh grade yearbook, “To a real swell, sweet friend.” I don’t remember what I wrote in hers, but I assume it was something equally nice.
We went our separate ways after high school graduation, but reconnected via Facebook. I was devastated when I learned from Facebook that she had breast cancer. I was elated when I later I learned on Facebook that she had beaten it.
I attended our high school 40th reunion via Skype, and she was one of the classmates I most enjoyed catching up with.
Most of my Facebook posts are of my cartoons. When I post something political, it’s left winged.
Most of Ginny’s Facebook posts are inspirational quotes, photos of her family, and funny videos. When Ginny posts something political, it’s right winged.
Sometimes I wonder if she thoroughly reads or understands what she posts. Last November she shared something that started off: “So if you are voicing your objections about months of Trump, I’m sorry… we can’t hear you because you said NOTHINGLIBERALS (sic): YOU SAID NOTHING….”
It then lists 42 outrages liberals supposedly said nothing about.
There were the usual things conservatives like to talk about: “You said nothing about Benghazi … Hillary’s private emails …” etc.
Some things made me laugh: “You said nothing about Obama’s smoking.” Seriously? That’s really stretching things in an attempt to find fault.
An item that made me believe Ginny didn’t read the list and/or understand the issue said: “You said nothing when, on May 13, 1985, a bomb was dropped on a row house in Philadelphia to uproot the black liberation group known as Move, resulting in a fire that eventually burned down 61 houses, killed 11 people (including five children) and injured dozens.”
Ronald Regan was president in 1985 and the bomb was dropped by the police from a helicopter. If any incident points to blacks being treated unfairly by police, that was it.
Some list items were about tragic events that happened under Obama. For example: Operation Fast and Furious. That was a terrible tragedy and I believe there are no justifiable excuses for the fiasco that left one border agent dead after being shot with a gun that was part of an ATF operation. I am willing to criticize Obama. Obama was also willing to take criticism and admit mistakes.
I have never once heard Trump admit he was wrong about anything. That’s one of the things I find most disturbing about him.
One of the things I find most disturbing about his supporters is that whenever Trump says or does something that most of the public finds outrageous, his supporters, Ginny included, bend themselves into pretzels finding ways to justify his words and actions.
After some more back and forth on the yellow minion post, Ginny posted a link to a White House page, “Executive Order Blocking the Property of Persons involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption,” and said: “Here’s a little research just in case you missed it. Have you studied President Donald J. Trump’s human trafficking and human rights executive order? Do you understand that this is the largest take down of evil in the history of the world?”
I replied: “I could respond with other research about all of the atrocious things that have happened under Trump, but I’m trying to respond to the Facebook post you just posted that said, “Conquering another and seizing their land. … White Europeans just happen to be the best at it.”
Ginny: “I see it all right here. I don’t understand what you’re saying at all. I’d like a list of all the atrocious things that you say have happened under President Trump. And what does he have to do with conquering and seizing lands?
Me: “You’re the one who brought Trump into the discussion.”
The thread was deleted from Ginny’s time line before I had a chance to tell her that one of the most atrocious things that has happened under Trump is that people have no qualms about being openly racist.
Ginny, you may not believe the post with the minion was blatantly racist, but it was. I care about you and wish you and yours nothing but the best, but you have lost my respect. That may not climb to the level of being atrocious, but–to use one of Trump’s favorite words–it’s sad.
A Post Script
I posted on Ginny’s Facebook page a link and said, “I wrote a blog post about us.” I was surprised when a bit later she clicked the “Like” button.
I had been really conflicted about writing this post because Ginny was one of my best friends in high school and I didn’t want to hurt her. This post started as a letter I began on January 20, 2017. Ginny changed her Facebook photo that day to a picture of Trump’s inauguration. I spent much of that day feeling nauseous.
I worked on the letter/post on and off since then: writing it, rewriting it, dragging it to the trash, dragging it out of the trash, wondering why I was bothering writing it, wondering whether Ginny would bother reading it, wondering if anyone would bother reading it, and if anyone read it, would it change anyone’s opinions.
What I really wanted to know was how two decent, intelligent, kind people who grew up together in East Lansing, Michigan could have such dramatically different views of the Trump presidency? One of us must be terribly misinformed and/or terribly wrong.
After Ginny clicked the like button I wondered if she’d actually read the post.
Then she sent me a message: “Hi there, thanks for sharing your blog post. I got as far as the post you’d commented on being deleted, I was shocked, I did not delete it. I went back a couple days and forms the other post [about the Annapolis shooting] we’d talked about, and seriously, I can’t find that ‘meme’ post you blogged about. I tell you from my heart I didn’t delete it. I wonder what else I don’t even know is missing?! I’ve lost 2 Twitter accounts blasting Satanic Pedovore politicians and associates, and the fact that I lost those was obvious. I don’t have a clue about that one post. Nuts.”
Nuts is right. I have no idea how to respond to this except to wish Ginny well.
A Post Post Script: April 7, 2020
After reading this post someone emailed me: “One thing that I found out about was politifact.com and it really provided some interesting insight about fake news. I dug into it a bit more and found this helpful guide https://www.websiteplanet.com/blog/fake-news-and-digital-marketing/ (The guide for fake news about Coronavirus is particularly useful right now, IMO.) I think it would be a timely addition to your page, especially for all of your users affected by COVID-19.