In spite of my best intentions I do still get into occationsal disagreements with folks online. I konw it’s stupid to even try 99% of the time, but sometimes, like a good share of us, I see something so ridiculous that I just can’t let it go by. Today (yesterday to you readers) has been one of those days. However, this isn’t a cautionary tale. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.
I took on 3 memes today. These were all posted by people I know well enough that I feel I can speak freely with them. I also want to make it clear that I approached all three friends in a friendly, calm manner and NOT in an attacking, hateful manner. That is unacceptable regardless of the situation.
The first was a tired old meme about Pepsi being Unamerican for something they supposedly printed on a new can coming out this summer. This one meme is one in a long line of fakeries that some Pepsi hater created in the early 2000s. Like all the rest, it’s been around over 15 years and was never true to start with. I posted a link explaining this. I was told she has seen this can with her own eyes so I had to be wrong. This is clearly impossible, never mind that if such a can ever did exist it would have been close to 2 decades since it would have been retired and not a “new” can by any stretch of the imagination. But she insisted otherwise. So I sadly moved on.
The second was stating that the NAACP wants to remove some statue of some Confederate soldiers. Which one doesn’t matter- there are a thousand variations of this meme out there too. I am all for taking them all down and stated as much. It’s well documented that most of the men they honor explicitly state they did NOT want statues of themselves put up. It’s also well documented that the statues were not put up immediately after the war, but in batches decades later and always right after a major victory for black civil rights. I will also add that losers of wars don’t get to put up statues. If you think I’m wrong, ask yourself how you would feel if the Japanese wanted to erect a statue to commemorate their losses at Pearl Harbor. In this case, the person who posted the meme has not replied to my, or anyone else’s, comments. So, I call this a neutral experience.
The last one was a nameless black woman stating she was leaving the Democratic party for calling for, among other things, the sexual assault and/ or execution of Donald Trumps’s son Barron. This was certainly the most creative one and also clearly the most offensive. And while the first reply to my pointing out the absurdity of the entire thing didn’t go over well, the subsequent discussion was civil, and we ended agreeing on several key points. I think more highly of this person now and I believe he feels the same about me.
The moral of this story? It’s possible – in fact it’s necessary – to talk to people you care about even when you disagree on something. It’s possible- in fact it’s necessary- to be open to listening to folks you disagree with when they approach you in a calm, civil manner. The division in this country has never been worse, and this is best, and quite possibly the only way to fix it.