One the same day that we signed the sale documents for our home, our country's electorate voted to make Donald Trump our next president. Suddenly, my brain was in a tail spin, fearing for the safety of the children I serve - many of them immigrants and refugees - and their families. At the same time, my Facebook feed erupted with links and proposals and condemnations and an avalanche of cruelty and intolerance.
It's clearer now more than ever that Facebook isn't really the space for meaningful public discourse, nor is it the place to be in true relationship to friends and family. My work for racial justice, gender equity and equal access to education for ALL children is not done on social media, but rather through interpersonal transactions that happen in real time. Sure, it's a great way to share what I'm up to and invite folks to join me in my efforts - but it isn't where the rubber meets the road.
So, I decided to leave my personal Facebook page for a while. My sanity, my time, and my serenity are all hanging in the balance - so it was an easy decision.
I spent the morning in church on Sunday, as many of us did. One of the readings was from Abraham Lincoln's speech in Edwardsville, IL in 1858. I thought I might share it here:
"What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army. These are not our reliance against a resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All of them may be turned against our liberties, without making us stronger or weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, every where. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors."
The polarizing nature of how communication occurs (or doesn't) on Facebook has been destroying this spirit in me - another reason to take a break. I am ready to do some deep listening. Everyone, no matter how they voted or whether they voted, is hurting in some real and tangible way. But I have hope. My hope lies in how we treat one another. And Facebook is not the place for me to test that hope.
But don't worry. I'll still be here at La Maison Boheme. This week marks my 9th year here. Crazy, right? I'll also still be posting on Facebook via my blog and also via Sarah Greenman Art. But otherwise, I'm refraining from the personal interactions for a while.
So today marks the beginning of a simpler chapter. No house. No big overwhelming events to plan. No lawns to mow, chickens to feed (they went to a sweet farm, by the way), and no Facebook stand-offs. Just a wide open winter to rest, renew, spend time with my family, and make art. I'll also be doing a lot more of this:
And just for fun, here are some great articles
about quitting Facebook if you're feeling the urge: