You know the old saying that to every action....there is a reaction? Sometimes we have no control over the action (if brought on by others), but we do have control over our reaction. Yesterday this whole concept was brought painfully home to me over a very innocent facebook (fb) message that I posted on my wall. The offending post said: "President Obama finally did something that I support and I gladly give him kudos for it. Today he honored the late Father Emil Kapaun with the Medal of Honor for his service in the Korean War. May God bless him for this long overdue act." To me...it was meant at face value. There was no hidden message nor hidden agenda and yet you would have thought that I had single handedly gone on the campaign trail for Obama and that my car was covered in pro Obama stickers. Even going back and rereading my post, I still don't see what riled not just one...but several of my friends. And no....I don't mean fb friends I mean friends on fb whom I actually know!
Perhaps a little history here is required. Father Emil Kapaun was a soldier in the Korean war. He saved lives and I am sure many souls during his time in the military and ultimately.....he was killed by the enemy for his faith as well as his American status. Many of his fellow soldiers attribute both their life and their faith to Father Kapaun and for years it is believed that he should have received the Medal of Honor for his service not only to God but to his country. The Korean war 60 years and how many presidents ago......both republican and democrat and yet Obama is the first president to honor this soldier in the way he deserved. Love Obama or hate him....the act deserved recognition in my book and I am sure Father Kapauns family also appreciated the recognition.
Now I ask the question...why did Obama choose this particular vet at this particular time to bestow this honor on? I am sure that many vets of past wars have deserved this same honor and have yet to receive it. So why Father Kapaun and again....why now? As was so eloquently said to me.....it had to be a ploy to work on the American people. Maybe. Maybe it was Obama's way of saying...."Look at me...I am not such a bad guy," but I have to ask....why does he suddenly care? You would have thought rather than waste good PR on an a Catholic priest who was a vet and had been dead over a half a century....that he might have put PR to better use on say Benghazi. I mean most people who are not Catholic....don't even know Father Kapaun so why this man?
After being told on fb that Obama was a tyrant and basically being told that even this action meant nothing (which I shouldn't have been surprised to hear) I fired back as I always do. No harm...no foul. People are entitled to their own opinions as am I. Although my statement was in no way intended to be political.....it was obviously taken that way and because I was not bitch slapping Obama verbally but on the other hand ended my post with "May God bless him," I had suddenly become a full fledged Obama supporter....therefore my thoughts, opinions, posts and person deserved no respect. The real fun came behind the scenes in private fb messages where I received 6 messages within 10 minutes of my post and three of them let me know what a horrible person I was for daring to post anything remotely positive about Obama. One let me know what an idiot I was with every four letter word known to man and two others took me to task asking me what the hell had happened to me during my time away from fb. It was surreal and to be honest....completely unexpected. I guess I just expected more from people and certainly more from my friends. It was disappointing to say the least and quite honestly.....it made me angry.
If you know me at all and if you have ever debated with me on politics, religion or any of the hot topics that most avoid, you know that I am not shy about my thoughts or opinions....but I am never disrespectful about other peoples thoughts or opinions either. It comes from a lesson long ago embedded in my head by my mother and a certain history teacher. The First Amendment is the right of every American to have their own thoughts and opinions and to voice them. I don't have to like or agree with what they have to say.....but I must defend..... with my life if necessary.....their right to say it. I also learned long ago that it is the differences of opinion that are crucial to growth and education. Our ability to learn and grow from one another stops the moment we try to silence those we don't agree with. There is not a one of us that is right all the time on all subjects and to think otherwise is both egotistical and counter productive to any cause. As my mother used to always say...."Be wary of always thinking you are right because no one is right 100% of the time and no one is wrong 100% of the time." Important words to remember when the need to be heard and to be right is the guiding force of your argument.
Maybe because of all of this....when I would argue a point, I never got angry even when others did. If I was reasonably sure I was right....then I simply produced facts to back up my argument and let them speak for themselves. Those that argue in fact find it hard to dispel facts therefore further argument becomes unnecessary. There will always be those that argue with nothing but raw emotion and opinion......and that is fine. That is their opinion and I will not belittle them for having one whether I feel they are wrong or not. This is why I don't get angry. To what end do you get mad at someone for voicing an opinion...right or wrong? To make someone feel stupid for their thoughts or beliefs solves nothing and certainly doesn't bring someone around to your way of thinking. It is times like these I usually respectfully pour on the facts and let things fall were they may. So if this is how I am, then why did I get angry last night? I really wasn't sure and because of this....I decided to take a breather from fb and do a little thinking. So I deactivated. At least for awhile....this would put an automatic cool down on the situation and give me time to decide how to proceed further.
After giving it some real thought....it occurred to me that for 75% of the people on fb, it is no longer the place where you go and relax, chat and socialize with friends. No...in the last few years it has become a much darker place. A jaded place if you will of negativity and constant gloom and doom. Admittedly I have been part of that dark place. During the election I posted with the best of them. Every time I turned on the computer and went to fb I immediately felt a heaviness and with every post that I or others made about what was going on around us.....I felt as if I was sinking into a very dark place. Now I am not saying that people were wrong. The news media does not do their job unbiasedly and because of this, people who really want to know what is going on in the world have to do their research and when this research brings about stories that have been looked over and even been hidden as much as possible from the public.....there is a duty to call the media on this behavior and to publicize what they refuse to. Sad...but social media and fb in particular are the best ways to achieve this. Still...it makes it so that fb has gone from being social to very political and for some....myself included....this makes an already stressful life, just that much more stressful. I do get it. As I said though....it has gotten so jaded that when someone posts something that isn't full on bashing someone....the opposite side begins to read things into the post that simply aren't there. Apparently they feel that it also gives them the right to berate and belittle those with a differing opinion, whether it was actually differing or not. THIS is what made me angry. People who know me (really know me) and know where I stand on things politically thought me so wishy washy and so easily swayed that in one innocent post they believed that I no longer had my convictions, morality or beliefs and that I was now no longer for them....so I must be against them. RIDICULOUS and it showed me how little people actually think of me. So...the question became....do I want to be apart of all this? Do I want to risk becoming someone who can turn on someone else with no provocation and without any facts? Obviously if it can happen to them....what is to say that it can't happen to me? Then I received some texts last night. Lots of texts in fact, but a couple from the worst offenders who fb messaged me. Both apologized and said that perhaps they had over reacted. One asked me to explain myself and I said NO! I posted nothing that needed explanation therefore...I felt no need to defend or explain my post. On further thought....my "friend" agreed. My heart went from angry to sad. Then I realized that I was getting way too emotional over all of this. I needed to toughen up my skin and stay or go, but whatever I do.....realize that there will always be those that speak out of turn, jump the gun or think they are right even when they aren't. It is simply life in the current world we live in.
Going back to Father Kapaun and yesterday's award. Again I ask.....why? Yes...there could be an ulterior motive...but then again, did anyone ever think that it might be a God thing? I'll tell you a little secret. Each night before I go to sleep....I pray for President Obama. I pray that God guides him and that God's will be done for him and for our country. I would bet I am not the only one who does this. Prayers are not in vain and maybe God used Obama to deliver this award to Father for a reason. Remember...nothing happens without purpose. Does this mean I support Obama? No! I still agree with little he has done but it doesn't mean that I think God can't change him even if it is with one small act which means little to the majority and a great deal to the few. My question is...why didn't Kennedy, Reagan, Ford, Carter, The Bush's or Clinton award Father this medal? Why Obama? Why this man at this time? We can only speculate and only God and Obama know the real answer. But it happened and I acknowledged the act! I would do it again.
I am going back to fb because although it didn't feel much like it yesterday....I do have friends there. Real friends. I also can't get on Pinterest without being logged into fb, so yes...that may play a part in my decision too. Finally....I don't run and I don't allow others to control who I am and what I say or do.....regardless of which side of the fence they stand on. That is why fb has an unfriend function and people have used it on me before and I am sure they will use it on me again and again. I would say my timeout was cathartic and of course it has all culminated into just another life lesson about the frailty of humans, the abundance of human error and most of all.....my ability to forgive.