Like most of you, I imagine, my facebook account is amassing more "friends" by the day. Not long ago, someone from my high school friended me, and I took that now-familiar pause over the "accept as friend" button. This was a person who was the closest thing I had to an enemy when I was in high school. She hated me so much that she vandalized my pink airbrushed front license plate that said "Debbie 52" and had a basketball going through a hoop. Okay, maybe that license plate was asking for it, but still. In the spirit of bygones, I clicked accept.
So the two of us were diametric opposites. My typical approach was to just ignore her. I have zero recollection about what prompted the enmity between us, but now that I have accepted her request for friendship on facebook, I'm starting to see that our opposite tracks have continued. It started the day this friend posted a status update opposing the current health care reform and then ended with a quote from Hitler about propaganda. I marveled about this all day, and tales of it prompted a couple good comments from JM, comments along the lines of "yeah, because insuring the uninsured is how the Holocaust began."
Now, my normal course of action in a case like this is to do what I did with this person in high school: ignore them. Facebook has that convenient "hide" feature. Or there's also the unfriending option. But something makes me want to keep her updates in the mix, for now anyway. I like to compose comments to her updates in my head. Like a couple days ago, when she posted a status update directly to her "democratic friends" wondering why when she opposes Obama's policies she gets "profiled" as a white supremicist, I wanted to gently say "maybe it's not the opposition per se, but the Hitler quotes?" Or when she wondered--maybe in the same update--why we democrats can't see that we're just buying into propaganda, I wanted to say "That's hard to believe since I already tend to think that health care reform, of the kind that helps out the poor, especially women and children, is LONG overdue." But instead I just clicked along to photos of babies and vacations, posting my own updates about cereal and syllabi.
Maybe it's a mistake not to engage. But there is no changing this person's mind, no quelling her vitriol, and it's hard to imagine an engaged exchange that wouldn't end in the online version of a destroyed airbrushed license plate. And that's the part, like the widespread town hall zaniness, that makes me a little sad.