I learned of the results of the Massachusetts Senate race late last night before going to bed. The last thing I did before hitting the pillow was to glance at my facebook page. Already the posts had begun either damning the results or praising them.
It was then that I made an observation that was slightly epiphanous ; I had friends, some of whom I have known for years and for whom I care a great deal, that didn't vote like as I do! Of course, I say this with a humorous twist. I know that it is impossible to know and befriend as many people as I have over the years without accepting within them a wide range of differences from myself and each other. Frankly, I enjoy the diversity and would have it no other way.
Facebook presents the unique opportunity to see posts from friends chronologically as they appear one over the other. So even though I knew and appreciated the fact that not all of my friends share the same political viewpoint as me, I had never really seen it laid out before me almost spreadsheet style to appreciate on a larger scale. Before, I always accepted the fact of difference on an individual basis - my friend Joe thinks this way, my friend Jane thinks that way.
And this is where I had my slightly epiphanous moment - seeing the evidence laid out before me in my browser made me appreciate my friends even more. I felt some frosted part of my heart begin to melt where I had not noticed ice before. I understood that the aspects of these individuals that I cherished outweighed the differences between us. Of course, I have always known this, but seeing it in an environment weaved through my hundreds of facebook friends rewired my thinking a bit.
Now, make no mistake, I'm not planning on changing my views with a pollyannaish "maybe they're right and I'm wrong" notion (the majority of my facebook friends share my same or similar political ideals) and I am steadfastly confident with my choices. And even though one of the valuable lessons that I have learned over the years as I grow older is that I usually- not always mind you- but as a general rule, shy away from discussing issues of politics, religion and sexuality unless I am completely sure that the person I am speaking with is compatible with such (notice I did not say that they had to share my views - they need only to be open to a conversation without overreacting) , I feel more liberated and secure with my own choices because there is a flip side to the coin. If I have accepted that they don't share my views and am OK with that, then they have done the same for me.
Part of a facebook post from a wonderful childhood friend of mine regarding recent politics simply and elegantly read, "I didn't break it, I cannot fix it, I have to let it go." It seemed Zen its simplicity and clarity.