today i unfollowed the last (vocally) conservative friend i have left on fb.
it took me this long because he was symbolic of a certain possibility i once believed in. that one day, there would be a moment i could intervene, to make a difference, to reach across the aisle. but over the last four years, i’ve watched him gradually embrace every single pillar of bigotry and self-destruction in modern conservative ideology.
i thought about unfollowing him so many times before. when he started spamming the transphobic pseudoscience. when he discovered that most wretched factory of ignorant hot takes, the Babylon Bee. when he found his way into evangelicalism and suddenly fetuses were a top priority. after every mass shooting, he would instantly transform into a human rights activist for Chicago and Philadelphia, deploying the latest gun violence whataboutisms hot off the Breitbart / Washington Examiner / Fox News presses.
over and over i told myself, i can’t look away. i don’t want to be naive. i need to know what’s happening over there.
but i can’t do it anymore. i’ve thrown in the towel. i’m done.
if there’s one thing that turning 30 has clarified for me, it’s that i gotta pick my battles. i only have so much time, so much energy. death’s knocking at the door. every moment i waste staring in shock and horror at his lunacy is time taken away from myself and my community. it does not better me, and social media is not a platform for changing hearts and minds.
this also mirrors a larger shift for me in the last year. i’ve stopped my daily reading of the Washington Post and NYT – not because i distrust their reporting, but because the daily news cycle seems to be an overwhelming source of toxicity for everyone on the planet. i try to keep most of my news and political reading to long-form essays (n+1 is the best nonfiction periodical in the country right now) and investigative journalism (shoutout to ProPublica, Southern Poverty Law Center, and The Marshall Project). obviously i can’t avoid lots of daily news since i’m on social media every day, but i no longer seek it out. it’s been a good change.
today, what tipped me over the edge was this Toni Morrison quote. i’ll be totally honest here: i’d literally never heard of this woman before. yes, i am an unread heathen. but it’s a great quote.
“The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.”
there will always be one more thing.
i’ve reached a point where i no longer wish to ever argue with people. i will continue to make arguments. i’ll be critical, offer insight, and make observations. i’ll keep writing. i’m going to live the best possible life i can, one that demonstrates the harmony and euphoria that’s only made possible when you’re a decent fucking human being to everyone around you.
but i’m not going to hash it out with some fool that cannot see the racism coursing through his every action. that energy will be saved for the people in my life that need it.