Tag Archives: Facebook

At times it becomes a game of ‘Can You Top This?’

You know already how I enjoy writing this blog.

It’s what I do. I enjoy getting told that I am a “prolific” blogger. Now and then, though, I have to stop and watch some of the reactions that come from those read my musings.

Those who like what I write respond to those who dislike my point of view. The reverse of that is true, too.

I have been watching a few readers of this blog go at each other hammer and tong.

Regrettably, though, these exchanges get personal. They get nasty. They become an insult contest. They also become a sort of a “Can You Top This” game, where one individual offers a smart-aleck retort to something that comes from some unknown adversary. I say “unknown” because quite often the antagonists are acquainted only through whatever social medium they see this blog; Facebook is the most common platform I use to distribute my blogging spewage.

Back and forth they go. Seemingly forever. They wear me out, man!

Watching these exchanges play out as a result of something that comes from my fingers simply reinforces my self-imposed rule: Don’t get into a pi**ing match, particularly with someone you don’t know; everyone always gets wet.

However, it does give me a chance to watch and to revel at times in the snark that emanates from those who like to one-up someone on the other side.

If only they would avoid the meanness.

Need to do better at keeping emotions in check

Oh, I need to do a much better job of restraining myself in the Age of Trump.

There can be no doubt that something has triggered an emotional response in me that I didn’t think would do so prior to Donald Trump sashaying onto the political scene.

“There’s more to life than politics,” Mitt Romney once said while saluting the adversarial relationship he had at the time with President Barack Obama. The men were running for the presidency in 2012 and Romney took a moment to say that he and the president didn’t harbor “ill will” toward each other.

That ain’t the case these days. It’s rubbing off on me. Dang it! I’ve got to control myself.

A member of my vast network of Facebook “friends” and actual friends posted something the other day that sought to poke a bit of fun at the rash of sexual harassers/abusers who’ve been in the news lately. Two of the examples showed photoshopped images of Obama hanging Presidential Medals of Freedom around the necks of Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner and Harvey Weinstein. The other two images were legit, with Bill Cosby and former President Clinton getting the medals.

“Why do you post this sh**?” I asked an actual Facebook friend who shared it. He fired back a tart response, telling me it was a joke and that I should “lighten up.” Touche. 

I blame Donald Trump for dragging me into this pit of emotional instability and nervousness. I still can take a joke as well as the next guy. My problem these days is that I am getting numbed by the constant barrage of hideous reports pertaining to the president, not to mention to the amazing barrage of insult-inspired Twitter messages that the president is prone to unleash.

I am nowhere close to needing therapy. At least not at the moment. If this glaring lack of joke awareness persists, however, I might need some counseling.

In the meantime, I am going to pray that the pending impeachment of Donald Trump gets traction and that, should he (likely) survive the Senate trial that will result, he gets thumped at the November 2020 election.

Facebook becoming infected with negativity during The Season

I’m getting a bit of buzz from my network of Facebook friends who are complaining about the negativity they’re seeing on the social medium as we enter the Christmas holiday season.

I am going to agree with them … to a point.

I use Facebook to distribute by blog. Facebook will get this post, too, as soon as I’m finished with it. I won’t refrain from posting political commentary on this blog, which then will shoot into cyberspace via Facebook and other social media. What it produces in the way of commentary, of course, depends on who’s responding to any particular blot post.

What I have sought to do during my involvement with Facebook is to avoid getting tangled up in too much negative give and take. I post the comments, folks respond either happily or angrily. If they like what they read, that’s nice. If they dislike what I post, that’s fine, too.

As for the complaints that are sneaking into some of my Facebook friends’ comments, I will honor their concern only insofar as to avoid engaging in rhetorical swordplay with those who oppose whatever thought I toss out there.

I acknowledge also that I occasionally get a bit too wrapped up in Facebook rants. I read ’em. I might acknowledge some of ’em. I won’t get into the type of name-calling and insult games that some of my cyber acquaintances play.

Go for it, boys and girls. Just count me out.

This impeachment debate is getting personal … and graphic

I just performed a rare — for me, at least — social media act.

I severed a social media relationship based on something this individual posted. I don’t like admitting it, but I am doing so now.

Here’s my side of the story.

The impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump’s conduct as president has drawn some amazing commentary on both sides of the great divide among Americans. It has stormed onto social media in ways I did not expect.

This evening on Facebook, I got a message from someone I know — although not well — that made me wretch. It contained an encrypted picture that had a note that it contained a graphic image; I had to click on a link to view it, so I did.

It turned my stomach. It showed a terrible image of what was described as a U.S. envoy being tortured; juxtaposed with that image was a picture of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch with a caption that said she had her “feelings hurt” by Donald Trump.

I put the encryption back on the picture and then “unfriended” the person who posted it from my Facebook network.

Yes, this is the kind of anger that the Donald Trump Era of Politics has brought us. I do not like it. Not in the least.

Although I have to say that the debate over Donald Trump’s fitness to serve as president and the inquiry into whether he should be impeached is revealing a lot about people I thought I knew. I am finding that some of my many acquaintances harbor some pretty nasty tendencies, such as the picture that one of those individuals posted on a social media platform.

I have lived through two serious presidential crises. The first one involved President Nixon and the Watergate scandal; the second one concerned President Clinton and the White House intern scandal. Nixon was on the way to getting impeached, but he resigned the presidency; the House impeached Clinton but he was acquitted by the Senate at trial.

In neither of those crises do I remember the intensity being exhibited by partisans on both sides of that divide. However, the image I looked at today — yes, I saw the warning, but looked anyway — goes so far beyond the pale that I parted company with someone who I thought was better than that.

I am afraid this tumult is going to damage a lot more relationships.

Who’s the racist, Mr. President?

A social media friend of mine made a cogent and insightful observation about Donald J. Trump’s behavior and his comments about the state of affairs in certain Democratically run American cities.

Here is what my friend posted on Facebook: Things that make you slap your forehead. Why has Trump attacked the mayors of Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta for crime, vermin and housing, but not the mayors of New York, Philadelphia, or Los Angeles? They are all Democrats. What could it be? Look up their photographs, as I did.

What is my friend’s point?

It’s as clear as it gets. The mayors of Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta are, um, African-American. The mayors of NYC, Philly and Los Angeles are white.

My friend might be mistaken, though, on whether the president has been stone-cold silent about LA’s problems. I believe his point, though, is well-taken, in that Donald Trump — at best — spends relatively little emotional energy blasting white Democrats while unloading heavily on those Democratic politicians who happen to be people of color.

Is that the act of a racist politician?

Wasn’t it the comedian Arsenio Hall who used to poke fun at those things “that you make you go … hmm”?

This trend, though, ain’t funny.

Writing a blog produces occasional out-of-body experiences

Have you ever had an out-of-body experience? Or even what you believe an actual such event would feel like?

I get ’em on occasion writing this blog. I’ve been doing this since 2010, fulltime since 2012.

Here’s what happens: I write something on High Plains Blogger and then publish it. I post these items on various social media, including Facebook. Someone comments on it. The initial comment usually is negative. Then someone responds — not to the blog, but to the initial responder. Then Responder No. 1 fires back at the antagonist; Responder No. 2 shoots back.

Then it starts. Back and forth they go. Occasionally, someone else chimes in. Then perhaps a fourth, or fifth individual who happens to be part of my Facebook “friend” network will read these exchanges and decide to weigh in as well.

Oh, boy. Sometimes it gets nasty. As in real personal. There’s a bit of name-calling at times.

I think once or twice I have sought to intervene, usually via “private message” on whatever social medium I’m monitoring. I might tell one of the parties to cool it. Usually, though, I let it ride. I let the combatants have their say.

Eventually one of them gives up. Not surrender, actually. Just decides he or she has had enough of the other person.

Why mention this at all? It’s my way of acknowledging the deep divide that separates individuals or groups of individuals. There’s little I can do about it, short of not posting items that rile folks up. I can’t go there. I have this insatiable need to provide commentary that is sure to invoke the kind of out-of-body experiences I feel on occasion.

I can’t help myself.

For that I apologize. However, I’ll keep on going.

Some critics actually do hand out credit

I had a fascinating exchange of messages recently with a gentleman who is a frequent critic of this blog. He lives in Amarillo and he thinks I am too harsh and hateful toward Donald Trump . . . and he tells me so quite frequently.

I don’t have a problem with this fellow’s comments. During our brief private exchange of messages, though, I did tell him something I want to share with the rest of the readers of High Plains Blogger.

I told this fellow — who, by the way, I don’t really know — that I appreciate that he is willing on occasion to give me credit for the blog posts with which he might agree. I also mentioned to him that I have a number of critics who don’t extend that courtesy.

Why mention this? I do so to illustrate, I suppose, the ups and downs of writing this blog. Sure, I appreciate the kind words I get from those who might lean in the same political direction that I do. I also appreciate the criticism of those who tilt in the other direction. Many of their critiques are thoughtful and I do heed them.

I adopted the philosophy quite a while ago when I started this blog that I would avoid (most of the time) engaging in a back/forth dialogue with critics. The way I look at it, this blog gives me a forum to throw out my point of view and offers those who care to respond to do exactly that. I believe that once is enough, whether it’s from me or from someone who wants to challenge a point of view I have expressed.

I told my critic, too, that arguing with those with contrary views usually is unproductive. I won’t change their mind; they won’t change mine. So, there’s next to zero point in trying to persuade someone I am totally virtuous and that they’re full of sh**.

This individual and I have expressed a desire to meet one day. That might happen. My wife and I get back to Amarillo on occasion. I do hope our paths cross one day.

As for his criticism, keep it coming . . . especially if he’s willing to give me some credit even once in great while.

Reached the limit of anti-Muslim bigotry

I have just committed the rare act of disconnecting someone from my social media network.

Until just a few moments ago, we were “friends” on Facebook. I will concede that we aren’t close personal friends, although I know this person’s spouse quite well, as he served in local government for many years during my time as editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News.

What did this person do to incur my social media wrath? She posted a vile anti-Muslim meme, saying in effect that Muslims need to be destroyed by nuclear weapons.

Oh, yes. Feelings run high at times when we talk about those who believe in one of the world’s great religions. This one crosses the line. It goes way beyond what I consider to be anything close to reasonable.

I hereby am going to declare a state of proverbial “war” against those who post such things on my Facebook feed.

You are welcome to criticize this blog. I truly don’t object to that, although some of the personal criticism does sting a bit. Hey, I ask for it with some of my blog posts. I should be willing to take what I dish out, correct?

However, those who believe in a certain religious faith do not deserve to be treated in a hideous manner. My now former Facebook “friend” has revealed a terrible element in her emotional makeup. Therefore, I no longer will use my own social media network to spread such hate.

Her ghastly meme should have been targeted toward those who have perverted Islam. She didn’t do that.

She can consort with her fellow haters all she wants.

Blog alert! Having trouble publicizing these musings

High Plains Blogger uses several social media platforms to publicize its musings, missives, essays . . . whatever.

Facebook is one of them. At the moment, your friendly blogger — me! — is experiencing difficulty with Facebook.

I have notified the gurus at Facebook trying as best I can to explain the issue. I keep getting messages that say they’re working on the problem.

I’ll continue to post items on High Plains Blogger, but will depend on Twitter as my primary publicizing platform.

Bear with me. And with Facebook.

Political differences need not destroy friendships

I sent a letter via snail mail to a friend of mine this week.

His name is Ernie Houdashell. He is a devoted Republican Party elected official. He serves as Randall County, Texas, judge. Houdashell is as devoted a partisan as anyone I know.

He and I differ fundamentally on politics. We’ve actually argued a time or two over the years, particularly since my departure from the Amarillo Globe-News in August 2012.

But here’s the deal: He and I remain friends. I have great respect for this good man. I wrote him a note just to give him an update on where my wife and I have relocated. He’ll likely have received the letter, and I hope he takes to heart the way I ended it. I told him I am “proud” that he and I have maintained our friendship.

Why am I mentioning this? Because I want to illustrate how easy it can be for people with vastly different philosophical outlooks to retain their personal affection for each other. They can be friends, just as Ernie and I are friends. I believe in my heart that my friend feels the same way I do.

We hear too much these days on social media and in other media about those who have seen their friendships shattered in this toxic and divisive political climate.

I keep reading Facebook posts from individuals who admit to losing friends because of disagreements over policy matters. Man, that kind of news really saddens me!

I worked for more than two decades in a region known for its severe rightward tilt. The Texas Panhandle arguably is the birthplace of the modern conservative Republican movement. I lived for that entire time in Randall County, where Democratic elected officials have gone dormant since 1995.

I won’t belabor the point that I have many good friends in Amarillo who happen to view the world differently than I do. I’ve said it and I’ll leave it at that.

I just wish the current bitterness that infects our atmosphere wasn’t so destructive to so many other people’s relationships.

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, said of his opponent that year, President Barack Obama, that the two men had little time for personal animus toward each other. “There more to life,” Romney said, “than politics.”