The wall on the border of the U.S. and Mexico (which was 30% complete as of Obama's last day in office) is not the wall my generation needs to worry about.
There's a different wall worthy of our attention and reflection, an invisible one.
This morning I wrote a blog post, "What Side of History Will Islam Be On?" I was sure the post would offend someone to the point they would delete me from social media. I just didn't know who.
But writing my thoughts into a digestible form allows me to clarify, if nothing else, my own thoughts. And posting completes the feedback loop, which leads me to revise my thoughts through iteration. Writing for an audience holds me accountable and forces me to grow my opinions.
So anyways, sure enough, within an hour of sharing, a guy I know unfollowed me on Instagram. But the un-follow wasn't from the Pompano Beach Tanning Salon. I've actually met this guy a couple times in real life over the past year, and written a couple things for him. He's helped me out as well. And even as recently as last week we've been in contact by email on the most positive terms.
But bam! One wrong step, and it's all out the window.
I asked him about it though.
Maybe he'll sleep on it. But this isn't my first rodeo. These decisions are usually final.
This leads me to the invisible wall dividing my generation, the digital border wall.
Self censorship of social information channels has never been easier. With a couple clicks in the right place, sometimes you can even remain "friends" without seeing anything from them ever again. And I've found many peers go as far to block you out entirely for just stating opinions they disagree with, regardless of the delivery, thoughtfulness, or articulation.
One day we'll reap what we sow for living this way. Passive contempt seems strange to me. If there really was something said that justifies the separation, shouldn't that opinion have been surveyed a long time ago? I mean those opinions inside of me were still there, regardless of whether they appeared on the internet or not.
If someone's passionate enough about a topic to pull a permanent cold shoulder as a reaction, couldn't this have been covered in the bio or something?
(Please refer to Google Doc link for list of trigger opinions. Any combination of opinions on the list will result in the termination of any form of communication.)
Come on man.
We have to be better than this. All of us.
There has to be an option to put your palms out and just speak honestly without the fear of severing yourself from lurking friends and strangers and killing any future relationships.
Literally the other week a guy showed me a girl's message that politically they just didn't work so she had to stop it before it started.
I mean unless you get paid to protest your significant other's favorite thing in life, shouldn't talking politics be such a small part of a relationship that it'd only be a straw on the camels back?
The same goes for friendships too.
These hypothetical disagreements are literally imaginary in so many ways. We're stifiling ourselves by fixating too much on the hypothetical details of the disagreements that most likely will never even be called into action. Why draw lines there?
Talking about politics sucks. Its often unwanted, unpleasant, and just generally an overall buzz kill.
Not talking about politics makes life easier.
Not exercising also makes life easier.
",at first" should be added to the end of both sentences.
Most of us know what happens when we stop exercising.
But as with exercise and talking politics, the process is infinitely more important than the single day's result.
What hurts me the most about this digital wall is how wasteful it is.
Like man, to the guy that unfollowed me, I swear I'm on your team.
I don't want to stop innocent people from visiting or even immigrating to this country from the Middle East, or anywhere for that matter. I don't want to limit the freedom of religion. I don't want a Great Wall of Mexico. I don't want human beings to suffer. I could go on for days. There's so much that I don't want.
There's so little that I do want. I want to finish this van. I want to sell some cars. I want to keep writing and taking pictures. I want to find a girlfriend that likes rock and roll. And I want to be a Millionaire by my 30th birthday. That's about it.
In general, all of us can stop pretending to know what each other wants by quickly glancing at a few randomly selected opinions. We can stop building this digital wall that separates so many of us in real life.
For all the people that have unfollowed me over the years one way or another, I haven't met a single person who has ever said, "Manny you are literally making it more difficult to get what I want." I would step aside.
I mean for me, if someone I follow on Instagram steals my tools for the van, or breaks my camera intentionally, yeah I'm going to unfollow them. But the value I see in most people far exceeds what there is to disagree about politically. Life's just not that serious.