Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Little Things You Learn on the Internet

I recently found the Twitter account of an actor whom I adored, (and yes, it is a verified account, not just someone pretending to be him.)  This actor is ruggedly handsome.  The characters he plays are quirky and challenging, but humorous, and lovable in their faults.  I smiled at the thought that I might be privy to his occasionally charming witticisms. I even fantasized about sending a direct message that spoke of my decades long crush, sending him my number, perhaps cajoling him to a coffee date.

So, I clicked "Follow."

For the last 24-36 hours, my twitter feed has been practically held hostage by this man's rants.  He is aggressively anti-abortion, and was on that soapbox until Boston yesterday, at which point he began to spew racial fury and intolerance.   While I personally support the right to bear arms, I don't agree that any individual citizen carrying a conceled weapon would have avoided the unfortunate tragedy at the marathon.

I completely respect the fact that his twitter is his place to voice his thoughts and opinions on the political atomosphere in our country.  But on a day like yesterday, when the sadness of the state of our society is weighing heavily on me, I am uplifted and healed by messages of comfort and caring.  Tweets that address the immediate problem of finding missing loved ones, or opening your house to those who find themselves stuck in Boston unexpectedly.  I want to hear about humanity banding together to help make each other strong in the face of overwhelming hatred and fear. 

I mourn, selfishly, that my little fantasy is shot.  I pout (slightly) that not only will I no longer carry a torch for this handsome stranger, but that it will be more challenging to enjoy and care for his quirky characters.  But the knowledge of who this man is, what he chooses to stand for, is something I cannot ignore or forget.  There will be no more imagined coffee dates, no more fantasized witty flirtations, for who I am and who he is should never been in the same room together, lest there be a very vocal confrontation.

So, I clicked "Unfollow."

These are the ways we grow and learn.  These are the silly lessons of the internet, where we must face the wide range of human opinions and decide with whom we will stand.  I will offer support and love.  I will send my energies out to the spectators and cheerleaders who were taking a day out of their lives to encourage the runners, and the hundreds who, after the explosions went off, ran towards the danger to offer a helping hand.  It is a small thing I offer, this intangible message of love from the other side of the country, but it is what I have to give... and I belive it to be a wiser, more compassionate choice than standing on the bodies of the fallen, ranting for further legislation or retaliation.