The pitch of political sniping on social media seems substantially more frenzied than usual, even for a presidential election year. Between the Trump Train and the Bernie Bros, my feed is cluttered with memes that caricaturize Hillary Clinton as a comic book super villain delivering doom and death to democracy, and the news outlets I follow are so profoundly obsessed with every last base and appalling thing that comes out of Trump’s Twitter account that the feel-good stuff of Bon Appetit and Humans of New York has essentially been drowned in a chaotic torrent of partisan sparring matches and the clambering to be right by any feat of selective truth necessary. A colleague’s husband posted this article this morning, and it gave me pause, particularly because it inflamed my tribal loyalties in both the reproductive and political arenas while also sounding a humanitarian call for greater compassion and unity across the gulfs of ideology that was hard to dismiss.
Periodically I am reacquainted with the influence of similar tribal alliances in this community, and how those subtle divisions can blind us to the plight of another. These networks become invaluable sources of support in a time of crisis, in part, because we can seek out women whose experiences parallel our own and share an empathy grounded in real, gory, personal experience, but all that yummy solidarity sometimes comes at the price of steeping oneself in a highly filtered world, like the false reality of Facebook feeds where all dissenters have been effortlessly unfollowed. Further, the intimacy of those bonds can forge loyalties that cloud perspective-taking. Mathes ends his post with the plea,
Division is a choice…Our love, our listening, must bring in, not edit out. Dare to listen, dare to be quiet, dare to seek understanding.
Maybe that would hush all the competitive noise.