People keep asking me why I have yet to return to social media. It’s because of the general awfulness of people these days. What I’ve been silent about is that since my father passed away in April, I’ve gotten messages from people who are not followers of the Hadena James page telling me to stop perpetuating the myth of COVID being a killer and that my father is probably fine and dandy, helping me laugh at all the stupid people that really believe he died.
My father didn’t die of COVID. He died of heart disease. It wasn’t even COVID related, his test was negative. At no time is the six months since he died have I ever said his death was due to COVID. Yet, people want to accuse me of saying it and people want to tell me I’m obviously lying. How fucked up is that?
Within minutes of posting on social media that I had mailed back my ballot, I got a message from someone with a Trump/Pence 2020 avatar that told me they hoped I went to prison for my voter fraud? Obviously, this person doesn’t even understand what voter fraud is. I would also say it’s a safe bet they don’t know me or anything about me. Because I have talked at length this year about being diagnosed with heart disease and having a legitimate reason to absentee vote. Yet, because I used mail in balloting they automatically assume it was voter fraud, which isn’t how that works.
There have been people that took offense at The Dysfunctional Chronicles since I started publishing because Zeke and Nadine are an interracial couple, but I’ve always chalked that up to stupidity rather than a desire to be awful to another human being just because.
This year, I have learned people want to be awful to other people just because. And for some reason, Donald Trump has given them the excuse to do so. I know not every Trump supporter is a dick just because, but it has been my experience this year, that all those awful, hateful, rude, asshole messages have come from Trump supporters (I always have to stalk their page before I report them).
I even got a message from someone telling me they were glad my father had died. Um, seriously what the fuck? I rarely even open the HJ mailbox on the Facebook page anymore because I worry about what awful things are going to be in it.
Here’s the thing; I know my readers are wonderful. I know I’m gonna get a lot of comments telling me to ignore those assholes and that my readers are so sorry. But it isn’t the fault or problem of my readers that people are like this. Which is why I haven’t written this post, which probably should have been written months ago, to explain my absence. But I didn’t want them to empathize or sympathize or feel like they somehow had a role in this madness, because they haven’t.
I keep hoping it gets better and I check the page or mailbox after a week of not posting and find the problem still exists. So, I disappear again. And I just keep wondering “What has happened to us?” What has happened to us as a society, where we now feel it’s okay to tell someone we hope they go to jail because we don’t take the time to understand what a phrase or law actually is? What has happened to us to make us think it’s okay to tell someone they are glad someone close to them died? What has happened to make us think shouting “N*gger go home” at a 12 year-old girl is okay? If I was religious, I might start to wonder if perhaps this is happening because the end of days are here and the antichrist has risen.
I also wonder if I was just blind to the hatred we had for our fellow Americans before now? Not just based on race, because I’ve always known that existed… But unfettered hatred for our fellow Americans for every single difference and now for the last 4 years, it’s been acceptable to let the hate flow out loud, so I’ve noticed? Or is it because I don’t support hate that now I’m a target and there are people out there who really are glad my father died, because it gave them the ability to bully me away from social media? Because nothing ever said to me has hurt like being told by some random stranger that they were glad my father died.
I don’t know how many of my readers are actually Trump supporters, I’ve never cared enough to find out. I believe that as Americans we should have different opinions. We should have the right to agree to disagree. We shouldn’t be automatons blindly following leaders. I say this because I want to point out, that my Trump supporting readers have never been awful to me. They aren’t the people sending me awful messages telling me they hope I go to jail, glad my father died, or that they don’t believe my father died and I’m just saying it to perpetuate the COVID hoax. The majority of the time, they are as wonderful, amazing, and supportive as the rest of my readers.
It seems to specifically be “stranger awfulness”, it’s almost as if “stranger danger” is now more real than ever. I have to be wary of profile names I don’t recognize on Facebook, Twitter, or my blog… I have to read blog comments very carefully. I did approve a comment in May that someone else pointed out to me later that day that mentioned “If COVID is real I hope you die.” I don’t know how I missed it, but I did and I had to delete it. The majority of the comment dealt with why I was wrong about my interpretation of President Trump’s response to COVID and it was just tucked neatly into the last paragraph. Not once in 8 years did I ever hope someone that criticized President Obama died. I don’t know why that’s a go to for Trump supporters. But it does seem to be a central theme around the hate mail I get these days: they hope I die, they want me to die, or they are glad someone I love is dead.
Anyway, the point is, that’s why I’ve been avoiding social media. I will probably continue to do so, taking only small bites of it. Of course, right now, it’s because I am super busy, but once everything gets turned over to Findaway Voices for the audiobook scripts, I will still probably struggle to be on social media. I just can’t handle the bullying and hatred. It makes me ill… and unfortunately, readers; while I know it isn’t your fault, I just mentally can’t handle it and you’re affected by my lack of enthusiasm for social media as a result and I know it isn’t fair, but a person can only take so much before they start internalizing it.