It was probably six years ago when I “unfriended” an old high school friend on my Facebook page.
It wasn’t a hard thing to do.
Since high school, he had morphed into a right wing conspiracy theorist, a far right hater of politicians and political views with which he did not agree.
He repeatedly posted misinformation, false news, right wing conspiracy theories, and other garbage I later came to suspect were probably fabricated by Russian operatives in an effort to divide Americans. That effort had worked. My high school friend and I were divided. But it was not me that moved away.
He had an intense hate for President Barrack Obama. An unhealthy, unhinged hate devoid of any sense of reason.
I explained to the good wife, somewhat jokingly, why I unfriended him.
“If anyone tries to assassinate President Obama,” I said, “And (my old high school friend) is anywhere within 100 miles of where the assassination attempt took place, I don’t want the FBI to know that I am a Facebook friend of his.”
Fast forward to the present. The serial attempted bomber and the synagogue shooter captured last week have more than hate in common. Their social media feeds are now coming under intense scrutiny by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.
They want to know who their friends are. Who agrees with their hate-filled social media narratives. Who is like-minded.
The FBI, no doubt, is compiling a long list of suspects for future hate-fueled murderous acts.
My old high school friend is the only one I’ve unfriended because of his strain of hate. But I’ve unfriended others because of their penchant for spreading, perhaps unwittingly, false information, irrational conspiracy theories, and other such garbage that has all the earmarks of Russian attempts to divide America. I simply don’t want to read that stuff and I’m certainly not naive enough to believe any of it.
I’ve wondered what forces drive people to be hoodwinked into believing obvious untruths?
A few of those I’ve unfriended I had thought were more intelligent than they exhibit.
I hate it that we’re divided.
But I love the fact that now I don’t have to read such garbage on my Facebook page. Life is much easier in the real universe.