I unfollowed my mother on Facebook tonight.
It seemed like an extreme step against an older person who lives 1,200 miles away, but I took that step tonight. I don’t want to see angry posts and conspiracy theories.
I might miss some of the pictures she posts of the grandkids. I might miss a birthday greeting (why doesn’t she call me?) I might miss updates on her friends.
When we talk on the phone, we have drawn clear lines around politics, religion, and global warming (but maybe that falls under the umbrella of politics — though it shouldn’t). I put my foot down and stop conversations that might lead to argument territories.
We spent a decade fighting and barely speaking. I have spent 15 years trying to rebuild what was left. It has been especially hard this past year.
Talking about the grandkids is safe. Although youth sports and education sometimes veer horribly close to the forbidden topic of politics.
In the past, I have confined myself to reporting her posts and requesting that Facebook take down the lies she posts. It wasn’t enough. Though Facebook added warnings to several of her posts in the past, they exist. I saw them.
I saw racist rants (I emailed her), and I saw outright lies (but they were right in spirit, she replied).
Spending her days watching Fox News and then moving on to more extreme networks, I don’t think there’s a chance of her coming back.
Trying to determine where she fell on the political spectrum these days, I asked her if she thought that the election was stolen. I asked for a simple yes or no answer. I requested that once she answered that we move on to another topic.
She confirmed that she did it was stolen.
My jaw literally dropped on the other end of the phone.
Maybe it’s not fair to cut off conversations like this, but after so much time spent working on a relationship, I hate to give that up.
But I can’t keep watching.
I can’t help wondering if I am supposed to fight a hopeless fight. There is no middle ground, I cannot listen to the lies she perpetuates (verified by Snopes…. I always check), and she won’t listen to my words.
The fact-checking articles I send are ignored or argued with.
Having unfollowed her, I’ll stick to the carefully choreographed weekly phonecalls where we dodge such topics that are too sensitive to discuss amongst family.
But, evidently, they are fair game for posting for the world.