Facebook — A Modern Day Memoir

MemoirsI was emotionally stirred this morning, as I read seven accounts of writers experiencing the effects of having written their memoirs. The authors bared their soul to the world and received a form of validation in the process. The artful pleasures that illuminated their past were tastefully raw and revealed the human condition in a universal manner that all readers easily understood.

The one comment or point of revelation shared by all seven was that of making choices. In reducing ones life to the page, a selection of entries were decided upon. The chosen stories were filtered for entertainment value and truth. A morsel of revelation was also present. A modern day “ahha” moment, if you will.

I contemplated if I were capable of sharing the intimate parts of my private life publicly. Would I be condemned or praised for sharing my reaction from a conversation with Mrs. Van Husen, a gold medal Olympian from Germany who became a publicist for Adolph Hitler? Or, in our politically correct society would I have the courage to share the internal thoughts I debated in my childhood, while holding a woman’s swimsuit in my hands after talking with a gay neighbor?

Having grown up in the world of theatre and motion pictures, I’ve had more experiences within our liberal world than most would see in a lifetime. The stories would certainly shock the weak minded and amaze the intelligent with insights into the human condition. But, few would expect to learn, that with all the freedoms and generous offers afforded me, I chose to live a conservative life.

It’s all about choice. Not tendencies or leanings, but decisions.

We are free to Facebook what we want others to know about us. Some write too much, giving us no room to contemplate the depths of their soul. Others write little for fear they won’t be accepted. Then there are those who write only the positive, trying to make us think they are perfect, removing themselves from any form of humanity.

Facebook is like memoirs. Every entry is a choice to reveal something about ourselves. We can chose to entertain or bore our readers. We also chose how vulnerable we’re willing to be — Demonstrating our true self or creating a false image to hide behind.

The seven authors were courageous and opened my eyes to the power of revelation through vulnerable sharing. It made me wonder how many followers a person might have on Facebook if they honestly shared their thoughts and feelings. Would their numbers rise incrementally or drop rapidly into the basement? Would the person be praised for their comments this year and be haunted by it twenty years from now?

I have learned that the more tolerance community requires, the more judgmental those around us become. When the Ten Commandments guided our nation, camaraderie was present because we all had fallen short. Listening to each other’s experiences and stories gave us insights into life that helped us fight the good fight. But, today we hesitate to hear those who may disagree with our position or beliefs, for fear we may not be able to defend our perspective with persuasion and dignity.

The risk of revealing our true self is greater today than forty years ago. Yet society needs truth more than ever. Unfortunately there are few willing to risk their future in order to share elements from their dysfunctional life for the sake of humanity. Instead we are entertained by extremists who seek only attention, rather than the common good that benefits us all.

Today, the greater the spectacle the more followers. But our hearts need the truth. We need some imperfect person to remind us of our humanity, while instilling hope into our lives. We need real people to live as an open book. Then we will have the courage to decide what revelation from our life is worth sharing in our modern memoir published on Facebook.

Copyright © 2016 by CJ Powers

Our Self-Evident Right to an Opinion

This week Chick-fil-A was bombarded by the media, mayors and GLAAD members. The controversy started with Dan Cathy stating that he supported the traditional marriage. The media immediately turned the statement around and promoted that Chick-fil-A was opposed to gay marriage. Since those original statements, both sides of the political issue have made far more detailed statements – Taking clear sides on the issue.

Freedom of SpeechThe thing I find fascinating about this event was the amount of people taking a stand concerning the topic. I also found that the emotionally charged words being shared by both sides gave little room for anyone listening to the other’s opinion. But one thing was certain from my perspective, those who are in social power today, determine what is politically correct tomorrow.

Now more than any time in history, the one who controls the media platform of choice and its content, controls our society’s future direction. While the media itself is a neutral tool, it is a platform used to express the views of the content producer, including their perspective on what is right and wrong.

In today’s society, when few are willing to go against the politically correct views of the day, the things that are right and wrong become relative. Historically, relativism led to the demise of several great societies and cultures. It is something that can only be stopped by society trusting in the absolutes of truth. And, truth can only be accepted when presented for consideration to each individual living within the society, whether through one-on-one conversation or through the media.

So, where do we start?

I’d suggest we help others understand the simple truth that they have the self-evident, God-given right to voice their opinion on what is right and wrong. This innate right was a free gift to them when God chose to make us in his image. Since he has the right to share anything he wants with us, we have the same right to reciprocate with him and share with those around us. This right is ours regardless of who dominates the media.

My grandmother shared stories with me from when she was living in the 50’s. She said it was common to have neighbors passionately discuss politics over the backyard fence. When both the Democrat and the Republican had their say, both people understood the other more and were able to respect the words shared. Rarely did anyone’s opinion change, but they were both able to share their views. They also walked away with an attitude of respect for each other, which allowed them the opportunity to do it again on the next day.

Respecting someone’s viewpoint, while not agreeing with it, is one of the greatest acts of love gifted to mankind. This form of compassion can help us demonstrate respect to those we disagree with. It can also help us understand those who are hurting or emotionally wounded from a political issue.

It’s my opinion that everyone has the right to share what is on his or her heart. Unfortunately, society is not always a safe place for sharing. I hope there are people across America who have let go of judgment and replaced it with respect, so they can carefully understand those who are hurting and need encouragement.

And, sharing an opinion in a respectful manner might allow more people to consider our position on issues. But, regardless of the diplomacy or the politically correctness of an idea, no one should tamper with our freedom of speech. We must hold onto this freedom for all, even those who disagree with us.

Copyright © 2012 By CJ Powers
Photo © sval7 – Fotolia.com