Earlier today, I received an emailed request from a former high school attendee—we were neither friends nor enemies as far as I recall—to become Facebook friends. Let’s call him GeeAy. I am vaguely familiar with him as someone who argues on Facebook with another high school mate. Let’s call this guy EmGee.
Politically, GeeAy is reactionary; EmGee is progressive. Occasionally I put my too sense in—guess who I sided with . . .
Nonetheless, I don’t turn down Facebook friendship requests because, well, one never knows where these things might lead. So, I confirmed GeeAy’s request, went to his Facebook page, and posted this (which I had to rewrite from memory as I had already erased it):
“Thanks for the Facebook friend request. Know this: I moved thousands of miles away and have spent decades trying to forget high school. I have been VERY successful. I don’t remember a lot of people from back then. Hell, I hardly remember some of the girls that I had crushes on!
So, aside from your name, I remember little about you. We have had some disagreements in the recent past here on Facebook. All well and good—grin and bare it and keep it coming. Prove me incorrect with facts. I love a good argument.
Regarding the Affordable Care Act and your friends in the FBI: they already have full coverage, paid for by the taxpayers. All federal government employees receive socialized medicine plans. As do military personnel. Hell, I used to have it when I worked for the Luzerne County Roads & Bridges back in the ’70s.”
That was it. Nothing really personal, nothing really political. (If one assumes that merely pointing out facts is NOT a “political act.”) Shortly afterwards, I received the following email from GeeAy:
“Neal, I cannot stand to read EmGee’s idiotic, short-sighted, polarizing, comments anymore. I have to unfriend you [on Facebook]. This is not personal, I always appreciated your point of view but EmGee’s tripe is more than I want to read from here on out.”
That’s it: I was unfriended because of the “idiotic, short-sighted, polarizing”—all synonymous with “liberal” to today’s conservatives—opinions of another person.
Now, it may have had something to do with my rather innocuous (look it up), factual statements about government and military personnel receiving socialized medicine paid for by taxpayers. Of course, the taxpayers in general are the very people the Republicans are trying to keep from receiving same. Again, I do not consider pointing out facts to be “political” but more than 50,000,000 voters in this country do because actual facts mess with their opinions!
Three days ago I had an idea for an article for this blog about the growing gap between those who align themselves with the Republican Party and those with the Democratic Party. I jotted down this note: “Aisle became chasm became gulf now it’s the void.” The phrase “reaching across the aisle” is a political one, referencing Congress.
“This term is widely used in the political arena whereby members of both the US Senate and the US House of Representatives unite in a bi-partisan fashion in a mutually agree compromise on a piece of legislation or other related matters.” (Collins Dictionary)
The point of my piece would be (will be? is?) that the aisle—literally once a physical space a few feet across—has become more metaphorically “the void.” In Buddhism, voidness is more or less synonymous with nothingness.
“Śūnyatā” is from the Sanskrit noun from the adjective śūnya, meaning “zero, nothing.” It is usually translated as emptiness. Sunya comes from the root svi, meaning “swollen” plus the suffix ta meaning “ness.” Therefore “hollow, hollowness.” A common alternative term is voidness.” (Wikipedia)
In modern Americanglish, void is often used to mean the complete lack of anything physical—or spiritual. Thus it is MORE than the mere near vacuum that interstellar space resembles. It is unbridgeable.