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Mary, this may be your story, but you speak for so many. I hear similar stories about how social media can suck you in and suck out all your happiness from clients daily. You really get to the heart of the matter here to help us avoid the dark side of full immersion in digital conditions: don’t pick a side. And get off effin’ F and IG and X and all the rest. ..

Hating is like taking poison and hoping your enemies die. It’s self defeating yet so unbelievably tempting to bond through mutual hatred especially on social, but it’s corrosive to the soul and addictive.

Your experience with Amy inspired such a beautiful change of heart. Bless her for her kindness to you when you needed an oasis of friendship in the hostile, lonely land of fringe ideas. I’m hoping we can all follow your lead so we can finally get to the kumbaya part.💖

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Thank you, Katie! Yes -- your "bond through mutual hatred" phrase is perfect. Hate really is like a drug -- a momentary high that leaves you lower than before.

[Your reference to kumbaya made me go look it up, since I actually didn't know what the word itself meant. It's Gullah, meaning "come by here." (You probably knew that already, you Rev you.) I love the invocation, the calling together aspect of it. Yeah, I want to get to that part, too. :-)

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May 5Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Fantastic essay. The only way the self-styled elites can win is by dividing the 99%. Your humility is an inspiration and an example of resisting the temptation to engage in "othering".

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Thanks, Pete!

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May 5Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Oh my gosh, Mary! I have so much to say - I'll try to keep it brief. This was stupendous. I laughed, I resonated with so much of it.

I'll never forget the day in 2020 when I said goodbye to FB forever. I closed my account without saving one damn thing and it felt like a cool healing breeze swept over me. Cleansed of all the things you wrote about. I remember letting out a huge exhale. I'd never really liked the energy there but what put me over the edge was a response to a post I'd made about babies wearing masks (I'd stumbled upon dozens of pages of them on Etsy with pacifiers sewn conveniently into the masks.) A young friend vilified me in a long paragraph comment about how necessary they (the masks) were, babies included. My sensitive self couldn’t take the heat and so I withdrew.

Haven't we all learned so much in these past few years? I know I have. About judgment and blame (another half-written post in my Dashboard!) I’m actually grateful that I opened my eyes and started to question everything. And, oh my, when I saw the beautiful image at the top of your post, it seemed familiar! I loved that part in the video so much where Maria talks about her “Facebook.” Thx for the mention, too. :)

When I moved from the NYC area to the country in NH in 2020, my former bleeding heart liberal self was embraced by a Trump-supporting conservative friend much like your friend, Amy. We could talk about things without it becoming vitriolic. Last August, we ran into each other at a farmhouse a few miles down the road listening to RFK, Jr. talk about healing that divide. Great post, Mary! Thank you! 🩷

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Yes! We ALL have learned and grown through this trial, and are still learning and growing -- just like wonderful Maria in her formerly dying forest. It's such a challenge to keep seeing the darkness with gratitude for the light it's engendering, but you and so many others are doing just that. Much love to you for posting that video and for this beautiful comment. xox

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May 5Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Love you, Mary, for such an honest accounting.

We've all been held in these grips of madness - the many many ways, we've been given to solidify (false) identities and pick sides, to stay divided and to deeply doubt ourselves. The fruits of an invisible slave-system (which is what I'm currently writing about).

I couldn't help notice what was leaving in your essay; those identities that adapted to such distortion. We all have them. We're all too big for them and they are being thrown off.

Of course we have to be willing to see them, feel them, and let them go to make room for something better. Which you so beautifully expressed.

More importantly, look what's coming in! A truer, bigger, wiser, kinder and far more expansive Mary.

I look forward to seeing just how BIG you get. :-) ❤️

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Love you, too, Kathleen, for your uncanny ability to intuit the unseen. You're absolutely right, there are identities that are hittin' the road. I can feel it but wouldn't have been able to articulate it as you do in this kind comment. You're a gift. Thank you. xox

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May 6Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Very sweet of you to say, though I am quite sure you can articulate anything you wanted with astute and delicate finesse. (I've seen it!)

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Ha! Okay, most of the time. But sometimes our friends see us better than we see ourselves, I believe...

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May 5Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

facebook destroys people and families.

Oh there are the few that are nothing about "politics" but everything is politics now. Even the

people you think are conservative you realize they just hate Trump and want you to VOTE. They make paintings and quilts and pillows and flags and share them all of them say "VOTE"

I like that okay, but I know they mean get out and vote against change, or back to the evil.

My own family is going through self destruct.

I am nearly 70 and I do not go on social media anymore.

I do not talk politics with anyone.

One statement I feel safe to say is that our US govt just wants our money and more of it so they can play with it. just like the vaccines, we are really not supposed to ask why, or how, just accept it.

All of it is just sad. It is difficult to have a discussion with people sometimes. I have learned to just keep it light and stay away from "opinions" unless they are about something neutral.

Well, I enjoyed reading this Mary. The Bible tells us to be content and not be jealous. It seems like something I have always felt okay with until social media. The devil lurks.

I am glad to read your blog today. I am conservative, but these days people even my family would call me extremist. It is a tactic on the left. Saul Alinsky started it, the Nazi party started it, but perhaps it hs been going on for all the ages.

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I'm sorry to hear that your family is struggling to stay together. So many people are experiencing the same dissolution, whether they are on the left or the right -- whatever "left" and "right" even mean anymore.

Thank you for commenting, and sharing part of your own story. We're all navigating this crazy storm together, and I hope that you find comfort (even if it's cold-ish) to know you're not alone. My best to you, Rosemary.

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May 5Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

What a magnificent writer and thinker and feeler you are, Mary. Your post went to so many places, all essential to the journey and beautifully woven in. As I've mentioned before, envy is my go-to deadly sin. 'Why does this person posting an inane home video have 70,000 views?" "How does this person posting on one niche subject have 14K subs?"

The answer, sad to say, is that hate sells. My posts criticizing a public figure get the most views. My posts on solutions get a few.

What you're saying here, Mary, is unparalleled. No one is telling this story of forgiveness, humility, self-forgiveness the way you are. All the gifts of your craft have been honed for this shining moment.

There's another form of the BlueEff (hilarious!) that I think is a soul network. When you put something like this out there, all the souls in the world breathe a sigh of relief and let go of a little of that hate. It's like balloons dropping ballast. And it only takes a few people to recognize it, mostly because we haven't yet perfected the soul-network 'like' button. Sending soul hugs and soul gratitude from the bottom of my heart.

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Oh Tereza, thank you for the incredibly kind compliment. Really. 😊

And wow, what a FANTASTIC image of soul-balloons dropping hate-ballast. This would make a terrific poem/video short... Yo! Tonika! I'd love to collaborate with you two on something like that, just sayin'.

Soul hugs and gratitude floating back your way, friend. xox

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May 6Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

"When you put something like this out there, all the souls in the world breathe a sigh of relief and let go of a little of that hate." Love this idea.

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May 5Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

This is exactly what I have been trying to say! Expressed so beautifully. Thank you. ❤️

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May 5Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Hear, hear!

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May 5Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Thank you for taking me into your world. We are all so different, yet we are all the same. Humanity. Politics as an identity steals who we truly are. Love the description of the Eff. I got rid of it 4 years ago and it was a great decision. Marketplace would have been nice, but my daughter can do that for me. I refuse to compare and keep notes and tally up who I think is having a better life. Nope. I loved the video and her take on 'Facebook'. We would all be much better off if we all did this. And the idea of planting something different amongst a forest of the dying includes a lesson about much more than a species in a forest. Humanity could stand some of that same thing. Different is not bad. They are ALL trees. We are all people first. Political identity should be so far down the list that it hardly matters when it comes to how we treat our fellow Ents.♥♥

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SadieJay, your take on the video is GENIUS. It reminds me of what Ram Dass said about trees, that each one has its own beauty, no matter how gnarled or twisted. Our job is see and appreciate that beauty, rather than judge it for not being what we think it should be. So difficult in some cases! Thanks for the insightful comment. xox

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May 5·edited May 5Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Came across your essay but accident. . . Lucky me . . It’s the best thing I’ve read in a long time. So real.

Dichotomy makes divisiveness so easy. In a “free country” why do we have only two political parties? Substitute labels and name calling for debate and discussion and here we are. We must learn to outsmart the algorithms and get screen-time under control. Religion could help, but in some ways it’s a mixed blessing. We need to think for ourselves (like you are doing) - but that is exactly what the metastasizing government-corporate thing doesn’t want us to do.

Our own lives are right in front of us, within arms length, so to speak; almost everything else is little more than a distraction. Thank you for your story.

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Thank you so much for the kind words and the excellent wisdom packed into your comment! I agree with all of it, and especially like "Our own lives are right in front of us, within arms length, so to speak; almost everything else is little more than a distraction." Beautiful and true.

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May 5Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

How can you reach so deep within, pull these angsty honest parts about yourself and leave me loving you even more?!? To be fair, this resonates so deeply because you might as well have been writing about my feelings about FB and my theatre friends and their liberal hatred (as of course, I too, was one of them back on the day) and finding the warmth and forgiving embrace of people I would have considered the enemy only four short years ago.

But you killed in this essay, Mary. You speak for so many of us that got cast aside and saw there is no side, it’s all an illusion. And FWIW, I don’t need any accolades or reviews to tell me how fabulous, interesting, provocative, thoughtful, insightful, and inspiring of a writer you are. It’s BlueEff’s loss for not seeing it.

BTW, I told someone on FB that his comments would be more welcome on Substack where the normies don’t breed and where people are capable of having intelligent discourse. I’m tryin to pull more smart people away from Zuck’s clutches. What is FB gonna do if it’s only the algorithms and ads left duking it out?

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Oh Tonika! I clearly have some work to do on receiving compliments; my insides are fluttering with embarrassment. 😂 Thank you.

Yeah, I figured this one would hit pretty close to your home. Theatre communities are so tight -- they're almost more like churches -- so getting ejected can feel like excommunication. I was so moved when you told me that it was many of those same people who donated to your GoFundMe...🥲

So, what did the dude say when you tried to lure him away from FB to Substack?

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May 6Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

He hasn’t responded yet. 🤷‍♀️

Funny that you’re comparing theatre and church. Pretty apt. And yeah, many came to my rescue. 😢 very humbling.

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I've always believed religion and church started out pretty much as one and the same. That's what I was taught in my MA program, anyway. Who the eff knows if it's true...😂

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May 6Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Well I didn’t learn that in my BFA, but then again, college was a blur. However, the devotion part is pretty en pointe in both those institutions. I’ve crawled around on the floor pretending I was autumn. 🤣

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OMG, I can't stop laughing

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May 5Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Oh Mary. I so appreciate your beautiful articulation of a struggle I find myself in as well..how to stay above the black/white, red/blue, Israel/Palestine tug of war struggles surrounding us everywhere all the time. How to resist the provocation to choose, to hate, to blame. I'm still voting for our Divine spirits being re-awakened into love and light. If there's a "side" for that...I am on it. 💗

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I'll join you on that "side," dear Kate. Thank you for this beautiful comment; it means so much to me...❤️

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I have pretty much always been an outcast. These days I embrace it due in no small part to all the hate out there.

I've never joined blueF, not the least of which is I learned that, just like when we were kids, my sister is perpetuating the family tradition of smearing & sabotaging me at every opportunity.

I was always independent politically, with 1 short, embarrassing stint as dem. When Bernie folded, I returned to indie. In his defense, I remember seeing a pic of him at the convention with his grandson in his lap. Hard to say because he was always a bit stooped, but it really looked as though he was trying to protect his gs with his body. His face looked terrified. So I've always expected there were serious threats made, because that is how the elite roll.

I have very few hatreds. I hate liver, ticks, mosquitos & black flies. And I hate lying, cheating, corruption, child abuse & animal abuse. And I hate genocide.

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Thanks for your honesty, SBW -- I can always count on your unvarnished comments. And I really do appreciate your mentioning the photo of Bernie and his grandson at the convention. I've always surmised that someone "got" to him; how many of us could withstand that kind of pressure?

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I would like to think none of us could withstand that pressure. Bernie was almost completely wrapped around his grandson. All I could see of the boy was his eyes just above Bernie's crossed arms...

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May 5Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Fabulous essay. Thanks. ♥️

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May 5Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Mary, being straightforward, honest and courageous is one of your strong points. Kudos to you. You did a hell of a job on this article. It brought to mind my own experience going through those times, which have not yet been neutralized by a long shot.

I can remember watching some of my close friends turn into people I no longer recognized because of the intense hatred they had for Trump and Republicans. They couldn't think about or discuss any other issues because they were so obsessed with hatred for those individuals. I knew instinctively that it couldn't be good for a person's health, mental or physical. Literally, they couldn't "see" straight, behaved in ways that they never would have before, like marching around in pink Pussyhats. In fact, I'm now remembering some of these folks were not even really politically inclined, but turned into hate mongers, and none of them were interested at all in hearing any opposing rationale for what was happening to them. It was very upsetting to watch and endure. Hate is the worst virus, all consuming, and life-threatening. Thanks for this article, Mary. xox

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Thanks so much, Rocket. You've always encouraged me to be honest!

I hear you on the metamorphosis of loved ones. During that time, when it was reported that Trump had covid, one of my family members admitted to me that she checked the NYT multiple times a day, eager to see if Trump had died. (I'm sure she wasn't alone.) As the Rev said in her comment, "Hating is like taking poison and hoping your enemies die."

Much love to you... xox

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May 6Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

"Mary, being straightforward, honest and courageous is one of your strong points. Kudos to you. You did a hell of a job on this article. " 🎯

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May 5Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

❤️

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ho hoo I kin so dig in ta so much ya wrote 'bout! Loved the handmade "face book" that reminds me of old-fashioned scrap-bookin'--my ma used ta do that an' when I wuz a little squirt I made a scrapbook of WHALES--oh, I used ta love whales!... An' those are my aesthetics too--the beautiful paper, paints, the handmade "old" of it all, the wood...lovingly worn.. yup--bee-u-tee-FULL stuff

So, now I've never dun the FB thingy, never had an account--I'd missed stuff the homeskool mamas would post but I'd mostly bug'em in person (oh back in those "in person" days) ta tell me if there wuz anythin' important--a dance, a meetin', a club---it gave me 'bout HALF the info that would'a been useful--but the other half wuz my loss-by-choice. I made peace with it cuz I knew FB wuz a succubus! Time-wize, spirit wize. Just as you found out.

Fer some time the ol' "yahoo" groups were great--a real forum an' far more privit--no public option--an' we learned lots from each other--this'd be fer all sorts of stuff--attachment parentin', waldorf, homeschoolin', local doin's, an' fer me a few special needs groups. When they all headed ta FB I just drew the line... no big bro' stuff fer me--but I wuz mebbe one've THREE mamas that said no in one've our groups--the others didn't git it. Recently a dear old college pal passed away (yup, I think she wuz clot-shotted) but I'd stayed in touch with a few mutual pals via email so I had one've 'em post my mem'ries... an' yet I found it SAD that FB wuz the only "site" of a memorial for such a beautiful soul whose life wuz lost... no gatherin' in person, only some pale online set of collective mem'ries... kinda lame whut it's all come to, no?

Now, as fer the PAIN of seein' others' successes--yup, that's a stab in the gut but I'm guessin' that FB is kinda weaponized thatta way. I hear 'bout the gigs, screenin's, events, shows, castin' calls via the grapevine or the eeee-blasts but I'm kinda grateful I don't see the half of it that's on FB 'er I'd be a green eyed dragon myself an' likely distracted whut besides!

When my younger girl an' I got ousted from our various thee-at-rical & cine-matic pur-soots fer not acceptin' them countermeasures--even sans FB it pained me-- Some've the kids in my DD's professional actin' /singin'/dance groups got off b'way gigs durin' that time--a few together (i.e. they all got cast in one show)--an' I know my girl would'a liked at least the same chance ta audition or git in-- Me? no work at'all too while I wartched friends git it --again' even sans the FB you'd hear-- But ta keep sane I'd find excuses!--fer example there wuz a lotta extree & small part day work on Mrs Maisel show but they wanted hair cuts--an' jabs, natch. So the latter precluded me anywayz, but I didn't git too sour grapes 'bout it cuz I'd look a fright with a "bob" or a "do" (no wigs allowed)--THUS we tell ourselfs stuff, no? I think we gotta do it....

An' yup, the time outs fer raisin' kids thing--I too made my girls my priority--an' lost work an' many an' opportunity but that's also just the pang, the twitch, not a real big "regretsy"--an' ironically now that I kin see how "zey" are takin' pot shots at famblies--I'm kinda glad I follered my heart... But natch, it's HARD ta see friends have sum' purdy big successes (some are household names now!)--that green eyed monster sum' times goin' heck, I could'a dun that better... an' so on...

My younger one still struggles with it--just restarted her voice work an' dance an' she's po'd havin' lost a couple years--she IS behind--but I tell 'er when she's 40 it'll matter less... kinda'... So I'm there with ya even sans the "Face Schnook" as my girls call it (they too are verboten from that an' any social meeeee-DIA)

As far as the red-blue thing--I never wuz hard on the "red folks" b/c I didn't think I'd met any! Grew up with card carryin' "dems"--all my life... I have ALWAYS loved the South so when folks made fun've "hillbillies" I just scritched my head--Southern writers always spoke ta me even after leavin' fer the big cities (Capote's a good 'un there, Tennessee Williams, Faulkner) an' I loved me all the down-home humor I could git--Hee Haw, Minnie Pearl, etc. I took heat fer it--but nobody I knew would EVER imagine wacky me would go sympathetic ta the "red side" (I'm not even purple tho'--I'm not red nor blue, but I sure DO like the red white an' blue)

Anywhoo... I think yer speakin' "volumes" here--an' this stack is far better than the FB "posterboards" of pages... like billboards. The divide & conquer thing--spot-on too... I could add a few ta that list even! Love the story 'bout 'cher friend Amy--yup, we have more in common across these divides than ya'd think... sometimes it's worth doin' that reachin'!

An' let's hear it for the Y print outs! The hard-copy schedules from the local libraries too!

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FB-as-succubus... now THAT's a disturbing but apt image, one that I think applies to jealousy, too! Love that word. 😂

I'm angry on behalf of you, your daughters, and anyone who lost time and opportunities because of mandates. My general belief is that everything is for our highest and best, even the stuff that feels completely wrong and unfair... AND sometimes that's incredibly difficult to embrace. My daughter had to redshirt from her volleyball team because of that, and at the time it was excruciating, but now she looks back with gratitude b/c she can see it was part of the bigger plan. (Which is not to minimize what anyone suffered, or is still suffering. Being able to see a plan can take decades or even lifetimes, IMHO.)

Thanks for the epic comment, Daisy. You always entertain, you entertainer, you. ❤️

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May 7·edited May 7Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

aw shucks + thank ye Mary--I'm not sure "whar" I am re. the idea of a bigger plan or the idear that "whut duzn't kill ya makes ya stronger" an' thus heppened for a reason. In "chewish" they call it "beshert" or destiny--a similar concept--as if it was "meant to be." But when life's tragedies strike (we've had many an' I know were in good comp'ny) -- say like my own granny dyin' from Vioxx (given "preventatively" by her dok-turd)--then it's hard ta say it wuz meant to be... Either way, in the big pick'chur I got no regrets about savin' ourselfs not havin' taken the "countermeasures"--but still, in quiet moments, it makes me a little hot under the collar--less fer myself than fer my girls who I think feel it all more keenly seein' how others got opportunities, etc.--possibly in one case b/c of their absences (even harder to bear). An' some did git saline--I'm near-sure of it, so that too at least feels "unfair." I'm glad yer daughter who had ta redshirt fer volleyball an' struggled with the same kinda emotions is in a good place now too, perspective-wise (an' hopefully she got "ketched-up" with her mates). They do say god/ our creator/ the divine power in an' of our universe will test us... Wull, I never liked tests much--not in skool fer sure. But we muddle thru 'em don't we?

Meanwhile I try ta do a "brain dance" with all've it--the only part I don't question is the divine in all of us human beans--I focus on the real (like yer lady that makes that handmade nifty-keen FB!) whilst land-mine avoidin' some ignoble scenty-mints, focusin' on the positive.

But we're indeed "growin' up"--jus' like you wrote 'bout with makin' peace with the FB malarkey (yup, I still say it's succubus but we don't need ta git sucked under that bus!)--an' the "other side"... I had some bubbles burst too (in a good way) 'bout the "republi-cons" (havin' now met quite a few nice'uns) as well as seein' the less flatterin' current angles of the "demo-craps" (my ol' stompin' grounds as a former "lefty" egads)--politics, a'nuther game an' I jus' cain't play it. (They say 5D chess which makes sense!)

gorsh, that wuz long agin'...sendin' back a ❤️ yer way too!

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I'm with you: "the only part I don't question is the divine in all of us human beans." Funny how I grew up questioning that more than anything, and now see it as more "real" than everything else!

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May 14·edited May 14Liked by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

yup! in fact Betty Boop (my kinda philosopher!) had a whole song called "Be Human" 'bout treatin' others 'n animals with kindness (cuz we'z all purdy special, i.e. divine!) So... we all need a little BOOP!

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Boopism? Boopology? Booposophy? 😂

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boopology has a nice ring! (also boop-de-boop-ology!)

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