Alternately titled, “Airing Grievances.”
Someone I know was unceremoniously (and possibly wrongfully; I don’t know) fired from her job a little while ago.
She’s not taking it well.
This has been difficult for me because it’s brought back all of the feelings I had been working so hard to compartmentalize over the last seven months. Hearing about what happened to her brought them all rushing in again – the anger, the disappointment, the pain and frustration. She’s coping with all of those feelings, too, and it’s been hard watching her go through that while I work on repackaging all the yuck that her dismissal brought back up for me.
The difference between her and me, though, is that I’ve been dealing with my ugly feelings in a mostly quiet, mostly private way. She’s decided to take her anger public, though, and has launched a pretty forthright campaign on facebook, where she’s still “friends” with a lot of people at her old job.
I’m still trying to work out how I feel about that.
On the one hand, I admire her. She is fighting against an injustice and making public those policies and behaviors that create an untenable environment. She’s trying to spur the people who are left to action; she wants them to see what she sees, not just the nice, polite, politically correct face that gets put on for outside observers.
On the other hand, I’m made really uncomfortable by the raw and bitter that she’s willing to air in public. I’ve been so engrained to be polite – to deal with things “through the proper channels” – that this kind of in-your-face campaign is foreign to me.
Some of the people still at her old workplace have logged in to comment – and to reprimand her – about some of the things she’s posted, and I’m betting that there’s an even larger conversation going on offline. One person exhorted her to be a “grown-up” and “move on,” and it’s all I can do to not chime in to say, “Hold on a second; since when is it “grown up” to just shrug off bad behavior? Isn’t the whole point of adulthood to stand up against what you think is wrong and NOT leave it for the next person to have to suffer?” but I’m not sure I’m willing to wade into the conversation at all.
I can’t decide how I feel about this tactic of hers. Part of me – and I’m going to admit here that it’s a pretty big part of me – applauds her for doing this. I keep going back to the idea that Dr. King highlighted in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail in which he asked about how we are best to address our grievances when the authorities whose job it is to adjudicate those grievances are the offending parties. I keep going back to the idea that silence always benefits the oppressor, and that evil triumphs when good men do nothing. I keep thinking that she’s right to stand up and scream, loudly and persistently, about the wrong that she sees, and that she’s right to expect people who are still in the system to take a long, hard, critical look at what she’s yelling about and then maybe do something about it. At the same time, though, I can’t help cringing at the bluntness, the bitterness, and the pointy bits.
In this age of social media, IS there a middle ground anymore?