The Coffee Table Test

The Coffee Table TestLike many of you, I stayed up far to late Tuesday night / Wednesday morning, watching the election results roll in.  I’m still suffering from an election hangover.  My emotions were all over the place, and any time emotions run high, exhaustion surely follows.  If you had asked me Tuesday morning who I thought would win, I would’ve said “Clinton”.  By 10 pm, I wasn’t so sure.  At midnight, things were looking really dicey.  2 am rolled around and I gave up.  Off to bed I went, knowing that the likelihood of a Clinton presidency was slim.

Wednesday morning, I woke up knowing there were going to be a lot of unhappy people.  I don’t normally hit up Facebook until later in the day, but the morning after election day required a break in routine.  I opened the app on my phone and I was immediately assaulted with a slew of spewing hatred.  Hatred from the people who just spent the last 6 months saying they couldn’t vote for a man who said such terrible things about people.  Is aw friends calling friends racist, bigots, homophobes, uneducated, redneck and a whole list of other hateful words.  FRIENDS calling FRIENDS these things.  I saw friends posting blanket “If you voted for Trump, unfriend me now” statements.  It was ridiculous.

I generally avoid discussing politics in any manner on social media, but I felt inclined to share something.  I posted this to the MMM Facebook Page:

“So much judgement this morning.

We, especially women, live under a cloud of judgement for the decisions we make as parents everyday. We try our best to make decisions based on our beliefs of what is best for our families and our circumstances.

I believe what happened last night with the election was no different.

It is my opinion, and the opinion of many Americans, that neither of our candidates were a good choice. I choose to believe that most people, just like me, had to make a very tough decision yesterday, a decision that was based on what they believe to be best for their families.

Please take a minute to think about that before you start posting Facebook statuses calling each other out, asking people to unfriend you or otherwise passing an immense amount of judgement.

Believe it or not, you’re just spreading the hate you say you were fighting against and putting yourselves on the front lines of what will divide our country even more than it already is.”

About 10 years ago, a woman I’ve grown to admire very much introduced me to the concept of “The Coffee Table” test.  The Coffee Table Test is basically this:

Before you post something online, stop and ask yourself, would I sit down with you – a coffee table between us – and say this to your face?  In the vast majority of cases, the answer is no.  America needs the coffee table test.

Having a difference of opinion isn’t a reason to end a friendship.  Having a difference of opinion is an opportunity, a chance to have meaningful conversation and the chance to learn something new or possibly even see an issue in a new light.

Everyone who voted for Trump isn’t a uneducated, homophobic, racist, woman hater who wants to see our country go to war.

Everyone who voted for Clinton isn’t a man-hating, baby-killing, gun control nut-job.

But one thing they all are?  People.  Real life humans who deserve just as much respect as you do.  So, before you spew hate from either side of the fence, imagine yourself sitting across the coffee table.


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