Category: About Me

Thoughts on Facebook

Over the past few days Facebook has caused a lot of problems in my life. As a prior reader may recall I started this blog to be able to openly discuss my political opinions and opinions on current events out of the spotlight and constant bickering between friends of opposite political and social beliefs. Thus as a rule I tend to shy away from political comment there, and on rare occasion point people here if they want to know my opinion on something. This week however I was taught the hard way that the all powerful social beast that is Facebook can still bite you in the ass even when you aren’t tempting fate if it were.

While the specific details aren’t particularly important the situation spiraled out of control when a random comment was taken to be a political endorsement against gay rights. When a different friend pointed out that my post had not been about the political aspect that was assumed by the first commenter, they were accused of being a “bigot”.  Within a few minutes an innocent comment had turned into an all out attack. I clarified the original intent of both myself and the accused bigot, and asserted that calling someone a bigot is not called for in that situation. (I even pointed them back to my previous post about the “hate chicken” issue a few weeks back)

What frustrated and flabbergasted me most was that despite everyone else who commented on the status making it clear the original intent,  the original commenter remained steadfast that everyone involved was being hateful because of the perceived correlation between the comment and support of an organization that discriminates against gays.  In the end I lost a friend of 18 years over a status about popcorn and I find that simply astonishing.

That same day a friend of mine posted this to his status and I found it oddly appropriate:

“I love that I have so many friends who are politically engaged and aware. However, when it comes to Facebook, I appreciate much more hearing about their personal lives rather than their political beliefs… I feel that in-person people are much more inclined to be rational, civil and reasonable. There is something about this internet that prompts us to be more divisive … I do wish there was a political filter I could turn on.”

In person I know that the conversation that happened on Facebook would not have ended in the way it did because people ARE more rational in person. I have to believe that it would be harder to forget the times that both I and the accused bigot had stood by this particular friend, supported his life choices and loved him for who he was if he had to look us in the eyes. However that is not the nature of Facebook or other social media. All of the hate and prejudice that does get spewed across the internet all blends together and combined with the somewhat ironic faceless-ness of Facebook allows all of us at times to forget that real people sit behind those keyboards and smart phones.

Next time you see someone post something on Facebook that rubs you the wrong way I suggest you take a step back and evaluate the situation. At times we all need to remember that we don’t need to take our own personal axes to grind, or our own soap box pulpits into other people’s lives unless they are actively wanting and seeking that from us. People will have different thoughts and opinions and even if they choose to inappropriately share them (a personal pet peeve of mine) the world would probably be a lot more peaceful place if we just filtered the comment out and moved on with our lives.


About me, and why I’m here…

My degree in Political Science and living near Washington DC have given me the wonderful opportunity to meet an amazingly diverse group of people who have in turn enriched the last several years of my life. The downside of this is the ever present conflict that arises on my Facebook page or at social gatherings any time something of political interest happens. My friends and acquaintances run the gambit from exceedingly liberal to exceedingly conservative, and on both end of the spectrum are very intelligent people with very passionate and well informed opinions on almost every major issue. That said it makes it very hard to feel comfortable putting an opinion out there without feeling the need to apologize to one group of friends or the other (or sometimes both). I like to write in order to process events, but I’ve yet to find an outlet where I feel comfortable doing that without offending someone so this is where this blog will come in.

Step away now if you are easily offended, I promise there will be no hard feelings. I respect people weather or not I think the same way they do on an issue. I believe that differences of opinion, even big ones, do not mean that I can not appreciate, respect and love a person. There are smart people on almost every side of the major issues facing our country and world today, and you can’t really make an informed decision unless you take the time to remember that and consider multiple sides to an issue. That said even if I think you’re wrong, (and at some point I think most people are wrong about one thing or another) that doesn’t mean we can’t agree to disagree. I love political and moral discourse as long as it is respectful.

I’m a libertarian, but for most of my life I’ve identified and voted with the Republican Party. This is both baffling and infuriating to some of my more liberal friends, while my more conservative friends and family are frustrated when I’m not a good enough Republican in their eyes. I don’t think my opinions and beliefs line up well with any major political party or group, and I reserve the right to change my mind when I want to. For the most part what I discuss here is meant to be my opinion, and just that, not an endorsement of any particular party or agenda. I’m also a Christian, however I ardently believe that I can not force someone to believe the same as me, nor should I try. I will voice my religious opinion and will answer questions about my faith as best I can, but I believe that faith is the ultimate choice and an individual has the right to make it on their own with the influence of the divine.

All of that said, here goes my experiment in joining the blogging world. I doubt many will notice but maybe it will at least be entertaining to me.