Recently a relative posted a comment on a friend’s Facebook wall publicly shaming her and those on her page engaged in a ‘friends only’ political discussion. My relative and Facebook buddy are not friends; they’ve never been. Relative X was able to access my friend’s wall via my mother’s friendship with my friend.
Yeah, me too. But not for the reason you might think.
It’s a new and complicated thing this social media. And as my grandmother used to say: That got me to thinkin’.
I was raised in a culture that advised against conversation about religion or politics. “Don’t be ill-behaved. Never at the dinner table. It’s not polite,” I was told. Free expression was forbidden in our family restaurant for fear of losing customers. “We can’t piss off the Christians.”
I no longer subscribe to that philosophy.
Not talking about essential issues in order to appear polite equals suppression of ideas and discourse. Censorship is oppression.
In America-past it wasn’t ‘polite’ for women to protest; it was considered heresy in the south to speak of civil rights, and in certain crannies of the country engaging in discussion about homosexuality is ‘frowned upon’. People should have civil conversation concerning positions and principles even if it results in disagreement. (Especially if it results in disagreement!) However, the conversation must be conducted without name-calling or belittlement. So if one is able to dissent respectfully why not have it at the dinner table or via social media?
Expressing one’s thoughts is an opportunity to think, to consider, to debate. If one cannot have conversation with their dinner guests regarding the world in which they live, then why have dinner with them?
Having said that (or in this case written it), I don’t understand the fuss folks make about posting political opines on Facebook. As long as one’s thoughts or views are limited to one’s own page and are not posted unsolicited on the ‘walls’ of others what does it matter? It seems no different than posting a sign showing support for your candidate in the front yard of your house or in the window of your apartment. Or, sticking a ‘Jesus Saves’ bumper sticker on the back of your Buick. I don’t choose to follow a car promoting puritan dogma but I’m not going to confront the driver at a stoplight and tell him so. I’m going to blow by him and his bumper sticker.
I got shit to do.
In today’s world many ‘dwell’ online. Several use social media as an extension of their persona or personality. It’s what makes this new world fascinating.
If one is put off by another’s political post perhaps the same argument used for ‘objectionable’ television should be utilized for Facebook –if one doesn’t like what they see, don’t look, turn it off, unsubscribe. If all else fails do the equivalent of blocking the TV channel –defriend. (Or unfriend, which is it?)
Simply put, if you don’t like what is posted don’t drive by the house. Or if you are following, just blow by the bumper sticker.
At least until November 6th.
Or the rapture.
Whichever comes first.