Dear Friends on the Left:
I took a break from politics this weekend. Between a busy marching band weekend with my daughter, and both my “Birds” playing (the Ravens and Orioles), it was just what I needed … until I looked at Facebook on Sunday morning. Many of my Facebook friends, however, were not, and the plethora of political comments and memes in my newsfeed continued.
Other than election season, I don’t usually put much political on my Facebook. I don’t hide the fact that I am a conservative, but I am not “in your face” about it … usually. If something catches my ire, I don’t hesitate to post, but you know it’s not my regular style. Election season means all bets are off. I try to show some restraint in deference to you, but I do have a tendency to be more vocal in my political affiliations. I’m sure you may find that annoying, but I’m not the only one who “flares” at elections on either side and I’m sure I won’t be the last.
Generally I see, but ignore, the comments, memes and such that show up in support of your causes through the year. This is mostly because jumping into an online argument isn’t always my idea of a good time, but also because I if I commented on everything that bugged me, I’d never be off of Facebook! Occasionally something that really bothers me will garner my opinion, backed up by research, and discussion as necessary. I usually find that I get a civil discourse and an agreement not to agree. Now though, I’m bothered by some recent comments from a few that don’t stay on point and stray into the personal. Look, I don’t mind having a rational discussion based on researched answers that address issues, but the responses I received weren’t.
Here are some examples of what I mean. Earlier in the week I had commented on a meme that, having been the 30th or so that had shown up on my newsfeed on the subject, irked me enough to respond. I got a private message back from the friend who posted the meme that in essence said “it was a joke, stop pushing your agenda and chill out.” Not wanting to spoil my politics free weekend, I didn’t respond, though it was hard not to defend myself. The whining about this particular subject was beyond irritating. While I appreciated, too, that the chastisement was done in private, chastising me was out of line. I didn’t make it an agenda. You posted the meme, I just commented. Using “agenda” to describe my opinion pulled me up short and stopped me from continuing the “discussion.” A response would have fallen on deaf ears, and quite honestly the subject wasn’t worth losing a friend over.
In another exchange, I was told in a very condescending way that “I know you only vote party.” The unspoken message in that statement was three fold: 1) only idiots choose a republican candidate; 2) if you choose a republican candidate you are too stupid to be able to research the issues and make a choice so; 3) because of that you just allow a party to dictate your choice. I had to walk away from the exchange because I was so insulted by the underlying message I wouldn’t have responded appropriately.
I don’t take sides on an issue or candidate based on a gut reaction. I am careful to research and base my opinion on what my intelligence, moral compass and character tell me is the smart and right thing to do. I don’t allow a party to dictate to me my voting choices. I may not like everything about a candidate, but I will choose the one who has the closest and best answers to what I believe is right, either individually or, in the case of a President/VP, as a pair, no matter their party affiliation. Socrates said “when the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” I’d rather be a winner…
So, my dear liberal friends (and many of you are very dear to me), if you don’t want to hear/read my comments, or feel you can’t respond without making it personal, please consider doing one of the following: 1) ignore my political posts, as I do for many, many of yours; 2) temporarily take me out of your newsfeed for the duration of the election; or 3) post to me in a humorous way, as one friend did, with “you’re killing me with the political posts!” it made us both laugh and lighten up, yet wasn’t insulting or condescending. November will be here soon enough and we will be back to normal. What I would not like is for the invective and disdain to continue. I don’t agree with your choice, but I don’t intimate that you’re stupid for making it. I know that 99% of you feel the same way, and I hope that anyone who sees themselves in this letter thinks before they post. I will try to return the favor.
Image: Like Facebook Headquarters Thumb; courtesy of: Kevin Krejci from Near the Pacific Ocean, DSA