A couple of thoughts before I (attempt to) take a break from the political posts (HOPEFULLY; fingers crossed) for what I’m intending to be a good long while; I’m not getting off FB completely, just steering away from the politics:
I’ve always tried to be fair with my political posts and in my interactions with people who comment on them. Key word, “try”; I know I’ve been abrasive and terse from time to time, but not often and never outright malicious, and certainly not “hateful” like I was accused of being just this morning; you’re mileage on that statement may vary, probably depending on your political point of view. But I’ve ALWAYS accepted everybody’s sincerity when it comes to their beliefs. I just realize there comes a point where you reach an impasse with somebody on a given subject to where it’s useless to continue talking about it, because then you’re just talking in circles.
I get enough people who tell me publicly, or privately via Messenger, and quite often when they see me in person, how much they like and enjoy reading what I write…even when they disagree with me. And I get that last a lot more often then you’d expect. That tells me that I AM being fair and respectful with what I’m saying. And I take that very much to heart.
Finally, try a little empathy. It’s easy to demonize people who don’t share your point of view and to make them into this monolithic “Other” to be despised and disdained, as I KNOW I have friends that tend to do this. Accept other people’s sincerity. I have black friends, gay friends, Jewish friends, and Hispanic friends among others who are genuinely scared about what the forthcoming Trump presidency means for them and their families. They are NOT being sore losers who need to just “get over it”. Assuming that you’re a white voter who supported Trump, understand that while it’s tempting for you to just chuckle and hand wave away their concerns and to say that they’re just being silly about it all, this is a very real concern for them. YOU as a white person are generally not going to be subject to these same fears, so it’s not “real” to you and it’s easy to dismiss it. We’d all be wise to stop seeing the world as Us versus THEM and to see it as being that we’re all just trying to make our way in the world.
I’ve seen people complain about how tired they are of all the political posts since the election and how everybody needs to drop it and move on. I get it; I’m trying to wind it down, myself. But whenever I feel compelled to say something about current events, I will; you can take it or leave it.
I still don’t get what people mean when they say we need to “come together”. That’s easy to say when your side won. I just think everybody simply needs to be cool with each other. That’s all. Just be cool.
All the people complaining about the Electoral College and how it sucks and needs to be abolished in favor of the popular vote: Where’ve you been the last 16 years? You weren’t worrying about it when Obama won two terms. Don’t just complain when it works against you(Gore in 2000 and now Clinton in 2016); changing such a fundamental aspect of our electoral process is something that will take years to effect, including elections when your side wins. Don’t just forget about it if a Democrat gets back in the White House in 2020.
Someone reminded me recently of how strongly I felt when I voted for John McCain in 2008. Oh, that surprises you, does it? It’s true; in fact I’ve voted for both parties plus independent (Ross Perot) since I’ve been old enough to vote. In 2008, I was very wary of the cult of personality and this sort divine hero worship that had built up around Barak Obama, and I was instinctively repelled by that. I never thought him to be anything other than just another politician, and I mistrust the notion of that Hero archetype who’s going to come and save us. I call it “chasing JFK”.
I eventually came around on Obama, once he took his licks and was humanized, so to speak. I believe him to be a good man who did a good job as President. (And before any of you take it upon yourselves to interject about what a “disaster” he was and how “horrible” a president he was, SAVE IT. Like Negan on the Walking Dead, I WILL SHUT THAT SHIT DOWN. This isn’t a post debating Obama’s success as president; it’s entirely and solely my view on him in general. Got it? I WILL SHUT…THAT…SHIT…DOWN.)
Anyway, my larger point being, I’m naturally wary of the Hero/Savior archetype. I mistrusted it about Barak Obama in 2008 when everybody was just gushing over him being this “transformative” figure who was going to Heal the World…and you can DAMN WELL be sure I mistrust it about Donald Trump today in 2016. I haven’t yet begun the process of re-following most of my Trump FB friends just yet, but the ones I retained all along, some of them have expressed that exact notion of Trump the Demigod, our “Leader”, who only wants “what’s best for all of us” (exact term and quote I’ve seen), and implying how everybody who’s upset that he won are somehow being disloyal in addition to being sore losers.
You know what Hitler’s official title was? Fürher. You know what Mussolini was called? Il Duce. You know what those titles translate to from German and Italian, respectively, into English? LEADER. North Korea’s ruler is called “Dear Leader”, for that matter. Trump will be our President…but he is NOT our LEADER. The term has strong fascist connotations in this context. I know some of you will scoff, but I feel very strongly about this. He will and should only ever be merely Mister President. I’m giving Donald Trump a chance, but I WILL remain skeptical and critical of what he does until proven otherwise.
Just a few more weeks until this clusterfuck of an election is over. Hopefully. I mean, hopefully it’s clear cut and indisputable, and HOPEFULLY the loser—AHEM, cough, cough—concedes and doesn’t incite violence acts—AHEM, cough cough. I was talking to some friends at a party last week, and something got said that was very profound: If it was ANYBODY else but Trump, the Republicans would probably have this election in the bag.
Despite some who claim I’m a liberal—on the apparently damning evidence that I don’t like the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party, nor do I like Trump—I am actually pretty moderate in my politics. You don’t get to define me, jackass. I’ve said this before, but 20 years ago my politics would have been solidly center-right; remember there was a time when Colin Powell was considered a legitimate contender for the Republican nomination in 1996. That’s my round about way of saying if the Republicans had nominated someone like John Kasich, or even Marco Rubio (Ted Cruz remains a stretch for me)…I’d seriously be leaning into the Republican column.
I’m sure some of my reasonable friends on the right will now try to sway me with Trump’s policies being similar to Kasich’s or Rubio’s, etc, yada yada…save it. Bottom line is, I can’t trust him not to fuck this country to holy hell, nor rely on the “grown ups” in the Republican Party to rein him in. I don’t even think he really WANTS the job; it’s just one gigantic ego trip he’s been on and I doubt even he thought he’d get this far. Now he’s too far in it to quit, but since he doesn’t really want the job, he just keeps playing to his base without even trying to bring swing votes in. At least with Hillary, I feel she can actually do the job competently, flaws and all. Not the most resounding endorsement, but there you have it.
So I just unfollowed several people from my FB feed, some of whom I’m actually friends with in “real life” and who I think well of, or at the very least I am personal acquaintances with. I mean, I get that you feel the way you do about current events and politics, and you have every right to post what you do…but I really don’t need it clogging up my newsfeed, especially since the posting has ratcheted up feverishly as we enter the final weeks of the election, but it’s the same old predictable shit over and over and OVER—yes, we get it, you hate so-and-so with the fire of a thousand suns and you have no shortage of memes and links to share to prove it…but more importantly, I just don’t want to be tempted into posting some kind of rebuttal and end up down the rabbit hole of a fruitless debate.
My question is this: How many of you take the view that it’s better to just unfollow and still stay FB friends, or do you think unfollowing defeats the point and should you just unfriend that person and be done with it? How many of you would feel insulted to find out I unfollowed you because of your political posts? Remember, I got unfriended by that very reasoning before. To me, unfollowing is just a prudent way of avoiding unnecessary conflict with a person, while unfriending is kind of like burning bridges and saying “fuck you, asshole”. If I run into that person who unfriended me out on the street—who once upon a time was a close personal friend—I’m not sure how I would act toward them…”Uh, hi?”
So, what do you think?
I’ve seen a few people make posts to this effect recently, and I agree with them: We all realize that none of our political posts ever changes anyone’s minds, don’t we? I’m starting to see a more frenetic pace of political posts from those FB friends I haven’t unfollowed but whose politics I don’t share. But if what you’re posting is meant to “educate” people about the vileness of such and such a candidate, you’re wasting your time.
I mean, I’m not saying don’t bother, because everybody should post about the things that matter to them. I have and will continue to do so. I’m just not deluded into thinking I’m making a difference when it comes to those who disagree with me. The most I hope for is that people who DO agree with me are encouraged by seeing someone articulate what they believe—I get quite a few private messages saying so—and maybe I can get people who are on the fence to think. (And I brace myself against those who disagree with me trying to hijack my comment thread with bombastic talking points, lol.) Having said that, I’ve been struck by the number of people who’ve told me privately that, while they don’t agree with everything I write, they still enjoy reading what I have to say. Maybe that means they think I’m being fair? Or am just articulate and write well? Whatever it is, it’s nice of them to say.
I was criticized this past summer and de-friended because I wrote about unfollowing people whose posts were too obnoxious. I don’t unfollow to disrespect people, or to shut them down, or to deny them their right to speak; I just prefer to avoid being tempted by their posts into getting into a long-winded debate that sucks up my mental energy but ultimately does nothing to change anybody’s minds or even to make them consider a different point of view. Tell me that when you see somebody post some obnoxious claim that you don’t hover the cursor over the comment box to refute them. I call that circling the rabbit hole. Gotta make a saving throw versus Wisdom to avoid diving in (you D&D nerds will get that reference, heh). Just better not to have seen it to begin with, right?
So long story short, knock yourself out with the political posts, but understand that in most cases we’re all just preaching to the choir.
Because what Facebook needs is yet another political post:
I do wonder how many people are still genuinely undecided between Clinton and Trump, to the point where the debates (both the actual presidential ones and people arguing on social media) might influence them one way or the other. It seems to me that everyone who is voting for Trump has already committed to him, and the undecided voters are really just conflicted about whether to hold their noses and vote for Clinton, or vote third party or even write in, say, Bernie Sanders. I just think it’s hard to believe that people at this point are still weighing Clinton vs Trump per se; it’s really got to be Clinton vs third party/write-in for the undecided voters. That’s just my intuition on the matter; I haven’t really researched who the undecided voters are.
In all fairness, I still accept people’s sincerity in maintaining their support for Trump. The way people who don’t like Hillary for all her faults think she’s still a better option than Trump is effectively no different than those who continue to support Trump despite his lechery because they think he’ll still be better than her. That’s where we’re at this election. To each their own; but I’m not going to burn bridges with people for their decision/perspective on this matter. #Election2016