Mr. Monkey used to be on Facebook but ultimately deleted his profile, troubled by the privacy issues and, I think, by the nature of the interactions. He isn’t one for shallow conversations, my love, and he has no desire to collect “friends” or friend someone who he hasn’t seen in 20 years just out of curiosity.
I get that and I agree that Facebook is probably mostly shady with how it protects or doesn’t our personal information but I guess I don’t care enough to have that interfere with the fact that I like Facebook. I like seeing the baby pictures of friends across the country, like the little glimpses into the lives of people I went to college with, like trying to guess if my step-son is dating someone by the pictures posted on his page (he tells us nothing, of course. We’ll know he is seriously involved when we get a wedding invitation someday). I never post anything to Facebook that I’d be ashamed to have a relative or hiring committee see so I don’t worry as much as perhaps I ought about the privacy issues. I log-in, post something (usually kid centric as I have rules: no complaining about work, no talking about people I work with, nothing negative about family life, etc) and then scroll through other people’s updates, smiling at cute pictures or funny updates.
Until, with all too much regularity these days, I come to something political. Wait. Not just political. Political and mind bendingly stupid or ill-informed.
And I feel great sadness about how long it is between now and November. Because, woo boy, things are going to get ugly in the land that Zuckerburg created.
Facebook is interesting when it comes to politics because I have friends from all stages of my life, so there is huge diversity of opinion. I have a great many conservative Christian friends from my college days (went to a Christian college), I have friends who dislike Obama because he isn’t nearly liberal enough, and I have friends who live in other countries and so see our politics in a whole other lens.
I like diversity of opinion. I like political engagement. I like discourse. I like being friends with people I disagree with. All good things.
But I think I am about *thisclose* to posting this on my page:
Dear friends: I know who I’m going to vote for this year and I bet you do too. Hopefully all of us adults of voting age are thinking about what issues matter to us and which candidate has views that most reflect our values, hopes, beliefs, etc. I’ve done that, you probably have too and neither of us is likely to vote for the other guy. You and I may not be going for the same guy, and that is okay (yay for democracy and all that).
But here’s the thing: Obama isn’t Hitler. And neither is Romney. And neither of them is a fascist or a wannabe dictator or a sign of the end times approaching. Calling either of them a Nazi or comparing them to Hitler doesn’t change A SINGLE PERSONS mind about who they are going to vote for. Not one single person. What it does do is two things: 1. Exhabit a gross disregard for the horror of the Holocaust and 2. Make you seem like a moron.
No, really. I’m not kidding on #2. I don’t care which candidate you are calling a Nazi. Making that comparison means that you automatically lose whatever debate you think you are in. It means that thinking people don’t have to take your opinion seriously.
So, if you feel like you can’t make it from now to November with out playing the Nazi/Fascist card (for either candidate) let’s just go ahead and unfriend each other now because, really, just don’t do it.
Perhaps a bit long for a status update and perhaps more aggressive than I chose to be in an online space like Facebook, but I think I am one more eye roll inducing status update from doing it.
On a related note, I’m curious…what, if any, are your self-imposed Facebook rules?