Facebook Face-off

Oh hey, Facebook Universe. You don’t like what I have to say?

Unfriend me, please! Or, why not get those juices flowing and engage?

Our decision to dismiss or discuss current political issues is a freedom and a privilege. It’s almost the equivalent of exercising our right to vote or not.

Newsflash: we are not protected inside a giant bubble floating high above and away from all the issues that need active correction and discussion. We can’t dip and bob passively in the wind while powerful people relentlessly seek ways to destroy the good stuff below. We do not revolve around the sun blissfully separated from what is happening in our country and across the world.

“The world” isn’t just out there somewhere, it’s here. And it is our job to think about the plight of humanity whether we want to clock in and roll up our sleeves or not. New policies, laws, and fund shifting will affect all of us in one way or another.

But, it is so very easy to not think about it, right? To simply push away all the negatives that make us feel powerless? It feels nicer to just go about our lives and not worry about what will be, or could be if and when those who hold all the coins, the ones we elected to make the decisions, are left unchecked.

When we put future probabilities (and atrocities!) out of our minds, we are choosing to exist inside walls of denial, the “parlor of entitlement,” especially here, in the United States. Many of us have had the luxury not worrying about anything except what is happening in our immediate lives, so why do we then also need to stress out about our President, or the direction our country is headed?

There are so many things right in front of us that don’t require a strong opinion, and it feels good. We don’t have to declare our convictions, and therefore we don’t have to endure criticism or challenges to our thought processes.

On Facebook, for example, it’s super easy to simply post fun party pictures, gardens, meals, trips, and our kids doing random, silly things (I sure do it!). Here, we can project our happy, unaffected lives.  We can hit the very benign “like” button, and smile and sip our coffees inside our ignorant bliss. It’s easy to roll our eyes and be annoyed by people (like me!) who often use Facebook to voice a political opinion. We are all exhausted by political posts and ongoing “Facebook Wars” It’s easy to want it all to just go away.

While we gleefully enjoy the fluffy posts in our news feed, I must ask you this: What purpose do they serve? How are they of benefit? Fluff is good, don’t get me wrong, but doesn’t it get just a little bit boring too? All that stuff that doesn’t require thinking?

Can it not also be a good thing to have an opinion, and stand up for what we believe?

Why does it annoy our friends people when we  make political statements? And who cares if it’s on Facebook? It used to be that religion and politics were off limits in polite conversation, and most of us who engage in debate are met with backlash and vehement arguments. But, why can’t we agree to discuss our viewpoints respectfully?

I fully believe that respectful dialog manifests intellectual juices. Thinking for ourselves is a divine freedom. When our juices are flowing, our thoughts might also turn into words, and those words could turn into the passionate action that fuels change. Action is what we need.

Some things to keep in mind during a political “Facebook face-off”:

It’s absolutely okay to have an opinion,
as long as we look at and study both sides of the argument,
and back up convictions with legitimate research.
We should be prepared to peacefully pull out of a conversation that gets heated or derogatory,
remember we are arguing the issue, not the person,
and it’s okay (we are not stupid) if someone who has done their research convinces us to change our mind.
Active discussion creates way more common ground than division. Discord makes the world go ’round. Without it we remain stagnant and fully stuck in our ideology. We also remain falsely safe.

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