Thursday, April 18, 2013

It's Funny How Some Things are So Much Easier to Ignore

I get too much political crap in my Facebook news feed. This is coming from someone who considers herself used to consider herself to be somewhat of a political junkie. I think the last national election did me in. I don't mind a good political debate (when I'm not involved; I get too emotional). In fact, I really enjoy them. But people have to actually be debating for me to enjoy it, not shouting at and demeaning each other just to score points.

Some things I'm pretty good at ignoring. When people are constantly negative I can skip right on over their posts and move on to the people who may not always be happy but can usually find something to be positive about most of the time. Others, like anything to do with current events or politics, I zero right in on and stew about. It's a failing.

Only a few of my friends are posting political stuff right now, but each time I see it, I get anxious and queasy. It doesn't matter if I agree with it or not. It makes me sick. And this is not even political 'season'. What's going to happen when it gets closer to an election? I've taken some steps to reduce the amount of it, like removing people from my news feed, but occasionally I feel like I might be missing something from them that I'd really enjoy.

I don't want to close myself off from seeing opposing views either. I don't think the way to make progress with any of these issues is to stop talking. But how do you open a discussion with someone who is so adamant that their opinion is right that they won't even try to see another point of view? How do you have a discussion with someone who thinks it's funny to post something that demeans the 'other side' and treats the views of those who disagree with them as less-than-nothing?

I've seen people post things that they wouldn't dare say directly to someone's face, but for some reason they feel it's okay to share on Facebook. Whether the words come out of your mouth or from a stroke of your fingers on the keyboard, they have power. People may not always respond to what is posted, but they see it.

So, here's an idea - a serious one. Instead of treating people who disagree with you like complete morons and suggesting that the country would be better off if they were wiped off the face of the Earth...instead of posting those "witticisms" that you may think are hilarious but only come off as suggesting you feel you're superior to everyone else...why don't you think of a topic you'd like to discuss and put it in your own words? That shows that you are open to discussion and that you have thought about it and actually can think for yourself. And, if someone disagrees with you, instead of reverting to name-calling, why don't you ask them WHY they think/believe the way they do and start an honest discussion. You won't agree on everything - there are things you will never agree on - but you might be surprised to find out that you have more in common than you initially thought.

And if all of this sounds like a big is. Yes, there are solutions to this. Yes, I have thought about them. Yes, I have even contributed to the negativity myself...but I've come to realize that it just doesn't accomplish anything, other than making myself and others mad. Maybe it's time to take a step back, really think about what it is that's being posted and ask if it's worth alienating people who are supposedly friends. It might not seem like much, but having actual discussions just might be better than posting random pictures that only serve to drive a wedge between people with opposing views. A little civility can go a long way.


  1. Are you talking about me? ;) Seriously, I completely agree with you, and I know I'm bad about getting emotional, too. I really try to see the other side, but it doesn't always work. I posted something on Facebook this morning that says, "I don't want you to think like me..... I just want you to think." I believe that thinking leads to discussion, which leads to understanding. I'm so tired of the bickering I see.

  2. And it's Shelley. Apparently I will always be "unknown" even when I sign in. I'll start putting my initials at the end. :)