Friday, October 01, 2010

Hide and Seek

Yard signs cropping up everywhere, politicians dominating the news cycle - it's that time again.  While I haven't actually been posting all that much here, I have been commenting on news sites and driving myself crazy keeping up with the latest political madness.

But there's a new trend that I find by far the most annoying:  facebook proselytizing.  See, I use facebook mostly to keep up with old friends and get invites to get-togethers.  I read blogs or websites for my news and debates.  I don't like crossing the streams, which is why I de-linked the blog from FB.  But some of my friends are more, erm, enthusiastic in their political views.  And apparently think that they should share all kinds of links, many of which make my stomach do flip-flops with their inaccuracy. 

To be fair, I've commented on a few of these.  Usually the ones I agree with, and usually something benign.  But in general, I'm vehemently against politics on my wall and I'm getting more and more annoyed with it.  In my opinion, it's rather like inviting someone over to your house for a dinner party and springing an Amway pitch on them.  Particularly if the friend reading it diverges from your core beliefs.  I mean, would you walk up to some friend in the street and start trying to convert them to your religion?   

This is made worse, in my opinion, by the way that politics basically IS becoming a religion to many people.  Questioning the primary tenets of the party platform is heresy.  Those who disagree are evil and should leave the country immediately.  It's a cultural war for them.  For me, this is doubly so because I believe in balance so everybody hates me.  A balance of free enterprise with reasonable regulations and social responsibilty will often work to maximize benefits for all.  The question then is only one of what would be best privatized and what would be best handled publically, and which party is willing to do what.  Neither approach is inherently good or inherently bad.  Neither is essentially "American" or "Unamerican."  None of it is worth vilifying the other side or getting angry about.  It's just what works.  Unfortunately, I see that level of civility in discourse as almost nonexistant in today's rhetoric.  I see lots of spin and very few facts.  I see lots of anger and very little listening.

Which brings me back to the facebook posts.  If you're going to put up something that purports to fact-check the other side while ignoring your own side's many transgressions, or put up partisan posts that are openly antagonistic, it annoys me.   Perhaps one should think before posting:  would this offend my (conservative/liberal/religious/atheist) friends?  Would I walk up to them on the street and say it to them, using this language and this tone?   I'm not saying you need to be silent, just polite.  These are your friends, after all.  If you wouldn't say it to them on the street, don't put it on their wall. 

Meanwhile, I'm making ample use of the HIDE button until after the elections.

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