I could say it’s because I like watching them froth at the mouth when I get all liberal on them (aka socialist) but in reality, I tend to be the one frothing at the mouth when the make some inane comment like Obama is the antiChrist.
I grew up in Tennessee and if you haven’t, you can watch a few episodes of King of the Hill to know what my life was like. We had pickup trucks, guns, confederate flags, and used fireworks illegally and irresponsibly.
When I found Facebook (which, by the way, I think may be the work of the devil) I reconnected with a lot of my friends from high school. It’s funny having conversations with people on the Internet who wouldn’t have given me the time of day back in 12th grade.
Some of the people have really changed. The shy, quiet ones have come out of their shells. The brainy ones have found their place in the world. The popular ones are now “just” moms and dads with minivans and teenagers. The freakiest thing by far is the ones who are grandparents. In my mind I am only a few years–okay, maybe a decade out of high school. There is no way any of us can be grandparents. But the sad fact is, I haven’t seen high school in, as The Boy said, “in a quarter of a century.” (Yeah, I grounded him for that smart aleck comment). If one of my friends had a baby at 20 and they had a baby at 20, it’s really easy to see how the 2 yo “baby” on my friend’s Facebook page is really the grandchild. But I still do a double-take. They are talking about being empty nesters while I am still in the potty training days.
The one thing about Tennessee is that (and I’m generalizing here–not making any prejudicial slurs) there are many down there who are all Guns, God and Glenn (not to be confused with Marilyn Manson’s Guns, God and Government). The recent news about that little healthcare reform project has worked some of my friends into a bit of a frenzy.
Oh, how the devil can cite scripture for his purposes. These people are somehow under the impression that healthcare reform is a sign of the coming apocalypse. And they feel that Facebook is a good place to share their feelings of doom.
So what do I do? It depends on who you ask. My husband says I’m simply wasting my time trying to convince them that I am right and they are wrong. My liberal (aka Socialist) friends say it isn’t nice to tease the slow kids (see, this is how we get a bad reputation–for saying things like that). Some warn that I’m messing with the Feng Shui of FB by continuing to fight (converse) with people whose opinions are so different from mine.
Well, I do engage them. And it usually doesn’t go well. I cite facts, they say my facts are a lie. They cite facts and when I disprove them, they call me names. It is obvious that neither of us will change our minds.
But I believe that surrounding myself with only those who agree with me is counter-productive. It make you stop asking questions. You become apathetic. The fact is, I don’t agree with everything that is in the healthcare bill. How can I? It was written by committee by people with myriad objectives and alliances. Isn’t there some quote about knowing something is a good compromise when neither party gets what they want and neither party is happy with the outcome? I would say that the healthcare bill is an excellent compromise.
One thing that is really disturbing me lately is the amount of hatred that seems to surround political issues. Unlike youth groups, we need more purple. [Sidebar: in youth group, boys are blue and girls are red. When they attended events, you don’t want any purple–e.g. blue and red touching]. In society, we need more purple. We need the GOP to see where the Democrats are coming from. I don’t even like those labels because now we have the tea party and the green party, libertarians, constitutionalists, ad nauseam. You can’t even say conservatives and liberals because there is so much baggage around the terms. I can be very conservative about some issues and very liberal about others. There are some places where I don’t think the government belongs and some places where they do need to take more of a stand.
I didn’t like how when people protested some of Bush’s actions and policies they were shouted down as being terrorists. Disagreeing with the President was seen as un-American. Now those same people who told me not to speak out again Bush are accusing my President of being the anti-Christ and saying it is their right and duty as a US citizen to protest. Where’s the fairness in that? You don’t like how much healthcare reform is going to cost? I don’t like how much the war is going to cost. You didn’t like how the healthcare bill was passed through reconciliation? I didn’t like how we went to war without Congress’ approval. (sorry, authorization of military force).
During the last election, the news sites I visited the most were The Huffington Post, The Drudge Report, The Daily Kos, and Fox News. It is a miracle that my head didn’t explode. But I felt it was, and is, important to look at more than one news source. When I would get emails like these or these (or these) I look up the facts before I “FW: Fwd: ! Please read and forward!! Urgent” I use factcheck.org and politifact.org before I accept what others are telling me. Because I research these things, I will admit, I rarely change my mind when I “talk” to some of my conservative friends. But that’s because I feel like I’ve done a lot of research before I’ve formed my opinion.
In a perfect reality, I wish the government didn’t need to mandate safe products, safe food and healthcare reform. I wish the government didn’t need to have so many regulations in place. But I don’t believe that corporations will do the right thing if it isn’t directly tied to profits.
For all my passion (and my counterparts’ passion) I was a little chagrined to see the following posting An Honest Facebook Political Argument. Are we really that transparent and stereotypical that we can be effectively summed up in one satirical page? Gay slur.