OK, let me back up for a second. I am not going to go on a tirade about a specific event or topic within the realm of politics. Not yet at least. This blog, though I’ve had for several years now, is really just in its infancy stage, and I’m trying to figure out whether or not this should be an arena where I should talk about that stuff. That decision will be made soon and will probably be made for me. This links to my social media pages (which is ironic I mention that and you’ll know why soon enough) and I will have to decide whether or not the risk of upsetting people I know is worth it (for a good cause, it always is.)
Now that I have that disclaimer out of the way, I want to discuss the frustration of politics in general or at least, what the act of discussing politics amongst each other has become…it is now nothing but white noise. White freakin’ noise.
Let me elaborate. Today, most of us live our lives online. By that I mean we tweet, we tumble, we instagram, we Facebook, yadda yadda yadda. You get the drift. Every moment, every thought, every little detail of our lives get thrown up on one or all of the social media platforms. I say this as someone who is very much guilty of this. Because of this practice, our core values and ideas start to be condensed into a simple update that is 140 characters or less. Sometimes, we take the extra step to write a paragraph on something like Facebook.
After we do this, what usually follows? 70% of the people who agree start liking and if brave enough, comment. The likes always outnumber the comments and the comments that agree with you usually say “^This” or “Couldn’t have said it better myself, I’m sharing.” Then there are the other sides (not “other half”, because every political topic has many sides, much like a d20 from D&D), where people will (for lack of a better term) attack your viewpoint. What equates to “screaming”, people use their viewpoints to criticize yours. While their intent may be to focus on the post itself and not the individual, many of us take it as a personal attack. I know that is not the intent; the people who are my friends on Facebook are ones I care for and I know care for me. Yet talking politics on something like Facebook is like talking in a vacuum; the only thing that exists at that moment is my post and not my 25+ years of history with that family member or friend.
How many of my friends and family must react when they read my posts on Facebook.
Now, I’m not saying I’m innocent. When I’m scrolling my newsfeed, I do at least one face palm every time. Someone on my feed is posting a meme/article/rant that obviously is wrong or misleading and I just can’t believe they’d post it without looking at all (or any) of the facts. It makes it very hard to stop my clicking finger; my mouse pointer floats over that comment button with excitement as I am getting ready to tear apart their post with so many facts…yet, I realize (sometimes too late) that I am just doing what they did to me just a few days ago. Even though I believe (and often know) that my side is correct, so did they when they responded to my post a week ago. So am I responding to A) Start a grownup dialogue about the issue at hand, B) Post in revenge because they dared to challenge my view not long ago, or C) Just poking the bear? Sometimes its all of them, others just one of them.
We do this over and over again, using social media to speak our complex and intricate view points in small snippets that don’t truly explain all of our viewpoints. They aren’t even good synopsis’s of our views; I feel if they were there would be less online screaming and more online discussion. So that brings me to the point of this post; our reliance of social media to speak for our politics has hampered our ability to discuss the issues we care about as grown ups and in person. You know how it seems more and more people are saying “I can’t stand family gatherings, all we do is talk about politics and religion, so by the end of it everyone is mad at each other!” Granted, that may be something that has been going on for years, but nowadays it seems it is exasperated by the fact we take all of the memes, rants, and updates with us to these family events (“political baggage” if you will) and use them to argue for us. How is this productive? It isn’t! Yet we do it still!
That is my problem with politics today. Not that they divide; they have and will continue to do so. No, my problem is that we have become to reliant on a social media platforms to speak for us and therefore, have become less able to discuss and maybe solve the issues in person, like adults. If the world didn’t rely so much on social media, I would have walked away from them long ago. Sadly, that’s not an option. I have no idea now to fix this problem that I’ve blabbered on about; I just know it is a problem and it infuriates me.
I do know my personal solution though. After writing this post and rereading it before posting, I have come to a decision. I will use this blog to post my political views. However, they will not be sudden reactions to a situation. They will be researched, coherent, and hopefully, able to stand up to scrutiny. Thanks to the template of my blog, the categories are posted at the top of my posts. So, if you have no desire to read a politics heavy post, you’ll know right away to keep on scrolling past. I do hope you take a moment to read what I have to say though. Maybe you’ll agree with, maybe you won’t. If you don’t, that’s ok. We could have a dialogue about it that refrains from using base emotions but instead would be two adults talking. It is possible to do that online. Difficult, but possible. Hey, one can hope right?