For those of you who are friends with my on Facebook, you might already have an idea which way I lean on this topic. That said, I can certainly sympathize with those who feel differently. After all, many of us (myself included) have stopped watching the major news networks because talk of politics: a.) infuriates us, b.) depresses us, c.) makes us feel powerless, or d.) all of the above.
Posting politics on Facebook itself is something my friends seem to be divided on. I hear jokes like “Facebook should add an ‘Unfriend Until Election Day’ feature”, or “Hey, your relentless Facebook political rantings have made me change my vote! Said no one ever.”
On the other side, you have a group of very passionate, very frustrated people who can never seem to realize why everyone else isn’t more pissed off.
I tend to be in this category.
While I do get the other sides viewpoint, I’m very concerned that a whole bunch of us are angry, or at the very least uncomfortable with the way things are going in our country. The issue, as I see it, is that none of us are angry enough to actually DO anything yet.
Oh, sure, we could do something. We could “write to our Congressman” (I see this as the equivalent of asking the arsonist for a bucket of water), or we could make ourselves look silly and post on Facebook. We know we shouldn’t… but it FEELS like we are doing more when we get on our digital soapbox and yell for all our friends who haven’t set us to “ignore” yet and scream what we believe.
A few thoughts for both sides:
1.) No one is going to change anyone’s mind by posting a talking point or some juicy bit of gossip about the “other party”. You should stop that.
2.) Being closed minded and thinking you have the “absolute solution” alienates people who may feel differently than you do (ie: your friends). Don’t alienate your friends. If you are like me, you need more, not less.
3.) Understand the major news networks are trying to make you mad. If they get you passionate, you keep watching. If they have a story, they will make it seem much worse than it is to get you passionate.
1.) If George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, or any of the other influential men in our history who’s actions changed the world were alive today and got on Facebook, you can bet they would not be posting pictures of kittens or their dinner.
2.) Social media is a powerful platform and a great tool to discuss important topics that have an effect on us all. Guess what topic is near the top of that list?
3.) Thomas Jefferson once famously said “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” I believe he said that because of another great quote by Edmund Burke: “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.”
Today I had the opportunity to watch an interview of someone I consider to be a true American Patriot, and who felt his duty to the truth and to all of us outweighed his own self interest. He sacrificed a high paying job and a comfortable life to live in fear for the rest of his life, just so he could tell us that the US Government was spying on me. And you. And all of us.
His name is Edward Snowden. He is a little younger than I am. He worked for the NSA and got very uncomfortable with his job. As an employee at the NSA, he felt that “The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to.”
That “latitude” allowed him to read my emails, listen to my phone calls, and who knows what else.
Coming forward cost him a lot. “Yes, I could be rendered by the CIA. I could have people come after me. Or any of the third-party partners. They work closely with a number of other nations. Or they could pay off the Triads. Any of their agents or assets,” he said.
Edward knew the cost, but he DID something. He gave up his girlfriend and his $200k a year job and his comfortable life so we could know just how far the government has gone. He felt it was important for us to know because this is a big deal.
I, personally, feel its important for us as US citizens to decide just how far we are comfortable with the US government trespassing into our lives before its too much.
So ask yourself. Do you choose not to post your thoughts on politics to Facebook in a respectful way? Do you try to engage your friends on the topic of politics?
If no, why?