Sunday, November 4, 2012

This is Not Political!

Elections can cause people to behave a little differently. Sure, lots of us want to be heard and inspire others with our convictions. Others (like me) remain 99.9% silent. There’s lots of bashing. It’s brutal. It’s cutthroat. And it saps away our energy. On Facebook and Google+ the bashing tends to become more visual with nasty jokes in a photo.

Are you tired of it too?

Did you know there’s an app for that? But wait, we’ll get back to that.

A few days ago, I read a friend’s enthusiastic post on Facebook. She saw President Obama and Vice President Biden in a crowd of 10,000 during a campaign tour. She wrote “It was a wonderful feeling being there, seeing all of the patriotism, the community, the crowd and not one incident of violence, not one incident of hate was reported.

She went on to say that she was afraid of losing friends because of her strong beliefs and convictions.

Dozens of people responded to her post. Many showed support of the President while others were stronger on the side of freedom of speech. Reading through the comments, I felt compelled to say something. 

Now, I don’t “do” politics within any social platforms. That’s a decision that I have adhered to. However, I was surprised by the statement of losing friends over political preference.  Social media opens up our personal beliefs to a whole other audience beyond our in real life friends. It sometimes appears that people conduct themselves differently when it’s not face to face; perhaps being a little bolder in what they say or do, with a false sense of security as they lurk behind the "wall of computer". 

We've all seen cat fights happen on a social network or two, fueled by strong convictions, right?

Back to our story. After much thought about how to convey my thoughts without revealing my preferences, I wrote: "For the record, I respect everyone's choice whether or not I agree with it. If you have strong convictions for either candidate, I will not try to change your mind or be mean and nasty because of it. I applaud anyone who does their research, has come to an understanding, and has made an educated choice. You're not losing a friend here!"

I received ten likes on that comment. 

Nine of the ten likes were people I don’t know. In the next comment, I received an honorable mention from a stranger: "Gerry that's a terrific comment!"

Great! Substantiation that I said the right thing. I stand by my words above. Seriously, folks. Seeing someone's bashing of a candidate isn't going to affect my vote in the least. Those posts quickly get scrolled away. And, so are 99% of the other political posts. 

Now, for those of you that want to make politics disappear, here are a few options:
What are your thoughts on the outpouring of posts and tweets that are politically related? Do you welcome them and sometimes jump in the discussion or do you want them to just disappear?

Richie Havens sang about freedom. We, as individuals, have the right to choose. Our choices stem from our own free well. And we shouldn't be chastised for them. This applies to subject matter far beyond politics.

For insights unrelated to politics, stop by and visit ModlandUSA. We're also on FacebookTwitter, and Google+Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. I've just been hiding the political BS from my news. It's a real problem. I have a "friend" who keeps endorsing me on LinkedIn. To be polite I should return the favor but, he's a political extremist and has "liked" anti-Semitic articles. I can't have my business in any way associated with that!

Gerry Wendel said...

Thanks for your comment. The "friend" on LinkedIn is already connected to you, otherwise they couldn't leave endorsements on your profile. While it's nice to receive endorsements, the connection is visible between you and your "friend" and can be seen by anyone perusing your profile. Is this a connection that you really want to have?

Anonymous said...

I agree totally. Social media is NOT where I go to listen to political opinions... Or to see candidate bashing of any kind. The divisiveness only gets worse when the cloak of Internet "anonymity" encourages people to say what they would never say face-to-face. Some of my best friends hold entirely different views than mine.... But isn't that what democracy is all about? Take time to talk... Face to'll find you are NOT that far apart.

But PLEASE don't clog my twitter stream! Great post, Gerry!


Kevin Knauss said...

I think it is great if someone wants to show their political colors, even if I don't agree, because I want them to be involved. The bummer is when folks of opposing views write little negative comments. That is bad form.

Gerry Wendel said...


Gerry Wendel said...

Yes, the "clogging" of Twitter streams and newsfeeds. Will it stop after the election?

Shannon Grissom said...

All the political commentary is a huge turn off, and has had an impact on whether or not I return to certain folks pages. Leaning towards not...

Gerry Wendel said...

I vote for that!