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Thursday, November 8, 2012

To Friend or Unfriend, that is the question

In the last few days since the election, I've seen posts on Facebook and heard TV and radio personalities talking about the current trend of people "unfriending" people on Facebook because of opposing political views. At first, I found this rude. Why would you unfriend someone, especially when you're friends with them in the non-virtual world, simply because they post a political affirmation different from your own?

But then today, I found myself wanting to do the same. Many of my friends from back home in Alabama that I've known my entire life have views that are polar to my own. I'm used to this because my husband's views are also polar to mine. But he and I have respectful debate. I'm sure when he's talking with like-minded friends, he might use words that are more colorful than those he uses when he and I debate. In fact, I know this to be true because I've overheard him. Yet, when he and I discuss issues, we use respectful tones and phrases. Just yesterday, I had a political discussion with a friend who holds opposite beliefs and we were able to share our differences with civility.

I say this not to tout myself or those closest to me as being able to politely disagree. I say this (and am posting this blog on Facebook) as a request to everyone to please stop with the venom. Some of my friends are gloating. Some of my friends are spitting hate. Please don't do this on Facebook and Twitter. These mediums are for sharing life and information, not climbing on a soapbox and screaming your opinion into your friends' faces. Maybe I'm an idealist, but discussions as important as politics and the future of our country are just that--discussions. It's pointless to shout into cyberspace and not engage in thoughtful discussion. Yes, that last sentence is going to get me unfriended by some, but I'm okay with that.

One final thought, in Romney's concession speech, he said, "At a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing. The leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work. And we citizens have to rise to the occasion." He also implored his supporters to pray for the President. 

I recognize the seeming hypocrisy of my posting this on Facebook after asserting that it isn't a place for politics. But I hope you see this post as not a political one, but as one where I'm asking for a return to the friendly, sharing-life medium Facebook represents. 

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