This is a continuation of sorts of my American Idle politic-ish post from earlier this week... and a further reasons why I am getting a bit sick of politics in that the divide only seems to be getting worse between the political parties and their, if I can borrow a Facebook term, their "fans."
One of the side effects of the Internet I think is that it promotes group-think as we tend to gravitate towards those with a lot of the same beliefs. It seems to get to a point where you start thinking that all you think is "right" since all these people around you are saying the same things and/or cheering your own thoughts on. This can be via the good 'ole fashioned blog or even just a thumbs-up or comment on Facebook.
I have certainly experienced this first hand. Since I've been blogging (circa 2003!), I have the great fortune of expanding my circle of friends, even if they are the new-world variety that's not so easy to meet up for a dinner or coffee, because they live hundreds or thousands of miles away. But to get to the point, most of these folks have been Democrats thanks to this blog having a pretty gay sensibility to it (though I've never considered it a "gay" blog).
But over the years, a few Republicans have slipped in... and even more so on Facebook, particularly when a bunch of us who participated in a now defunct tennis contest formed a group on that social networking site. I don't initiate "friendships" with people I don't "know" (though this definition has loosened up in today's online world... again, "know" not meaning basics like "has ever met in-person"), but a bunch of these tennis folks requested FB friendships and since it was all pretty new (for me) at the time and I certainly needed to up my friend numbers I thought, no harm!
Well, it didn't take long, especially during this past presidential election, to figure out where people stood politically. It was kinda of fun to see/read the "other side" and ultimately I think it made me more respectful as it made me pause before I posted anything of a political nature... again, I am of the "we can disagree, without being disagreeable" camp. Now, I won't always say I was successful, but I tried... and try not to name-call, something that increasingly made me cringe even when folks on "my side" do it. While I certainly think someone holding up a "God Hates F@gs" sign is hmmm... let's say a "hate-filled religious @sshole," I think calling said person has a way of shutting any and all communication down. Granted one will never (ever!) make progress with someone like that sign-holder, but I think the name-calling (again, however well-earned it may be) does a whole lot of collateral damage with folks on the periphery.
Likewise, I think it's wrong to disrespect to the office of the President, period. While I certainly had many, many, many issues with the previous administration, he was the president. While I might have found an amusing aspect to it, I would have still thought it very wrong someone yelling out something like "You lie!" to George W during an address to Congress. One of the very first FB de-friendings was when one of these contest folk who status'd something to the effect of "xxx applauds the Fox Network for refusing to carry Obama's speech tonight." First, I thought it was wrong for Fox not to air it (this was the main network, not the "news" network... and again, not bias here as I think MSNBC is a "news" network too!) as it was showing a bias and a disrespect to the president, but that this person took the further step calling it "applaud-worthy" was just something unacceptable to me.
Last week, I deleted another "friend" just last week on similar grounds. The gist of his status was "thanking our wonderful president" for a 500-point drop in the stock market, adding he should be shipped off to Haiti along with other "Dumbocrats." Oh, where to begin!
Well, for starters, conveniently ignoring the 4,000 points that Dow has gained since last spring... to any kind of joking about Haiti... and while I am honestly think I am pretty slow to pull out the race card (and, likewise, pretty unqualified to do so as a white male)... how can one not see the racial implications of "shipping" him to the first black-led republic and a former slave colony?! I could laugh off the Dumbocrats tag, but given the rest it was just another proverbial straw on the camel's back.
I gave him some time to re-consider/think it over, but after it was still there a couple of hours later... with even receiving a "thumbs-up/like" for this status, I hit the "X"/delete button on our "friendship." Looking back, I should have expressed how offensive I found his status before deleting him... but alas, I did not... plus I have my doubts he has even noticed (or cares) that I'm gone (unlike my measly 32 friends, he had 200+). It was an easy delete, in large part, since he was even pushing the "being an acquaintance" line in my online life.
Of late, I've been more conscious of trying to eliminate this kind of negativity from my life... and I am not just discriminating on political allegiances either. While, I'll admit to lurking and/or checking in on them from time to time, but there are several liberal folk that I have moved out of "automatically pop up" line of vision, be that RSS feed or Twitter main screen (love the new lists!) or hiding them from my FB live feed. I still have more progress to make and be better, but I think I have made steps in the right direction.