Election time is coming and if you are on FaceBook that probably means you are about to change your buddy list; you’ll drop some people and others will drop you often without warning. Indeed here are those who post pleas not to discuss anything political and others who constantly post the latest email rumor that makes “the other guy” look bad.
I admit to enjoying political discussions and even engaging in some debating, I like to hear other viewpoints and I like doing the research to back up many of the issues I feel are important. While I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind ultimately I would like to hope that I encourage more discussion and thought.
While I enjoy a good thought-provoking debate, I don’t appreciate it when it becomes personal, I don’t like name calling and foul language, or having my intelligence questioned. And I do get offended when ethnic slurs and outright bigotry works its way into the post.
If you are going to be open to debating the political situation, here are a few tips: by all means THINK or as my dad always said “put brain in gear before engaging mouth”; read what the other person has to say and not just the highlights like they are planning to vote for your favorite candidate’s opponent; especially if they aren’t responding to something you’ve posted there is no way that anything they are saying is personal.
If you are scrolling through your newsfeed and see that oh so perfect post that totally casts the opposing candidate in a terrible and embarrassing light, don’t just repost without checking the veracity (I use Snopes.com a lot) even though it might be tempting. Be sure that you can back up whatever assertions you are making with verifiable sources. And refrain from generalizations about the “people who would vote for [the other guy]. Finally NEVER tell someone to shut up, give it up, or (my “favorite) go back to where you came from — everyone is entitled to an opinion whether you like it or not and they should be allowed to voice it politely.
If you want people to listen to you and think about the arguments you make, try to put it into their perspective. What is important to you may actually be in direct opposition to someone else’s political views. If you can point out the benefits that they would like such as increasing the school budget and adding after school programs (usually a liberal concern) would help lower crime rates (often a conservative concern) as the youngsters and teens would be kept too busy to hang out on the streets.
If the other person insists on nastiness, just back away even if your inclination is to swipe back. And yes there may even come a point where you don’t want or need someone’s malicious and thoughtless words on your page at any time, so unfriend that individual. On word of caution though, don’t unfriend just because you share different views and expect them to want to welcome you back after the election, they might not.
No matter what, if you have made one person really THINK, even if you haven’t swayed them, then you have accomplished something very important.
I’ll leave you with this thought, please VOTE. Yes I have a favorite candidate but I will respect the office and whoever winds up sitting in it — so long as I can believe that true majority rule made that final decision.