Can’t We Be United? Facebook and Politics Don’t Mix

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In the aftermath of the presidential election and especially after Inauguration Day, everyone’s Facebook Newsfeeds exploded with political commentary.

With so many friends posting, I wanted to scream, “Why are you posting that?”

And if they are really truly thinking these things, “Why are you posting them on Facebook?!”

Whether or not I agreed with their posts is irrelevant. Political posts don’t belong on Facebook. Pretty please with cherry on top: Stop posting political opinions on Facebook.

Facebook and Politics

Remember years ago when we were all new to Facebook? We might have encouraged spirited debate but we didn’t go all out to hate and argue and accuse and defame.

Here we are years later. We are going about our lives. We open up Facebook and BOOM… we start seeing all of these political opinions. Here I thought we had so much in common, but wow, we really do not. It’s like a blow somehow. I feel deceived and duped after all this time. What’s with all of these political rants?

Can’t Facebook just be fun and lighthearted? I’m trying really hard to try to move on. It. Is. Really. Difficult. It’s hard to not know what you now know about some people’s views.

I am really doing my best to not Like or Comment on anyone’s political anything, whether I agree with them or not. But gosh, it’s hard! I do admire the people who are so upset with what is our current political climate that they are doing good things. They are doing things to make a difference intentionally. So there is some good coming out of this.

Facebook and politics
Facebook and politics (Photo credit: Olin Gilbert)

Political Rants on Facebook

Even though I’ve lived in many places, including some super-conservative and super-liberal areas, I’ve been shocked at things my Facebook friends are posting. I’ve known many of my friends had very different views from each other.

However, somehow with this post-Inauguration Day posting, it seems almost worse than after Trump was elected. (Maybe everyone was in shock?) I have one friend who posted 38 times with 38 political posts from Inauguration Day morning until the following Tuesday. That’s 38 political posts in five days. Yes, I unfollowed her! I’m sure she posted more the sixth and seventh days, and even today. I will look her up to find out.

Something I do to curb my time on Facebook is to read only the first 10 posts in my Facebook News Feed. Then I go on to click and read all the Facebook notifications. This helps me keep my time on Facebook short and sweet. On Inauguration Day, nine of the first 10 posts in my Facebook News Feed were political posts… 90%! (Aren’t you interested to know what the other one was about? The one and only post that wasn’t political was about someone getting a flat tire.)

Inauguration Day and Women’s Marches on Facebook

The day of the Women’s Marches, I checked the first 10 Facebook posts in my Newsfeed again. Three posts — ranking higher because of all the likes and comments — were my Facebook friends posting about being at the Women’s March closest to them. The fourth post was a Facebook friend’s post how she was in Washington, DC for the march. Another three posts were political.

That left three posts which were about random things:

  • Someone’s dinner at a restaurant
  • Another asking to say a prayer for someone who was injured ice skating (head trauma)
  • A friend’s new puppies. (Yay! Don’t spoiled, precious puppies make everything better?!)

Sure, I’ve unfriended and unfollowed people before, but this time, it seems to be a lot different. People can’t seem to keep their opinions to themselves. And the thing about this election/outcome is that people have very strong opinions. No one is going to be swayed to the other side after reading a post. So why bother posting anything at all?

Sunday after Inauguration Day on Facebook

The Sunday after Inauguration Day, it was really heating up. People must have had a lot of extra time, not being a traditional work day. Many missed the Inauguration Day television viewing and must have gone to their politically-biased “news source” of choice and spent their time righteously commenting about all things politics. That was a tough day to be on Facebook if you didn’t want to be a part of these conversations.

The first 8/10 posts showing up in my Facebook Newsfeed that Sunday were political, including those that were related to the Women’s March. The other two posts? One friend saying “Goodbye for the next four years,” alerting everyone she was taking a break from Facebook. While not political in nature, it was fallout from all of the political postings. The other non-political post was a Facebook friend wishing her son a Happy Birthday.

Monday after Inauguration Day on Facebook

The Monday after Inauguration Day? I was still reeling from everything I read on Sunday so I stayed off Facebook all day…. that’s no small achievement either! But at least I didn’t get aggravated from everyone’s Facebook posts, and I accomplished a lot being offline.

Tuesday night after Inauguration Day on Facebook

At long last, that Tuesday, my Facebook Newsfeed displayed “just” 3/10 political posts! Hurray! Was it finally ending?

(My friend who posted her political opinions 38 times in five days? I’m sure she’s still posting away. I haven’t taken the time to go to her page to find out.)

Why are so many people posting their political opinions?

What happened to fun in Facebookland? What happened to cute pictures of pets and braggy pictures of your children’s accomplishments? I long to see someone showing off their fabulous vacation. I now find myself hunting down certain people who I can count on to post perfect pictures of their perfect kids in perfect outfits. Where are the lighthearted, attention-seeking cliffhanger posts? Let’s celebrate a Facebook birthday. These are the posts I now crave. Please, Facebook friends, post these now so that I don’t have to be annoyed at the political posts so many want to keep writing.

I’m especially stunned at people with professional jobs, in the public especially, posting their opinions. Didn’t we all learn as we entered our twenties and started having adult conversations to avoid all discussions pertaining to money/finances, religion, and politics? How didn’t my peers learn this too? Why is it okay to blast these hot topics out on Facebook?

February after Inauguration Day on Facebook

A month after the inauguration, I had a Facebook friend post he was going to deactivate his Facebook account because he was so disgusted at all the political posts. He said Facebook is supposed to be fun, a community to support each other, not for political statements and arguments. He didn’t want to now think bad things about these people who are quoting from biased “news” sources who disagree what he believes. I’m sure he misses the ease of being in touch with so many people so effortlessly but he was fed up.

Showing a united front on Facebook

Whenever I read a political post, all I can think of is how sad that our United States isn’t united. All the world knows it too. I flashback to a junior high volleyball game. I remember our coach upset because we weren’t being a team. We were down on each other. She emphasized how we needed to display a united front in front of our opponents, our competitors. This holds true today in my kids’ sports. Coaches and parents teach them to be a team, to build each other up, and to support each other. No matter what, kids learn to display a united front and solidarity in front of their opponents.

Yet we as adults… on Facebook… in the newspapers… online… on the radio… everywhere… we are not showing solidarity to other nations. Even worse, there are many wishing our current political leaders to fail. Whether you like President Trump or despise him, hoping he fails is the equivalent of cutting off your nose to spite your face. If he fails, that hurts America. It hurts all of us. Do you really need to be that right? I sure don’t.

NFL players and the National Anthem

Now political dissent has reached NFL players. Keep America united in the news! These football players are role models, making millions of dollars a year. Wouldn’t it be great if they were respectful “at work,” (at their games), in front of their millions of fans… and they did something positive off the field? They can donate or volunteer or whatever to make their point.

Support America by being positive

I’m hoping for so many positive changes. I don’t need to be right in my political opinions. This is much bigger than me and what I think, believe, and feel.

No matter what we really believe, it is important to support our teacher, our coach, our boss, our mayor, our president. United we stand and divided we fall. Yes, it’s a cliche and an old junior high cheer, but it’s true decades and generations later.

Facebook and politics don’t mix

We all love Facebook. We want to continue loving Facebook. Can’t we just keep Facebook positive?

I implore you all, please stop posting your political views on Facebook. Politics and Facebook are a bad combination. Set up an invite-only Facebook group for politically like-minded Facebook friends if you must. Then you can all agree with how correct you are. The rest of us don’t want to read it.

 

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