Facebook has become an unsafe space for me in the course of the last few months… I used to love logging onto my site and seeing pictures of my far-flung friends and family members and catching up with their lives, however briefly. I have an uncle that has lived within 15 miles of me for most of my life, and he recently moved with his wife to the D.C. area. To say I miss him is an understatement of epic proportions. Facebook has been one of the easiest ways for us to keep in touch, because neither of us always has the time for a phone call (not to mention the time difference). So what exactly has changed my opinion, you ask?
The simple answer is politics, though of course that isn’t the whole problem.
Before the recent Presidential election, people were fairly polite on Facebook. They trolled each others pages and left the occasional comment. They wrote happy greetings and posted pictures of their smiling children and grandchildren. There are still a few people that do this, and I cherish even the pictures of drunken stupidity because at least there is fun being had. Now, most of what I see when I log onto Facebook are inaccurate memes with Obama as the villain and rants about gun control (either for or against). The deep cultural divide in our country is played out every day in the very place I used to go to escape from such ridiculousness.
I have a former boss who once posed the question, “Isn’t Facebook like a cocktail party? Politics and religion are faux pas.” At the time I naively disagreed. I didn’t understand why adults couldn’t politely discuss their beliefs in a public forum. I have since learned that these topics are not fodder for polite discussion. There are of course, those in the minority who are capable of having an adult discussion, but it seems like so many others are unable to reign in their passion long enough to even hear the opinions of others.
And we wonder why our leaders have such a hard time agreeing on anything?
I still haven’t figured out whether it is better to just avoid Facebook altogether, or to delete those that can’t just shut up (to put it bluntly). Until I decide what the answer is, you can find me on Facebook posting pictures of my beautiful kids and showering others with happy, upbeat comments. I choose to be the peace and harmony I wish to see, but so often don’t.