Just a few more days to go until the election and I suspect I speak for many of you when I say I am relieved. Politics has taken over much of my social networking conversation as well as the airways, since I’m fortunate to live in a battleground state. I have a pretty diverse group of friends and colleagues on Facebook so I’m seeing widely varying views on the future of our country, all from people I know to be thoughtful, ethical and well informed. My big question is, “How did these people all come to a different truth?”
There have been some moments of revelation for me and a sense of seeing people for the first time when a colleague posts a status with what I consider an extreme and unsettling view. In cases like this, I wonder how to respond, if at all?
Should I unfriend him? Not because he holds a different view from me; in fact, I think it’s kind of cool that I have a pretty wide group of friends with differing views that help keep me grounded. My Facebook news feed is definitely not an echo chamber this political season.
Comment with my surprise or with a counter argument? I just don’t see Facebook as the place to have these kinds of conversations. I’m not sure how to do it in a loving way, particularly because that will mean taking on a larger group of people that I don’t know and with whom I wouldn’t consider discussing this topic and who I suspect probably agree with him. I have no interest in being an evangelical with my own beliefs nor having a private conversation in public.
So, message him privately? Maybe, but I’m really just not sure what to say that wouldn’t make it seem like I was questioning a deep seated conviction, probably rooted in lots of other convictions I might also find very different from my own. We come from very divergent backgrounds and experiences that have shaped us in pretty radically different ways. Perhaps, when I see him face to face some time, I will ask him about his post but my response for the campaign season has been to let these things go.
I suspect we’ve all had a similar experience this campaign season where people naturally gravitated to their social networks to make their views known. And , the nature of the medium is to offer sound bites of people’s beliefs that, in many cases, are uttered in an echo chamber for friends and family. So, I’m going to celebrate ALL my friends by letting them speak their truths and not try to argue them away from the things they hold dear and care to share.
Plus, I suspect a few of the things I’ve liked or shared have surprised some of them and they’ve graciously let me harbor these ideas without challenging me. My advice: vote your conscience, speak up in the face of hatred and evil intentions, and give your friends the benefit of the doubt.