There has always been this idea that, as with friendly conversations, people shouldn’t share their political views on social media. Like with those dinner party talks, the idea is not to offend anyone, or rile people up. But as time has gone on, I think that it becomes increasingly important to talk about politics on social media.
I post very liberal things on my Facebook feed all the time – articles supporting bathroom rights for transgender people, pieces advocating for Bernie Sanders, and, back in the day, gay marriage – and I don’t regret it. It’s become very cathartic to share how I feel, even though I know I’m mostly doing it for myself. For one thing, it’s a way to keep myself interested in politics, and to keep like-minded Facebook friends abreast of articles and videos about subjects we’re in agreement on.
On another level, all of those posts get made with the idea lurking somewhere in my mind that each and every one has the chance of being rebuked by those who doesn’t agree with it. That someone, be they conservative friends or family, will try and start a Facebook argument over the bathroom rights of transgender people, or perhaps they’ll argue that because the Democratic Party was originally founded as a pro-slavery political party, the Republican Party is group to look to for civil rights issues. You get the idea, I’m sure. Responding to these sorts of topics is easy.
Why do I do this? Why do I consistently put myself in this situation, where I have to defend my beliefs? Because, quite frankly, it’s fascinating. I learn a lot – like how often these people I argue with still don’t seem to understand what being transgender is (they often argue there’s no such thing), and that I still have a cousin that believes that me labeling myself as gay is limiting me from all of the experiences I can have in life.
Please understand, I don’t engage in this with the intent of changing minds. When I’m confronted with someone who believes electing either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders to the presidency would be the biggest mistake our nation ever made, there’s not very much I can say. They probably feel the same when I say that about Donald Trump.
Instead, what this form of verbal sparring really does is encourage an exchange of information. When an argument becomes very interesting to me, I start breaking out the resources. I start writing in depth, for example, about how the civil rights campaigns of the 1950s and 60s caused many southern Democrats, Strom Thurmond included, to switch over to the Republican Party when their anti-civil rights stances weren’t being reflected in the party’s platform, and then back myself up.
By this point, I’m writing mini-essays, and perhaps this shows that I probably care too much. That may be, but do you know what it also is? Fun. Sometimes, I will get thoughtful responses to my little rants, and other times I’ll be talking to someone who, unsure of what else to say, just restates their main points. And then the argument continues or it doesn’t.
But it’s fun because I’m starting to pull out the history buff in me, and getting a chance to educate and have civil discourse about the issues. As long as everything remains civil (which, unfortunately, it doesn’t always), then I see nothing wrong with having Facebook arguments with my friends and family. I encourage you to do the same, if you’re so inclined.
Just don’t make it personal. All the fun gets sapped out when someone takes the “civil” out of civil discourse and goes right to insulting. Then it’s all just a burden that you started and now have to get rid of as fast as possible.
Feature photo courtesy of StartBloggingOnline.com.
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