Facebook Politics

Yesterday on Facebook, I posted a picture of Obama with his response (rhetorical) to Mitt Romney’s recent claim that 92% of all job losses were women’s jobs. This number of course, is not accurate. It also isn’t what was interesting about the discussion that followed that post. Let me make clear, I welcome dissent, debate and examination of information on my page. I am known for posting questions, sometimes even questions intended to create controversy. However, if you are going to join in the conversations there are rules to follow:

  1. Try to stay on point
  2. Don’t bring talking points (from either side)
  3. Back up your statements
  4. Try not to bring up Hitler or Nazi’s (it is a crap tactic)
  5. Don’t post and run

So back to the discussion, this is what I posted that started the truncated firefight.

To make things simple, I have boxed the comments and I identified them with an initial. I have also left the comments exactly as they are written, except to change personal names, don’t blame me for the shoddy English, punctuation, etc (even my own).

This was the first post in the chain of 27; we will call our friend K to make things simple:

K

I’m voting for Romney because Obama wants to start a Communist Nation. Romney might not be more qualified than Obama, but has done nothing to help Americans, he has made life worse!!!!!!

Me

K, do you know what Communism is? Can you tell me? Can you tell me how you are worse off? Just curious mind you, most people I know are not worse off. Just out of curiosity – are you okay with the following:

  • Elimination of Social Security?
  • Elimination of Medicare?
  • Elimination of Public Education?
  • Elimination of EPA?
  • Elimination of Planned Parenthood?
  • Elimination of Aid to Dependent Children?
Those are just a few of the things Romney has agreed to go after. Have you read the Budget Recommendations from the GOP? If not let me suggest you do so. The poor and the middle class will see their taxes increase while the super wealthy will gain additional tax breaks.

Just for edification and context there were several other posters who came into the fray, one who did not take kindly K’s comment, I’ll call him C.

C

that is the kind of talk that perpetuates the ignorant redneck stereotype.unlike romney obama is smart enough to understand that if the rest of the world dies so does the usa but if the usa dies the rest of the world wouldn’t lose any sleep

There were several more comments from others between C’s comment and the following from K.

K

I enjoy when people stoop to calling other people names because they do not have the BALLS or the intelligence to REALLY know what is going on. And everyone who votes for Obama— hope you enjoy wearing uniforms, and having a Hitler like regime. WAKE UP!!!! Yes Val i know what Communism is, and Hitler, I mean Obama is going for it. Obama has absolutely no credentials to be worthy of being President. He was put there as a Figurehead. There is no such thing as a free society anymore. WAKE UP!!!! Our freedoms have been slowly taken away from US for many years now. It started way back with FDR—not with Bush. Did you people notice that the Clintons and The Obamas are getting richer, while we Americans are paying more for everything? Agree with S. And Val if you want a fight, please go on a poltical website to do it, cause i’m not engaging in any more poltical fighting here on FB—it’s to open a forum, and many people do not understand how to treat others with respect!!!

She agreed with the following statements from another poster, S.

S

If they had a “None of the Above” Button on the ballot, I would vote for that. There needs to be a DRASTIC change. Neither side is for US, the citizens of this country; they are all about THEIR agenda, no matter what that is.

I did respond to the above comment, perhaps not as politely as I might have but I didn’t feel at all polite at that point. Why? Mostly because I think people, who jump in with both feet, using inflammatory language and rhetoric should be ready for the fallout and prepared to defend their positions. Clearly, K was not prepared to do either, she wanted to flame and run.

Me

K, I didn’t call a name. You came to my page. You incorrectly implied the current president desired a Communist regime. President Obama was voted into office by a majority of the people of this nation, whether you agree with their right to vote or not.Loss of rights? You mean like the loss of the right to vote?This is my Facebook page K, you don’t like what is on my page, get off the page. I get to post any damned thing I like here.

Finally S asked the following, though he had been participating in the discussion he had not perhaps truly been reading anything but the responses directed at him.

S

What are all of you on K for?! Just like you, she is voicing her opinion. What’s appalling is the contradiction! Think about what you’re saying here! This country, like it or not, is based on the freedom of speech and our rights as human beings. That is being corrupted by BOTH PARTIES! No matter what race, creed, religion, etc…. We are getting SCREWED!

My response was as followed, I also finally responded to C regarding his original comment to K.

ME

S, read what she has said. This is my page and she has suggested that I should not voice my opinion on my page, that is the first problem. The second problem is she has failed to respond to a direct question. The third problem is she has called the President of the United States “Hitler”, that is not ‘opinion’ that is Right Wing rhetoric without substantiation along with the accusation that this administration desires a Communist Regime, more Right Wing Rhetoric without substantiation.Had she said I am voting for Romney because he better represents my personal ideals and standards I would have been fine with that.
C, truthfully I would rather we all keep it more respectful. While I also take umbrage with the statements K made. I would far prefer to take those statements down, one by one and call them what they are:Right Wing Rhetoric without substantiation or value.I would rather ask the question, what is the basis in fact for the statements. In this way we aren’t just name calling or flinging insults.

Would love to hear what you think. Am I crazy? Is it getting worse out here? I certainly think so, I think the nation is getting more divided every day. The rhetoric more heated than I have seen it, ever. People are so uninformed they are willing to ‘buy’ whatever trash talk they hear the talking heads in politics and media spew across the airwaves and social media and they do it without validating facts.

Comparing the current President to Hitler and a Communist in one sentence is just one example of ignorance at its best.

What say you?

Comments

  1. What say I? I say you’ve summed it up perfectly here:
    Comparing the current President to Hitler and a Communist in one sentence is just one example of ignorance at its best.

    I actually got an email forward boiling down Obama’s presidency to a couple of misleading percentage change categories (such as “percentage change in gas price since he took office”). I almost wrote back a detailed breakdown of logical fallacies and other problems implicit in this approach, but then realized (a) it would simply lead to glazed over eyes and (b) I don’t have the time in light of current time budgeting efforts. If only I’d seen your Obama image then! It says everything I wanted to, so much more effectively. Isolated facts sans context can always be manipulated and contorted to suit their purveyors; it’s only in context, though, from which true understanding can be born.

    I hate this “here are a few representative, contextless facts” ploy no matter where on the political spectrum its originator falls. Ugh.

    • I battle the lack of contextual facts constantly, from both sides. It is one of my true pet peeves. I loved your Facebook blog and believe me have considered more than once the idea of shutting mine down, but politics is one of the reasons I stay on FB, especially during this critical season understanding what is being said by the opposition helps. There is no better place than social media.

      Do I sometimes want to pull my hair? I do. The problem is that even people I would consider intelligent fall for these truly terrible talking points, these bullet points of BS. I was just having this conversation with someone else, it seems our nation is sinking into hole unwilling to do research, instead gathering these single snipes at the opponent and calling them facts.

      It is both disconcerting and sad.

  2. Ugh. See my response to Martha on Parenthood.

    I am done.
    Red.

  3. Yikes you have some passionate ‘friends’ there on FB. You’re not crazy! Interesting how politics can really get people talking/typing…

    • I do indeed, on both sides of the aisle. I usually like the give and take of the debate. Most of those who participate know I have some rules, now and then we have something like this one though. I always have to wonder if it is me, if I am the crazy one.

  4. You are such a trouble maker. Just kidding. No. You are not crazy and I think I better leave it at that.

    • I am a trouble-maker. I often take pride in pushing buttons and limits. I think though there are reasons why we have civil rules for debate and discussion, especially around sensitive subjects (e.g. Politics and Religion). These rules are there so even in disagreement we can discuss our differences without resorting to insults, name calling and other divisive language.

      Ah well, I just wanted other opinions and to also understand from others if they thought it was getting worse out here.

  5. I don’t know whether or not you’re crazy, Val, but you’re right on this!

  6. Val, you had a rather busy day yesterday, didn’t you?

    I come to this completely biased. (1) I am a LIBERAL DEMOCRAT. (No horns, though, last I looked); and (2) I also have a blog where I sometimes post my own opinions. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I started my blog. People are welcome to express their opinions on my blog, as they are here at yours.

    I’m going to make only one snarky comment here, and it is that folks who say that anyone is both a Nazi and a Communist need to read a bit of history — Nazis and Communists were enemies, and the Nazi Party developed out of the fear of Communism’s takeover of Russia. One was fascist the other a convoluted socialism. Obama is neither, nor is Romney.

    But I very much agree with your suggestions for discussion.

    One of the main reasons we have gotten nowhere in the last 20 years is because of the political climate, in the country at large and in the government. We have all developed a nasty habit of stamping our feet and saying “Me” “Mine” “My Way.”

    In the 70s and 80s I was a lobbyist, working on Capitol Hill. I was a Democrat but I had enormous respect for the majority of the Republicans on the Hill who worked hand-in-hand with the Democrats to construct some vital legislation. I personally watched as they worked together to combat air, water and toxic waste pollution. Together. Because they could talk with each other.

    Civility must come back or we are doomed.

    • Elyse this is my issue these days, the divisive nature of the conversation. The rhetoric and failure, of both parties to find common ground; though I must say the Right has moved our entire nation so far to the right even the left dismays me.

      You are right though, we don’t seem able to have reasonable conversations any longer. We don’t seem able to find common ground. While certainly since Clinton we have seen this divide grow wider, I think since Obama has taken office it is the worse I have ever seen it.

      • It was pretty nasty when the Clintons were in office too — Travel-gate, Hillary-gate; the impeachment; the allegation that they murdered Vince Foster … the list goes on and on. And, Allan West notwithstanding, there was always McCarthy. I think it is cyclical, and we are frustrated because we hoped for more.

        But frankly, I think that our side is trying to be civil, and Obama has bent over backwards to compromise (at the expense of alienating his base). I’d like to see some efforts at compromise coming from the GOP that didn’t involve them agreeing and then reneging.

  7. Thanks for the invite Val. Though I am reluctant to enter the controversy, I must agree with you on this particular conversation. I am not well versed in politics and I honestly am to busy running my territory (home) that I tend to leave it to others. I know that some may think this is a sad way to look at things, but I can’t change unemployment, fuel prices or the way that others feel about our country. Personally I don’t agree with any of the candidates, but we’ve discussed this before. Keep up the good work. God Bless You, Grant

    • Personally Grant, I don’t agree with the politics of this nation today. Nor do I agree 100% with any of the candidates either. That is the nature of politics I suspect. My guess is that if any of us were ever to agree with 100% of what any politician said, we would be in the wrong business or the wrong neighborhood.

      That though, isn’t the issue. It really comes down to how we communicate, how we debate the issues, how we regard each other in the heat of the moment. We can of course disagree with our leaders, many of us do. We can disagree with each other as well, many of us do, all the time.

      It is the name calling and the lack of respect that I am concerned with. It is polarizing. It is worse now than I have ever seen it, ever.

      • I totally understand Val. Why can’t most be like us and just agree to disagree? After all, it is called “CIVILization” for a reason. Right? On another note, this is the second time today that I’ve seen Hitler mentioned. God Bless.

  8. That kinda solves who K is then

    • Indeed it does. I personally thought masking identity other than my own was a better approach but I guess some people feel the need to defend their positions no matter the situation.

  9. Not a rule follower, and i never will be. Sounds like you are telling me what to do, and i will not be put down, pushed around, or shoved around. You made the comment as clear as day to all of your Facebook Friends. You sound like a Liberal or a Democratic that just wants to have HER way.
    Freedom of speech is what makes America great, and I will not stoop to barroom brawling and swearing to get my way. Sorry, but you sound like you want a fight, not a solution—which is the Liberal/ Democratic current way of thinking.
    The reason I “RAN AWAY” was because I am fond of living life, not living it on FACEBOOK!!!!

    • It appears you are willing to bring the discussion here rather than allowing your identity to remain masked. Rules are actually sometimes there so discussions can be had with a modicum of manners. Debate has rules for a reason. I allow, yet again, your self-defense to stand rather than enforcing the standard of the Blog, that is to answer the question asked.

      Nevertheless, to make clear yes I am a Progressive I have never denied this or hidden from this fact. I vote my moral, ethical and human standards in every election. I make no claim to do otherwise. I do not resort to name calling, rhetoric, or otherwise to make a point and I answer questions directly. Freedom of thought and speech are indeed one of the things that make this nation great. So are opportunity, pursuit of happiness, freedom of and from religion. So is freedom of the Press. There are a number of things that make this nation great, Kate none of them are owned by any one party. Neither are the problems this nation faces, no one with any honesty can point a finger at any one party or President in the past 50 years and say it is their fault, it is all of them. Do I want a fight? Not with you, no. Your comments though were in my opinion out of line I wanted to understand them and since you refused to defend them or answer direct questions, I turned them into a blog. I wanted to understand from others if I was over reacting to them, what they thought not just of the conversation but what is happening to this nation. It is unfortunate, you are mired so deeply in your political stances you are unwilling to have an honest discussion, resorting instead to the the insult, cut and run tactic.

      By the way, Liberal, Progressive and Democrat are not insults. Further it is Democrat not Democratic.

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