Facebook: Bringing the World Closer, or Sparking Civil War?

Fine, you caught me, blaming the beloved Facebook for instigating a war would be a bit of a hyperbole. Sort of.

It amazes me the speed with which people – even friends of mine – drop “common courtesy” and human respect when a political topic comes up. Suddenly, it’s like they forget that they have a friend who’s not always 100% on the same page as them, and just Fire At Will with insults.

One month, Oreo posted an ad that showed they supported gay marriage. Liberal friends were all ecstatic; my conservative friends threatened to ban Oreo and Nabisco products. My liberal friends responded to the conservative friends with hateful accusations of bigotry, discrimination, and closed-mindedness.

Fast forward a few months later, and Chik-Fil-A posts an ad stating they to not support gay marriage. Conservative friends were all ecstatic; my liberal friends threatened to ban the company. My conservative friends responded to the liberal friends with hateful words of bigotry, discrimination, and closed-mindedness.

Why was it okay for one group to celebrate, and not the other? When did they stop practicing the very tolerance that they always preached? When did having a different belief mean we had a right to trash another person?

More recently, Jan 2014, there was a science-versus-creationism debate with Bill Nye the Science guy and Ken Ham, owner of The Creationist Museum.

I care not about the debate — no one listens in on those things to learn; they already have their team picked out and will rally behind them with enthusiasm and support no matter the words said.

What bothered me were all the FB posts afterwards. One friend stated something along the lines of “Wow, go Bill Nye – debating in Kentucky, where those people are not of his audience, takes guts! Good job!” Cool, even if I’m not a liberal, I can get behind this friend’s option and support of this speaker that she likes. Pan over to another friend’s post “Hell yeah! Burn, creationists! Nye smoked you and your stupid theories!”

Ouch. To my friends who are creationists, seeing this post would sting! You haven’t just criticized a person, but a whole group of people because you criticized the VIEW or belief.

And yes, this goes both ways, both parties, all political talks — I have friends of many different political, sexual, ethnic persuasion, and I see every group guilty of this.

We forget, when we passionately post our comments, that we likely have friends who don’t always agree with us! (If all of your friends share your exact same views, well, I am sorry for that closed world you live in! Different views and beliefs are wonderful for sparking amazing discussions and debates!  It’s what brings beauty and diversity to a world, so long as we are respectful.) But when our comments turn from respecting of difference to hating of differences, and we feel protected behind our computers to say whatever we want without civility, we just continue to make greater gaps between people.

It seems in the last decade, the divide between Left and Right has grown, and animosity rises.  I wonder what it would take to push things over the edge, and cause the Shot Heard Round the World-Wide-Web.

By findingsilverlinings Posted in Musings

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