Thursday, September 20, 2012

On finding harmony in Facebook relationships...or not

I'll start with the obvious:  there are many, many different opinions.  If you look hard enough, each and every one of them has found expression, at one point or another, on the internet.  And most of them are expressed regularly on Facebook.

This can be a good thing, but it can also be a terrible thing.  It's good, of course, in that you are passionate about your opinions.  You should be.  And it can be terrible in that when opinions are not expressed in a way that is uplifting, friendships and relationships can be destroyed permanently.  (Long-time readers of this blog--if you're still around after yet another prolonged hiatus--may recall my chronicling of the end of a friendship thanks to this sort of behavior.)

It is about the dangers that I want to opine today.  You see--and this may come as a surprise to, well, absolutely no one--there are people who are unable to express a political opinion without insulting anyone who dares to think differently.  As a supporter of ideas put forth by one Sarah Palin, I've seen that more than once.  I know that people who support President Obama's policies (as, obviously, I don't) have been similarly insulted by others.  (And no, I'm not going to get into which group has received more insults in the past four years.  I honestly don't care.) 

But I write not to bemoan the lack of civility on Facebook.  (I could, but I won't.)  As someone who has friends whom I have met in various and sundry places (such as, for example, playing a now-long-dead internet game show), and wanting to maintain harmony with these friends despite their not sharing my political stances, I have two suggestions, both of which I have already taken for myself:

1.  Start your own political blog.  Then, of course, you can rant to your heart's content, and those who are just as passionate about your viewpoint as you are, or who at least respect you and your opinions, can have a non-Facebook location at which to discuss what you like, or don't, about Candidate X.  This blog has served as such a location for me, allowing me to present my opinions to upwards of 30 people!*

And once you have that set up, you can move on to step 2.  (Or skip to it, as you don't have to have a blog to go to step 2.)

2.  Start a public Facebook page for your blog (or simply your opinions), and move all your political stuff to it.  Why, yes, since you asked, my blog does have such a page, located here.  And yes, almost without fail, I place my political stuff solely on that page these days.  And then friends (or even non-friends) can subscribe to updates from that page if they want, or they can skip it.

But Snowed, doesn't that mean your opinions will be seen by far fewer people?  Who cares.

See, as I said earlier, I want my blog to be uplifting.  I believe it can be so even while being heavily political (and even with a large dose of Palin appreciation).  That is exactly why, on hearing that yesterday's edition of the daily comic strip that adorned the top of this blog for several years used language that did not mesh well with the overtly Christian theme of yesterday's post, I got rid of the comic strip entirely.  I didn't like doing it, as I appreciate its political slant, but if it's going to be a stumbling block, it will have to be seen in places other than my blog, to allow my blog to more toward being more uplifting.

I don't want my blog, or my political opinions, to be a stumbling block for others.  I hope my friends share that attitude.  If you don't--if you can't respect that not everyone is going to agree with you--I will be much quicker in hiding your posts entirely from my page (as I'm sure many have hidden mine).  And I will do that because, from my viewpoint, you are prioritizing your political opinions over your friendships.  I may briefly lament the loss of a relationship, as hiding your posts, to me, is just one step above a full defriending.

I can't put opinions over friendships anymore.  If I am going to be showing godly love to others, then relationships have to come first.  And in this case, I am extremely passionate in wanting everyone to share that viewpoint.

* Yeah, that number is pretty much spot-on.  If nothing else, it keeps me humble.  It is because of those staggering numbers that I refer to myself as a sixth-rate political blogger.**

** I actually did have someone tell me that I was better than a seventh-rate blogger once.***

*** Once.