It’s still Education Week, but I’m taking a short detour to ask what you think about discussing controversial topics with your friends on Facebook. Specifically, since it’s a social site, is Facebook kind of like a virtual living room, where discussions of politics and religion should be off limits unless you know the people really really well or at least know they are likely to agree with you? Or is it like newsgoups used to be, a great place to say whatever comes into your head and the devil take the consequences? Or is it perhaps some kind of hybrid, since you know most of the people in real life, albeit not always very well?
I have found myself feeling compelled to post or comment on several comments of a political nature recently: Health Care Reform, taxes, and the National Day of Prayer. Part of it has to do with the desire to educate and to inform. When people post the equivalent of email forwards without checking Snopes first, it infuriates me. It just does. It’s like gossip, only worse, because it’s so easy to check. I never forward an email without checking, even when I would love to believe what it says. And I usually go one step further and inform the person who sent it (sometimes even all the people they forwarded it to–I’ve been thanked by several people for that!) when they have sent out false information. When I see a suspicious posting on Facebook, I check it on Snopes and then post the link.
I’m going to write a long post on the topic of Health Care Reform one day, I really am. I hesitated to wade into the messy debate waging on Facebook, especially since a large portion of my Friend List would no doubt disagree with my sentiments on the issue. But on the day after the Affordable Care Act passed, I did post: “Leslie Hunley Sholly is looking forward to being insured.” Because I am. And because I think it’s important to put a face on some of the people who don’t have insurance in this country, since it’s so very easy to think bad things about people when you don’t know anything about them or their circumstances.
Which leads me to taxes. Probably I just should have been quiet when a friend made a comment about the percentage of people in this country who don’t pay taxes. But I did want to point out that here in Tennessee the very people who are not required to pay federal income tax have to pay a more burdensome percentage of their income in state and local sales taxes on everything they buy. And then when the topic turned to people getting money back in the form of credits even when they had no tax liability, I felt that it was dishonest not to own up to having received money back myself this year–and being quite pleased about it!
What do you think? Do you ever make “political” comments on Facebook? If others do so, do you comment on them? If people do make such comments, should they be upset when their “friends” disagree? Should I just shut up and play Farmville? Tell me in the comments!
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April 22, 2010