I’ve never really talked about non-medical politics here before, but I’ve certainly talked about stress, so I think this post I made elsewhere fits right in.
Today a friend who I like and admire said “Politics doesn’t belong on Facebook” as part of a longer point.
And it really made me stop and think.
It took me a long time to start voicing my opinions on politics along with my opinions on science fiction, food allergies, and kittens. Because I have friends and family who I love and respect and on the one hand, I didn’t want them to feel attacked, and on the other, I really don’t like to argue in a public forum.
And then I look at the current face of politics. And I think about how very, very ugly the last election was. Somewhere along the line, politics became something we didn’t talk about in public. I think maybe we’ve gotten it very wrong. I thought I should double check the actual definition of politics. There are a lot. It’s a very complex word. Some of it is about power. Some of it is about leadership. But I want to draw your attention to this one,
the total complex of relations between people living in society.
And that’s where the problem comes in. We’ve made it socially unacceptable to publicly discuss how we think we should live together as a group. We’ve washed our hands of the messy process and handed it all over to professionals. The people who are really invested. The people who promise to make the best decisions for the good of the country.
I’m afraid what we did is turn over the hen house to the foxes. I don’t just mean the other guys. There are foxes at every level and for every stated ideology.
Have you ever been at a new restaurant with a group and everyone is slowly eating until someone speaks up and says “Ok, is it just me, or is this the worst soup ever?” And then everyone puts down their spoons and there is a babble of relief where everyone is so glad one person had the guts to say it out loud.
Maybe that’s what the women’s march was. Maybe it was a group of people who finally said, “I’m not sure I can be polite any more.” And their friends said, “I’m so glad you said that. What are we going to do?” They marched. They got a lot of attention.
They got a lot of us talking. Arguing. Looking for facts to refute the opposition.
Engaging with each other in a public forum.
We need a lot more of that. We as a populace need to spend a lot more time engaging in discussion, rather than arguments. We need to figure out how to agree to disagree. We need to figure out how to get back to the basics of learning to get along.
My friends in the opposition are caring, educated people who I respect. We all looked at the same data and came to disparate conclusions. I would like to work harder at finding places where we agree. Work harder at finding places we can compromise. Because I hate the fact that I’m not comfortable having a reasonable discussion. I hate the fact that we feel each other’s data is skewed. I hate the fact that this country is so divided that every public disagreement is met with violent spewings of hate rather than any attempt to bridge the gap.
And if we don’t want to see this sort of scary division in our country again in four years, and in eight, we need to learn to find some points of commonality. To try to understand each other. We need to disinter the idea of compromise, instead of our current system of ‘winner take all’.
I don’t know exactly how we are going to do that. I just know I’m going to put my best foot forward and try. So I’m afraid, dear friend, that I think maybe, at this point in time, Facebook is exactly the right place for politics.