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November 3, 2012

The new face of politics

Has it happened to you? Or have you done it yourself?

It has happened to me, and I have done the deed, and I wonder, with a dull ache in my heart, if it was all worth it.

At different times in varying emotional states, I’ve posted my thoughts and feelings about political issues on Facebook. Some of my postings were met with “Likes” (for the uninitiated, if an FB user wants to register approval of a friend’s posting, the user can point and click on the word “Like,” found in tiny print below the posting) and with like-minded comments. Others were met with angry denunciations as wide-ranging as accusing me of slapping U.S. troops in the face, advocating for theocracy or simply being no fun. Facebook political sparring in my life has led to a broken quarter-century-long friendship and some tense family relations. 

There’s a foolish adage that says, “Never discuss religion and politics.” I call it foolish because it must have been coined by someone who knew a bit about human nature, but clearly not enough. Discussing two institutions with the most power to mold human behavior (the third that comes most readily to mind is the family) is indeed risking sharp disagreement and injured feelings. But the truth is that humans cannot help talking about either. And how could we?

This is an article about Facebook and politics, which frequently involves religion in our time. Specifically, I’m talking about how Facebook users interact with each other when they express their convictions about the 2012 elections and

related matters, such as the economy, God, taxes, marriage … practically every element of our experience as citizens and human beings, and whether these interactions are as beneficial and constructive as they could be.

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