The GOP Debate on Facebook
Since the start of my liberal arts college experience I have become extremely more politically active. This is purely because I have become more aware. And I have always believed that it is important to express our opinions in diverse environments especially if we expect change. So this summer I posted an article on facebook about the first GOP debate. Obviously, my personal evolution has come at a perfect time, the presidential race.
This article fact checked the statements made by the Republican Candidates, which resulted in the discovery of a lot of ridiculous falsities. As a proud Bernie Sanders supporter, I wanted to share this with my fellow supporters as well as my facebook friends who may not like what they read. Yes, I admit, I wanted to burst some people’s righteous bubbles.
Unfortunately, I am nieve and didn’t think my status about a debate would cause an actual debate. I guess I thought this because I’m still not use to expressing my political thoughts on social media. So of course one of the many conservative Republicans from my high school felt the need to comment about Obama. This comment oozed with an attitude and agenda that only irked me and did not contribute to the conversation. This conversation was about the Republican candidates, not Obama, and about actual proven facts that are undebatable.
I impulsively responded to the comment. With this impulsivity came thoughtlessness and a bit of anger. But it was just too easy to write a nasty little comment that would reach her and her supporters instantaneously.
Maybe this is one of the problems with “the stream.” This freedom we have with social media and the constant accessibility may not help us when we want to respond as quickly as possible. Maybe if I thought more about my response, it would have been a more productive conversation. Then again, if I thought more about my comment, it would have taken longer, and heightened the possibility of losing Ali’s interest in our conversation and so in the end be pointless. Unfortunately, the stream, or social media, provokes us to write impulsively and with lesser quality.
One of my best friends from home “liked” the absurd comment opposing Obama made by Ali. Later I found out she only did this because she was upset with me about something else. So she used her personal issues against me to publicly oppose me on facebook. This single “like” hurt me more than the actual comment. If this debate were in real life, for example, in a classroom, and my friend had chosen to stand on the opposite side of the room as me I would not have been hurt. We simply have different political views. But this was facebook. For in the classroom, if she stood behind someone opposing me and stuck her thumb up, it would hardly even touch the effect she had on me by “liking” Ali’s comment. My friend somehow contributed to the conversation without even saying anything. In a classroom debate, you have to actually say something and have an opinion in order to get a reaction or feel satisfied. On social media, you can just click the thumbs up and make someone feel a certain way.
After I responded to Ali’s comment, then came an influx of comments by my liberal friends, equally irritated by the stab at Obama and its irrelevancy to the presidential race.
I honestly wish that it had not become a debate at all. But by posting the article as my facebook status, I lost the right to decide how people perceive it and what they do with it. Did anyone take anything away from this facebook exchange? Did anyone learn anything? I don’t think so. People who disagreed only disagreed harder. So even though a comment on social media can reach a lot more people than I ever could face to face, I’m not sure it is as productive as having an in person conversation about the republican candidates. In other words, I will continue to post articles exposing the hard truth, but will leave it to my facebook friends to hold the virtual debates.