With the Republican National Convention, social media officially made its débutante debut into Campaign Season 2012. Tonight, the Democrats take the stage. I hate that politics and religion are a polite conversation no-no. Mostly because of the “polite conversation” part. Unlike the Loch Ness monster, I know this exists online. I’ve seen it. Really smart, informative discussion that we need to have. That we are fortunate enough to be able to have.
I’ve written about my concerns over reproductive rights here, on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve tweeted and posted my belief in social programs, affordable health care, marriage equality and written that I’d want my husband to share my politics, but I can surely have friends with different views.
I support the platform of the DNC (if you’re curious about party platforms, here is a NYT piece from today). If that is reason to unfollow me on Twitter, Facebook or stop reading my blog, so be it. But before you close the tab, I wonder:
If I share my beliefs and concerns based on facts, share without telling others that they are personally wrong for not agreeing, what exactly is impolite in that conversation?
I ask in earnest because I see tweets left and right (no pun intended) about people unfollowing based on expressions of their political beliefs. I look at those tweets – from Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Independents – and in most cases, they’re expressions of beliefs based on facts from political platforms.
I absolutely understand discomfort when someone tweets or blogs or posts political opinion that’s personally insulting or promotes propaganda. Let’s discuss the difference. Because there is one. A HUGE one. It’s the one that makes it very easy for me to agree to disagree with those who don’t share my beliefs vs. being left uneasy by those who make it a direct assault.
I wish we could all take a social media pledge, of sorts. One that says that be it campaign season or any season, we use our voices online responsibly. Because honestly, I think that it’s all the same at the core. As bloggers we regularly talk about what’s important in our world, even if what we define as “important in our world” shrinks and expands depending on the day. Let’s allow for a bit of differing opinion. That’s the beauty of this country, isn’t it?
In some parts of the world, writing about political beliefs, tweeting and posting, could put me in jail. Just shy of a century ago, my opinions on any of this held no weight because I wouldn’t have been able to vote. We take so much for granted as Americans when it comes to our political voices. Maybe too much?
If you’ve read this far, thank you. We’re more than our political affiliations. We’re adults, fully capable of respecting one another regardless of who we vote for or what gods we pray to, if we pray at all. (I urge everyone to stay informed through the campaign season- sites like FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.com are good stuff.)