Over the last few days, as the reality is setting in that Donald Trump is indeed our President, the level of political discourse seems to have markedly intensified.
Facebook exchanges have become increasing polarized and hostile. The name calling, insults and epithets have been flying in all directions, making many people very uncomfortable and uneasy. If you do not endure confrontation well, it is not a place to hang your hat in for any amount of time.
Some people have opted to give Facebook a rest for awhile... but they often are back in the fray momentarily.
Others have lamented the mean spirited turn that posts seem to have taken, and are exhorting to stop posting on political issues.
And some have reveled in the atmosphere of conflict, seeking to aggravate and exasperate with provocative posts.
Those of you who are friends with the MOAM know that I don't mind mixing things up with people. If you say President Trump is a Nazi, or a Racist, or some other label, I generally will challenge you. Everyone has a right to their opinion. But Everyone's opinion isn't always right.
And if you study my posts (which BTW is not a particularly productive time for anyone), you will see that I NEVER stoop to calling people names. And I consciously strive not to insult people, although this is always hard. Yet, I have run into instances where people have assailed me saying that I insult them by "presenting opposing opinions" to their posts.... Or say that if I support Trump then somehow I must be threatening my own daughters.... Or say that I must somehow have Republican Friends who are members of the KKK.
These unfounded and incendiary comments portend a scary notion.
This nation is based upon free speech, and the ability for people to express themselves in a quest for happiness and the truth. If you stifle opposing opinions, you enclose yourself in an intellectual hovel that bans reason and creativity. It is the path to totalitarianism and ultimately to the loss of liberty.
In a pluralistic, democratic society, political discourse should be a cherished right..... Not a feared and vilified activity. I will continue to express my political opinions on Facebook and elsewhere in this amazing electronic Internet forum.
The world has become a small village. And in the American small villages like Marblehead, MA where I live, our ancestors would congregate at the markets, public houses, docks and workshops and exchange political discourse. There was a face to face civility then that is lost now....where people can speak so freely behind electrons and computer screens.
I hope we can find our civility again, but if not, so be it. You have a huge flaw in character if everyone likes you.... it means you haven't taken a stand and have no standards.
The beauty of Facebook is the ability to Block those that offend you. Numerous people have blocked me and I, in turn, rarely suffer someone who continually aggravates me before using the Blocking feature. I have never been insulted about being blocked. It increases the quality of relationships who appreciate your level of discourse.
So don't give up on Facebook. It is an incredible resource for a Democracy. And please block me if I offend you, because I will be doing the same.