Politics, Facebook Friends and the Damage Done

by Bill Brenner on November 20, 2012

After all my blogging this past election season about how friends and family shouldn’t become enemies over politics and how we all need to knock off the conspiracy theories and name-calling, I’m reviewing my Facebook friends list in search of damage. Here’s my final analysis.

It turns out one person unfriended me. I considered her a solid Facebook friend. We went to high school together and shared many musical tastes. We both post a lot about our families and love and care for our children. But last week she cut me loose without explanation. I think I know why.

She has always been the type to complain a lot on Facebook, such as fights with her husband and hatred of her job. She held nothing back. That’s her right. It is her Facebook account, after all. The day after the election, she melted down, suggesting that things would never be OK again and that we were all doomed. I mentioned her comment in my day-after-the-election post, though I didn’t mention her by name. My goal was to cheer up her and others crushed by Romney’s defeat by offering some “life goes on” perspective. But she apparently wasn’t up for it.

No hard feelings. I don’t regret what I did, and I did keep her comment anonymous.

Meanwhile, I unfriended four people, including a husband and wife, last week. I didn’t do so because these people were liberal or conservative. I did it because I felt they were going over the top and painting everyone who disagreed with them as tyrants.

One former and very liberal friend finally gave me more than I could take when he posted a meme trivializing the power of prayer compared to science. He had been posting stuff like that all along and pinning all the world’s folly on Republicans. Believing as I do that both parties are equally to blame for our current economic and political troubles and in the power of prayer, I decided I didn’t need to see his bullshit anymore.

I hated unfriending the husband and wife. I particularly liked the husband, given our common musical tastes and the paths we both crossed back in the day, even if we didn’t know each other at the time. But they were taking their hatred of President Obama to levels I finally found too toxic for my blood.

If they had simply posted stuff about how Romney was the better choice for America, I’d have been fine with it. But everything became a conspiracy to them. Obama went from being the least capable steward of the economy to someone like Hitler, a guy who happily kills women and children and then covers it up. Their posts intensified after the election, and that’s when I respectfully cut ties.

All in all, I’d say the damage wasn’t too terrible. That’s a small amount of unfriending considering I have 2,334 friends, family and business associates in my network.

I choose to believe most of us got through all the vitriol in one piece. Hopefully, we can enjoy each other’s company a bit more now.

At least until the next election.

Alternate Politics

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Simple Nomad November 20, 2012 at 10:07 am

I had a very similar experience of having to cut off a couple of people who were way too irrational in their behavior. The frightening thing is one is a peer who very well could hurt his own ability to find future employment should he decide to change jobs. As security researchers are typically required to be as thorough as scientists at tracking down the truth, and he clearly was unwilling to do that in the political arena, his views seemed to say that he would believe things based upon what others told him and not examine the facts rationally himself,

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