I’ve seen a number of posts lately calling for a ban on political opinion on facebook. Why? This medium is a source of connection. A virtual Washington Mall or Tahrir Square. People speak up for lots of reasons. There are days when i want to share with pals how my day was, how the dog is doing, how the workout went, how I love my kids, and what songs I dig. There are other days when expressing pain or joy with the hundreds out there gives me a sense of connection and support. So why should I mute when I have an opinion about the direction of our country and, MORE IMPORTANTLY, the direction of our planet? Does it detract from the idea that this real estate is designed only for the small talk and superficial elements of this life? I don’t buy it. It’s one thing to opine and another to use this space for mean-spirited and harmful expression. I hope I never cave in to the latter. Should I, I know you will all hold me accountable.
I have learned and grown so much through reading the views of the facebook community. I have been inspired and disgusted. I’ve been put in my place and I have found new places. I have seen the character of so many revealed through their narrative. I have been a part of the joy and the risk of dialogue.
I am by no means a wise man. But I think. I believe. I advocate based on my beliefs and values. I respect others who do the same…most of the time. As cliche as it sounds, respect IS earned. I learned over a decade ago that expressing my opinion, whether as an advocate of healthcare as a right and not a privilege, or as an advocate of peace over conquest, or as a seeker of truth to validate or refute what I had experienced before, or as a student of life in general, that my views would not always be popular or comfortable. I can’t and won’t apologize for following my heart AND my head when questions plague me. I have found a peace in my journey. My faith validated. My love of others who share what I believe and those who don’t has grown stronger and richer. I care more deeply than ever. And with that depth of caring comes great joy and even greater pain. Greater because digging reveals layers with such a powerful voice. Those voices create tension. This world is not adequately represented by talking heads on cable news or behind pulpits on Sunday morning or by politicians in one little slice of a world that isn’t just like us and SHOULDN’T be.
Tonight I strolled through the evening posts and found, as expected, a number of rants put out there with such carelessness and spin that they bordered on opinion- malpractice. I laughed to avoid crying or throwing my laptop over the deck of my town home – as if it would somehow silence the ignorance. But then it hit me. It isn’t so much the gross injustices and fabricated banners and “facts” spewed by the one or two extremists; it is the number of “likes” that seem to follow so automatically without appearing to have much intellectual or emotional challenge.
Tonight I saw one that took the proverbial cake.
The message read: “God is Going With Me When I Vote In November” The poster’s own comment was, “And if EVERYONE that claims to know the Only True God said this then the election would not even be close. And like it or NOT, that’s a FACT.”
I am by no means in a majority with my current “friends” list when it comes to ideology or philosophy in this life. I’m okay with that. I don’t think I have it all figured out. But I do know when to throw the bullshit flag. While we should be talking about economic policy, foreign policy, education, healthcare, and human rights (to name a few), the elephant in the room (how ironic) is the religion of the candidates. In one case it does matter because of the compost of lies, and in another case it shouldn’t matter because they are the candidate’s own beliefs…just not a campaign topic. Good for him.
For those who try to use their faith as a campaign banner…and also suggesting that their faith is THE faith, I see incredible misrepresentations and outright omissions because it might just create a crack in their theo-political rhetoric. On one hand I am seeing the ignorance of Obama’s faith as an opportunity to paint him as a “non-believer” for political convenience. In another case, ignorance of Governor Romney’s beliefs, or should I say just keeping it quiet because it might stir up some controversy. It shouldn’t, but it might.
“Fact” is…these are good men. Men of faith. Men who believe that a being much bigger than them has a plan that can’t be vetoed or filibustered or pork-barrelled. I doubt either of them would have the nerve to suggest that God is on their side.
So, with all deserved criticism and certain unleashing of the righteous indignation I am sure to hear, I am re-posting my reply to that original post. I must. Simply don’t read if it creates an uncomfortable stir. I think there is a place for this on these pages.
MY ORIGINAL REPLY TO “GOD GOING WITH ME…”
Unfortunately for you and all of the rest of the sheep headed for the Right Cliffs of Hyperbole, this is NOT a fact. God isn’t Republican or Democrat or Libertarian or Independent or Socialist or a Capitalist or any other invention of people who can’t stand not having a label to satisfy their own need to associate with common agendas. If it weren’t for the Republican candidate being “right” minded, most Christians would be calling this Mormon a cult-follower (also a total injustice, as the Church of Latter Day Saints has more faith and compassion than most other denominations put together). I’ve heard it a hundred times from preachers in my home town. Try reading our current President’s book about his faith. His book, not one about him. I have heard from a number of Christian Democrats (many from the Gulf Coast) who are disgusted to find that the right thinks they somehow have a closer tie to Jesus. How sad…and how entirely fabricated. Heaven forbid (pun intended) that you acknowledge that most Protestant (whatever the hell that means) pulpit rhetoric would argue that Joseph Smith is a “false prophet.” I heard it over and over as a young member of a misguided congregation. Mitt believes that he (Joseph, that is) was instructed by God, and is, in fact, a prophet. Where is that in your mantra, Bill? Try and window dress it all you like, but God is with truth. Your candidate’s beliefs (which I respect immensely) don’t hold up to most Christian “party line.” They are just too comfortable making Obama out as a Muslim (a silly and preposterous lie of convenience) or an atheist (just as much a lie). The only thing Righteousness and the Right have in common is a root word, whose definitions should never be confused.