I assumed I could have a reasonable, tolerant, civil conversation on facebook about politics. I know, I know, I should have known better, but I thought it was possible. I guess I underestimated how passionate people are about this election. After all, “IT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN OUR LIFETIME”…or at least the most important election since 2008, which was “THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN OUR LIFETIME.” And of course I assume 2016 will be “THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN OUR LIFETIME.” Then, of course, there is 2020 and 2024 and 2028 and 2032 and 2036 and 2040 and………..
I also assumed people were taught, like I was, that my responsibility was to only vote my conscience; nothing more nothing less. Furthermore, I was taught we should respect everyone’s right to vote their own conscience. But I was even wrong about that! Apparently if my conscience doesn’t line up with your conscience than my conscience is unconscionable.
I thought my civic duty was to vote, but apparently my civic duty is to vote…just like you vote.
I know, I know, I am painting with a broad brush. I apologize. I still think most people think like I do, but they are my mini-version of the silent majority. Only passionate people are brave enough to post anything on facebook and so if they agree with me they agree passionately. If they disagree with me, they disagree passionately. I now understand that is the nature of facebook. I’ve got 1,200 friends on facebook. I bet less than 100 have ever said anything to me. I guess facebook is designed for superficial, feel good stuff only.
Apparently, most people on facebook are only there to look at everyone else’s vacation pictures.
Others are only there to relive the moment they got engaged or married or had children. It’s amazing how all these events happened on starry nights or sunny days. Apparently no one is ever married or born during a tornado or blizzard, and somehow everyone has married the most amazing person in the world and have the greatest kids ever. Of course that can’t be true because I have the most amazing wife and greatest kids and logic dictates there can only be one most amazing and one greatest (although I have 2 greatest kids).
The biggest majority of people on facebook are creepers. They just browse and read and look and like, but never post anything. I now know why. If you don’t post anything then no one can criticize your status.
I don’t mind criticism. I am used to it. I write stuff hoping people will read. I write stuff hoping to make people think and consider different ways of thinking. I believe you learn more from differing perspectives than you do just reading people who already think like you. Believe it or not, I do not write for a reaction, but I do write for a response. I like dialogue. I am not a big fan of debate. I am a huge proponent of mutual respect.
But I miscalculated people’s abilities to entertain a thought different from their own.
Instead of having a conversation, the moment people disagree, civility stops and name calling begins.
Because I have been brave (or stupid) enough to post that I will be voting third party here are some things people have said to me either publically or privately, either directly or by implication:
- You are wasting your vote.
- You are not being a good steward of your vote.
- You are really voting for Obama.
- You are a secret Obama lover and hoping he will win, and you are a coward for not just coming out and admitting it.
- A vote for a third-party is a vote for Obama and how can you vote for him because of his views on abortion and same-sex marriage?
- You will be personally responsible for the downfall of our country.
- You don’t care about the future of your children and grandchildren.
- You are an immature child.
- You are an idiot, stupid, unpatriotic, uninformed.
- You think you are more moral and righteous than the rest of us but a third-party vote is not a moral vote.
- If you don’t vote for Romney you are being immoral.
- You are a secret socialist liberal.
- How can you be a Christian, much less a pastor?
- Why don’t you just stay at home and sit on the couch like all the other lazy people who will vote for Obama.
- You don’t care about this country.
- You have your head in the sand.
- Get your head out of your #$%*
What is really amazing is how many Christians have said these things and how many of those Christians are fellow pastors! A few people have told me they admire me for being willing to dialogue. I appreciate that very much.
I have tried to explain myself. Over the past year I have blogged about how I have been thinking and why I am thinking this way. I have given more thought and prayers to this election than any election I have ever participated in. But I am tired of explaining and defending myself.
As far as I know I have not called people names, questioned their motives, wondered about their intellect, or doubted their spiritual maturity based on how they vote. If you feel I have, I apologize. If you feel I have personally attacked you, I am deeply sorry. Please forgive me. I have tried to be civil, but I am human.
As we get closer to November 6th, here is some things I am trying to remember:
- God is sovereign. He already knows who is going to win and He doesn’t seem to be worried or afraid. I will place my faith, trust, hope, and 401k, in Him.
- The sun will rise on November 7th and I will go to work and swim and bible study that evening.
- I will pray for the president, regardless of who it is, and I will support him to the best of my ability.
- My real citizenship is in heaven and I will continue to do all I can to bring God’s kingdom into present day reality.
- I will not give into, nor support, any political arguments based on fear.
- The people of the United States are what makes us great, not our politicians. I choose to believe in the people and our resiliency to protect our way of life.
What do you think?
Why can’t we seem to have more civil conversations when it comes to politics?
(Some of us can. I spent lunch on Tuesday with 3 great pastor friends of mine. We talked for almost 2 hours about politics and not once did anyone get mad, and we don’t agree on everything. I left lunch enlightened, educated, and encouraged. Thanks Jay, David, and Chris.)
One last thing, I may have also made a miscalculation about the election. It seems the polls are moving toward a Romney win.