How To Win Your Next Political Argument on Facebook
“Ugly fat bitch” and “worthless pig” were two of the most notable insults I saw women hurling at other women.
It created a very surreal moment for me. One of those moments where you look around at other people and feel like you’re the only person in the room that is even remotely self-aware, and you watch everyone else’s behavior in total horror knowing full well that they did not realize at all what they were doing or saying. I mean, I suppose that’s how a large majority of people live their life daily on this planet anyway, but it was just so blatantly obvious to me in that moment.
It was the final straw for me. I’ve been in digital marketing for ten years and social media is an integral part of my job, but I finally just got tired of it and I went on a social media purge. I deleted my personal Twitter account, my personal Instagram account, my Google+ account (all of which were barely used anyway), I disconnected myself from several former clients’ pages that still had me attached as an owner, I unfollowed innumerable Facebook pages, left any group that I didn’t care about or that was stagnant, and most importantly, I purged 914 people from my friends list… and I feel so much lighter. I could probably get rid of more, and I’ll get around to it eventually. But this was a damn good start.
It’s not that I don’t like dissenting opinions. Quite the contrary – I thoroughly enjoy a good debate. What I don’t care for, and won’t bother with, however, is straight up hatefulness.
Martin Luther King, Jr. aptly stated, “Hate does not drive out hate. Only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t know a Facebook block would have the same effect 😉 (j/k… mostly).
The sponsoring emotion at the base of hatefulness is fear.
I’ve used the quote by Roman historian Titus Livius, “We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.”
Thus, we may posit that ignorance triggers fear and that fear begets hate.
I made a couple of posts on my Facebook page in support of the women’s march – one about why I thought it was necessary (because fuck patriarchy), and one share from Elizabeth Gilbert discussing how it’s symbolic of the divine feminine rising. I received a couple of dissenting comments that were much along the lines of the two things I mentioned earlier, though not quite as openly nasty. More so just insinuating nastiness. Both were also, once again, from women.
Neither commenter offered an actual rebuttal to anything that was written, but rather, made thinly veiled attempts to attack my character, suggesting that my support of the march was a reflection of me as a flawed human being. They also made a few assumptions about the reasons for my views that were never mentioned nor had anything to do with them.
The other thing I found interesting about both commenters was that neither actually follow my page. I assume one of their friends liked my post so it showed up in their newsfeed and they felt the need to comment on it even though they knew nothing about the page, it’s subject matter, or me, for that matter, such as my prolific use of the word “fuck.” In short, they had no idea what they were getting themselves into. 🙂
Now, I could behave just as they do – without self awareness, allow my emotions to get the better of me, lash out, etc. I could just block them or ignore their comments all together. But neither of those things solves the two issues mentioned above – ignorance + fear = hate.
Instead, I choose to engage such people in calm, intellectual debate, attempting to educate them with historical evidence and philosophy along the way, as well as giving many examples of personal experiences to enlighten them as to why I think the way I do. And sometimes… ok most times… playfully running circles around them with intelligent witticisms.
If that person isn’t open-minded enough to consider facts and a broadened context around their views or to empathize with the plight of another human being, well, there’s not much hope for them. But if they are, there’s a slight chance that our interaction may move them one step closer to an eye-opening breakthrough…or vice versa. I’m always hoping for the latter.
So if you find yourself in a similar situation (and it seems that the likelihood of that happening is skyrocketing), remember – don’t hate. Educate. And do so in a loving, understanding way… and personal vulnerability goes a long way when it comes to connecting with other human beings.
I started a Tarot series on my Facebook page tackling questions about the current political climate. Today’s spread spoke of “listening.” That’s an important thing that we must do right now – listen to each other, and be willing to let go of old beliefs and ideas that are no longer serving us. That includes political ideologies. As we listen to each other, I’m certain that you’ll discover that we all really want the same things, we simply disagree about how to go about getting them.
When we stop yelling and start communicating, and end up seeing eye-to-eye, that’s a win/win.
If you want to read the rest of what came up in this spread I pulled to answer the question, “What are Donald Trump’s intentions with his recent executive orders?” and to see the one from yesterday on, “What purpose is Donald Trump meant to serve, globally, for the growth of humanity?”, click here and follow my Facebook page to see the rest of the seven questions I asked as I post them. You might be surprised!