By Nicole Hennessy
Coffee shops or bars are likely places to engage in political debates and conversations. Often, they end when one person gives up, when they can no longer force themselves to articulate such a small part of a larger whole that will unravel as long as you keep pulling.
Then there’s social media. Everyone’s been defriended on Facebook for trying to explain to someone that the Arab Spring does affect them. OK, maybe that’s too specific; but the point is, if it’s a conspiracy theory you’ve been hypothesizing or some good old-fashioned bigotry you need to get out of your system, then posting, commenting, sharing, tweeting and blogging seem so easy. Unlike the political debates of coffee shops and bars – two distinctively different tones, by the way – you can leave an online debate, only to come back later. Not so easily does the exhaustion set in, but once the larger whole starts to unravel, the conversation usually ends pretty quickly. This may be programmed into our subconscious. “Don’t talk religion or politics,” we’ve been told. “It’s not polite.”
In partnership with The Civic Commons this week, we’ve asked a group of parents in the Connecting for Kids program, “How have you handled political debates on social media sites?”
“I try to shut ’em down. I try to make the point as clear and concise as I can.” – Matthew Sloane
“I’ve avoided them at all cost, because I just feel like my opinions are my opinions, and my friends have different opinions. I just, I want them to be my friends, and I don’t think we’re ever going to agree.” – Sarah Rintamaki
“I just state my opinion and don’t care if I piss anyone off.” – Rebecca Moraco