David Ramey: Facebook and Political Discourse

Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. – Isaiah 1:18.

“I seldom think of politics more than 18 hours a day.” Lyndon Johnson

 

The next few months the political discourse will continue to get worse as a tight presidential race brings out the worst in both parties.

Unfortunately, that’s not unusual and remains a sad commentary on our modern politics. And in the modern world of social media – it is going to show up on Facebook.

So for those of us that politics is a passion – how do we manage our passion in a way that is respectful to those who don’t agree with us or could care less.

One thing that needs changing is the nature of political discourse. That’s a whole different note. I respect anyone who disagrees with my views – and I want to hear their views. I want to hear their perspective. I respect their views – and don’t doubt their patriotism or faith because they disagree with me. Unfortunately, a lot of people have spent the last four decades attacking politicians and then wonder why nobody trusts or believe in our government.

I’ve been a partisan Democratic activist (with the exceptions of times when I was in the media and it was a conflict of interest and tried hard to be very fair) since I was 18. Those who know me knows it is a passion.

Most of the time, my posts are designed to educate those who agree with me. I’m not trying to pick fights or debunk someone else. I have scores of fellow Democratic activists who are friends on here – including two running congressional campaigns.

But if our nation is going to move forward, both parties really need to listen and listen to each other. And as much as I enjoy hearing that one of my friends won a campaign Tuesday, I also want to read that my friend from middle school went to the National Tea Party rally. And if I chat with my friend Tony Boone, I know we’re going to talk football and the Oakland Raiders and he’s going to talk about motorcycles and probably bash the president. It’s okay. I respect his opinion.

Facebook reflects who we are and what we are doing now. A lot of people I grew up with are just now grandparents. I’m seeing a lot of grandchildren pictures. A lot of our kids are playing sports and we’re bragging on that. Lindy Suiter is going to talk about Racer basketball. Neal Bradley is going to be witty. Michael Buehle is going to talk Notre Dame football. Brian Clardy is going to talk history and African-American culture and wines and jazz and Democratic politics. Bryon Counsell is going to tee off on my politics. John Y. Brown III and I come from way different backgrounds, but when I read what he is writing, I realize we have a lot in common.  And faith comes from Baptist preachers and Catholic priests.

But they are all my friends. They are all the fabric of my life – and the fabric of America. I need to hear – and more importantly, listen to all their voices. That’s why I talk politics – and talk politics on Facebook.

And by the way, the Bible verse was President Johnson’s favorite.

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