If you’re on Facebook today, you’re probably getting crushed under the weight of Election Madness. Your friends have gone gung-ho political, and it’s getting pretty damn insufferable. Some of them even write statuses like, “please unfriend me if you’re voting for Mitt Romney.”
That’s a heck of a thing to say to your friends. It implies a certain all-or-nothing attitude that comes with living in a bubble. It’s kinda crazy! But who would follow through with it? I decided to find out.
On Sunday, I posted the following on Facebook:
“I’ve decided that I’m endorsing Mitt Romney this year. The deficit is the single most important issue of our generation—I’m phenomenally distressed by the dismissal many people I know show toward it. Romney isn’t a perfect candidate, and the Republicans definitely aren’t the ideal party at the moment. But there’s no excuse to sanctimoniously ignore reality for the sake of pretty ideals. I don’t have time for it, and frankly neither does this country.”
I chose the most reasonable argument in favor of Romney from a young person’s perspective. There were zero mentions of social politics, except that I thought they were less important than the economy. Unless you get incensed about Keynesian economics, there was nothing remotely offensive in that post. Let’s go to the results.
- Unfriends: 6
- Likes: 10
- Likes from NYU friends: 0
- Secretly supportive messages: 1
- Supportive comments: 2
- Agree-to-disagree comments: sigh, 1
- Dissertations on why I’m wrong/uninformed: 5 (average word count: 67)
- “Is this a troll” comments: 2
So six people unfriended me on Facebook because I posted about “the other guy.” Ten people liked my status, but I’m from the South, where people like Romney non-ironically.
I messaged my new ex-friends to ask them their reasoning. One explained, “Truly, I disagree with Romney’s policies towards women as well as his opinions about climate change.” At the same time, she unfriended me because “honestly, I don’t know you that well, and I’m tired of drawn-out political posts on Facebook.” (Her sister and I went to prom together. It was not fun.)
Another stated that she had been unfriending people on both sides. The responses mostly indicated that Facebook had become way too inundated with political madness. Like, look on your feed right now. It’s a little much. At the same time, the amount of backlash I received for liking Romney is telling.
I care less about Romney and Obama than the idea that, if you like the other guy, we’re not friends. If you do that, you are misguided and ridiculous. There is zero way we can go on as a country if we start drawing these lines in the sand. Who knows why your friend voted for Obama or Romney? About half the country will vote for the dude you dislike. That’s as bad a reason to unfriend someone as unfriending people who didn’t like the ending of Lost. (Although…)
This wasn’t meant to call out Republicans or Democrats—just people turning politics into a tribalist war that sees no difference between dissent and attack. It’s Election Day, so everyone is just anxious to get it over with, but we need to make sure political discourse doesn’t drive us completely psychotic.
As to who I voted for today? Well, it’s none of your damn business.