Facebook, the POTUS, and my Sunday rant

I, like most of you reading this, grew up in a small town. There wasn't a whole lot of diversity in Brigham City, Utah. My schools were always nearly 100% white, middle class families. And, being in Utah, a good percentage was LDS as well. As a result, I didn't grow up with a lot of diversity. The problem with that is now, with social media, we have access to nearly every race, religion, and political party you can imagine. We can be connected to over 1 billion people everyday on Facebook alone. And, surprisingly, not every person on there agrees with everything I think. Even if I am absolutely, for sure, without a doubt, right. Right?

Let's face it, we are spoiled. We are one of the first generations of humans who haven't had to work in the fields all day just to make sure our family is fed. We have access to all of the knowledge mankind has ever attained and it's at our fingertips. So, maybe all this arguing on Facebook is out of pure boredom. But, I can't be the only one who is tired of it, right?

I mean, I can't be wrong in assuming this is the worst it's ever been. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone seems to want to argue their opinion to death with random people we went to high school with.

But I think we can all agree that there is no chance we're ever going to all agree. And that's ok! If we all had the same opinions about everything, we would be a pretty boring race of people. Nothing would ever change, we would never progress. It's ok that we disagree. It's the way that we go about it that isn't right.

In the last week, I can think of two posts in particular that stood out to me. One was from a liberal, millenial female. She posted a long rant about how, basically, Republicans are bad, horrible people who do bad, horrible things. The second post was from a conservative, middle aged male. His post was about how Democrats are bad, horrible people who do bad, horrible things.

And the thing is, they may stand on completely different sides on every issue you can imagine, but their messages accomplished the same thing: absolutely nothing. Conservatives, in agreement with the conservative man, liked his post. They felt a little better about their own thoughts and beliefs being verified. Same thing happened with the liberal female.

I, in the mean time, just felt sort of sick reading both of the posts. For one thing, both posts contained references to articles and news that was misleading at best. (But we'll get to that.) But worst of all, both posts were just dripping with anger and hatred at an entire group of people.

Come on, everybody. How many wars do we have to go through as a civilization before we realize this gets us nowhere? Anger and hate only leads to more anger and hate. There is no light there. There is no forgiveness, no understanding. Are we really so naive as to believe our thoughts and opinions are the only truth out there? Do we really think all these people we argue with on Facebook are just the bad guys sent to star in our movie?

Who wins there?

I'll be honest, I didn't vote for either major party candidate. I am certainly not happy about Trump becoming our new POTUS. But, I feel like I was set up for this kind of let down a year ago. There was never, for me, really an option of a great outcome in this election.

And because of that, I have felt angry too. But I've felt more angry and involved in this election than ever before. And that isn't because I suddenly found that I have a deep sense of patriotism that cannot be quenched. It's because of social media.

It's because I am bombarded by it day after day after day.

It's because the world is becoming increasingly black and white, and there is no room or acceptance for people who live in areas of gray.

This morning, I read a post where a lady posted letters her children had written to Trump. Her young children, who apparently were sobbing and screaming after election day, were so upset that they felt they had to write Trump a letter telling him they didn't like him.

I'm not passing any judgment on this family. My point is, emotions are running high. Even among children. I think we all need to acknowledge that, well, we are all kind of acting like children. The problem is, we should know better.

The one thing I am so happy about in this election is that we are all so conscious and aware of our government now. Yes, we are deeply divided on all the major issues. Yes, it's caused riots and murders and horrible, horrible things. But as someone who was apathetic about these topics only years ago, I will say that I am grateful it seems that almost no one is sitting back, ignoring politics and just letting things happen anymore.

Our awareness is the most important tool we have. One voter can't change the outcome of an election. But is there a single person in this country who doesn't have one careful eye on the President right now, waiting for him to screw up? That is an amazing thing, and that is why I don't feel it's necessary to march for women's rights or whatever just to oppose the new POTUS. You can bet if he does one thing to hurt women's rights, he will be fought the whole way down. We are all aware and ready to fight. So, do it. Keep your boxing gloves on. Just stop using them to fight down friends who disagree with you.

And, on that note, I have to plead with you all: please, please be responsible about what kinds of posts you share on Facebook. It may seem so small and inconsequential, but it isn't. I hope we are all aware by now that the media is biased at best and should be taken at face value. But so often I see articles posted, from "legitimate" news sites, that are full of misleading arguments, facts that haven't been proven, and even outright lies.

So before you share something political, ask yourself if the information is really correct. It may reaffirm what you believe, but that doesn't make it true. Read the entire article, at least some of the comments, and then research it from another angle. Fact check. Read the opposing arguments. Form your own opinion, don't just adopt one from some BuzzFeed writer who is paid to entertain, not inform.

It takes two extra minutes to search Snopes and see if the information you are sharing is true.

It takes even less time to ask yourself, "Is this logical? Would this really happen? Could this be false information?"

I am happy to see you all share. I read posts from both sides all the time, and I am certainly far from perfect when it comes to politics. I am so glad that we are all involved. But I think we need to acknowledge that becoming involved and interested in politics comes with a responsibility. (A Spiderman quote belongs here, doesn't it?) So, let's all take a collective deep breath. Let's all realize that one person in Washington DC is not going to ruin our entire lives. And let's all acknowledge that we may not have all the right answers all the time.

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