List Time: Facebook Political Posts

De-friending threats have reached an all-time high as Facebook collides with election season.  This year seems much worse than in 2008, doesn’t it?   

Most claim that they cannot wait until the election is over so they don’t have it shoved in their face each of the 37 times they go to FB during the day.  But admit it: Part of you loves it.  There is something tribal about logging on, seeing a post that you find ridiculous, and thinking…”What a moron; I’m so much smarter than that person.”  OR seeing  a post from someone on your team and remembering…”They agree with me; I knew we were right all along.”

Nevertheless, my soul has taken a slight bruising in recent weeks as I’ve clawed through the muck on my feed.  Many different thoughts have popped up, and I’d like to share them…

(1) Anyone with Windows 95 and four minutes can make a chart.  If there is no attribution for the stats listed on that chart, you should take it with a 500 lb grain of salt.  The fact that it has been shared 10,000 times does not make it more reliable.

(2) There is almost nothing that can be learned from a one-sentence talking point.  Obama does not want to give all of your money to poor people.  Romney does not want poor people shot on the spot.

(3) Placing words over an unflattering picture of the candidate does not magically make those words more accurate.

(4) The fact that 30 people liked your post bashing a candidate is not a sign that you were right.  It’s a sign that, like everyone else on the planet, you associate with people that already think like you do.

(5) If your immediate response to a post is, “Why would the candidate be so stupid as to do that?” then there is a good chance the candidate did not actually do it.  No, Mitt Romney did not try to kill his dog.  No, President Obama did not apologize to terrorists after the tragedy in Libya.

(6) Trust me, we already know who you are voting for.  We do not need to see 14 photos of the President every day to be reminded that you are an Obama supporter.  If the cartoon, slogan, or picture that you are sharing doesn’t provide new or useful information to others, its not worth posting.

(7) It is actually OK to be undecided.  Just because you post something critical of President Obama does not mean that you cannot post anything nice about him.

(8) The fact that a lot of people are talking about it doesn’t make it important.  Paul Ryan didn’t run a marathon as fast as we thought?  Whoop-de-do.   Move on and actually read his “Path to Prosperity” and the CBO analysis of that plan and compare it to something like the Simpson-Bowles plan.

(9) Attacking a weak argument does not mean that the other side is actually making that argument.  It’s called a straw man.  No, Obama supporters are not voting against Mitt Romney because he is rich.

(10) The debates are coming up.  Let me save you the trouble: You are going to think that your candidate “won” the debate.  The other side is going to disagree completely. We all watch the same debates and have our prior opinions reinforced.  It’s science.

(11) You can say things like “obviously” or “its so clear” or “its speaks for itself.”  But that doesn’t mean it actually is–politics are messy, confusing, contradictory, and complex.

(12) Do you really think its just a coincidence that all sources that say something you disagree with are biased?  Maybe, just maybe, they are actually providing you information that you’d hadn’t thought about yet.

(13) You will not get an award if your candidate wins.  No one will think that you are smarter or more popular if the person you voted for becomes President.  The people who disagree with you now will disagree with you after the election.  Its more important to think through the issues than to pick a side and root for that side blindly.

(14) When you actually step into the booth to vote, you do not have to select the person who you wrote the most Facebook messages about.  No one will know. Be open to learning more and changing your mind up until the last moment.

(15) Take two deep breaths.  No matter what happens, we will get through this.  Every single election is a “turning point” with the “future of our country on the line.”  It’s always the most important decision in decades that will decide the course of the world.  BUT, when you wake up the day after the election, your house will be the same color, your coffee will taste the same, you will go to the same job, and come home to the same person (or animal or lamp).  Keep calm and carry on.

The God Platform

Classify this under “Things That Make You Want to Jam Your Forehead Into the Nearest Piece of Drywall.”

For the past two weeks the chattering world has been buzzing about the RNC and DNC Conventions.  Beyond the political theater, there are two points to these events: officially selecting the party nominee for president and the unveiling of the official platform for each party.  The platform is a document that outlines what the party plans to do on various issues if given the power.  Simple enough.

BUT, the biggest political story this week relating to these platforms was the fact that *gasp* the Democrats had no mention of God in their platform.  As you might expect, in some corners this was played up as a clear sign that anyone who believes in God should not vote for a Democrat–they don’t share your values.

The response was swift:

Mitt Romney swooped“(That) this party purposely removed God from their platform suggests a party that is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of the American people.  I see it as being as out of touch and detached.”

Catholic.orgDemocrats have rapidly backpedaled from their Godless stance that smacks of atheism in their platform. 

Fox News Charlotte: Delegates approved their beliefs as a party heading into the presidential election. But God is nowhere to be found.

But fear not: Yesterday the party (awkwardly and ridiculously) “amended” the platform via a voice vote to re-insert reference to God.

Drywall may not be strong enough.  I think the only way to recover from this inanity is concrete directly to the forehead at 35 mph.

There is a remarkable misconception that somehow we are becoming a country of heathens.  In the “good old days” we were a God-fearing country.  This DNC Platform is just another reminder of how far we have fallen, right?

Ummm, no.

Here is a graph showing how many times the REPUBLICAN platform included mention of God since the GOP’s founding:

I’ll summarize: For most of its history the GOP logically decided that a document about political positions did not need mention of personal spiritual opinions.  It is only very recently that the party *gasp* decided that politics and God were intertwined.  ‘

They’ve really out-done themselves, because God is mentioned TEN times in the 2012 platform–a subtle reminder that the GOP has simply  gone off the rails in recent years.

But I’m not sure mention of God in a political statement is an indicator of the quality of that statement.  Can you guess another political document that lays out a public governance plan that has ZERO mention of God?    The United States Constitution

7 Reasons Why I Can No Longer Call Myself a Republican

When I was sixteen I stayed up until 4am  watching the 2000 Presidential election returns come in.  I was rooting for Bush over Gore.  I don’t even remember why anymore–I didn’t truly understand their policy differences.  For the next ten years I roughly considered myself a moderate Republican.  No longer.

I can’t even pretend to support the national Republican party today. Believe me, I’m pretty good at making excuses for a team that I support, even when logic suggests otherwise. After all, I’m a lifelong Cubs fan.  But politics is different.  This stuff isn’t a game.  It matters to all of us.  And I can no longer justify anything about the current state of the GOP

So here, in no particular order, are seven reasons why I’m officially cashing in my elephant card for the time being

1) Equality:  If I cross the Potomac it is against the law for me to get married, adopt a child, or donate blood.  In large part it is entirely because of Republican conduct.  This is absolutely unacceptable.

2) Tax Cuts Over Deficit Reduction: The GOP used to support deficit reduction first, tax cuts second.  Now it supports every possible tax cut no matter what and has done more to raise the deficit than the Democrats over the last three decades.

3) Liberty Only When Conveneint: Today’s GOP is for individual freedom, except when it comes to what you do behind closed doors or chose to put in your own body.

4) Military Dogma: We are not in an arms race.  Reducing military spending does not mean that we are letting the terrorists win.

5) Inequality: The problem is not that there is economic inequality but that the rate of inequality has gone up 10-fold in twenty years.  It is not “class warfare” to at least ask questions about why this might have happened.

6) Obama Bashing: Supporting a healthcare proposal more moderate than Richard Nixon’s does not make Obama a socialist.  Supporting tax levels lower than at any point in the last 70 years does not make Obama a socialist.  Killing more terrorists leaders in two years than the previous ten does not mean Obama is “apologizing for America.”

7) All Regulation is Bad:  Going back to the Gilded Age of industrial barons will make the lives of 99.55% of us much worse.  Some  regulation–at the highest levels–in areas that affect every single citizen (finance)–does not mean that we are giving up on free-market capitalism.

Looking at this list as a whole, I realize my main concerns are two-fold: extremism and hypocrisy.  The fringe of the party has taken every basic idea to its ridiculous ends and claim to believe certain principles while supporting policies that reject them.   Republican Dwight Eisenhower  is perhaps the most under-appreciated President of the last century.  If you believe what he did, then today you’d be called a liberal.