This was my first Facebook presidential election. Having a convenient social network allows me to know exactly how my “friends” think and gives them the chance to influence my thinking. Many friends I haven’t seen since fifth grade, so what could be more fun? Holding political debates with perfect strangers in a (usually) civil and productive manner. I doubt that anyone’s mind is changed but we realize that, unlike Congress, we might be able to compromise.
I have many conservative friends. They were on Facebook en masse lamenting the outcome of the presidential race. Many were praying for their country and bemoaning the next four years. I can only assume that they didn’t live in the last four years and probably didn’t notice that a right leaning mostly moderate liberal hawk was running the country. Was that description a contradiction? Welcome to the new political reality. Our politicians are all things to all people.
I know the prevailing theory out there is that minorities have increased their voting clout and now are the tipping point leaning towards liberal politics. If that’s the case, I suppose we can expect the Republicans to round up all minorities and exile them to whatever place minorities come from. A wall will have to be built as well. That will be far easier than convincing the right-wing base to embrace minority Americans as Americans.
More likely, the Republicans will have to invent a whole new platform. Their extreme views on education, the environment, Medicare, women’s rights, minorities, and war have turned against them as the country becomes more inclusive and less fearful. Angry white men are out. Pro-abortion moderate Republicans will be sprouting up all over the country, much like Mitt Romney used to be. It might even be time to start believing in evolution and science because if the Republican Party doesn’t evolve, it will be scientifically impossible to win an election.
When all the whining and gloating about this election began, I went on Facebook and encouraged the sore losers to quit whining. I don’t know, maybe it was more like taunted; I have been known to twist a few knives. Then I had second thoughts. Gracious concession is far too much to expect from most, so I channeled my energy into persuading people to become the “change” they want to see by doing something useful and signing unPAC’s petition to publicly finance our elections.
I have no idea whether anyone signed it. It has been my experience that people like to bitch and moan, but when it comes down to lifting a finger to do something about an issue … well, “Friends” reruns are on. We all know how important “Friends” are in the age of Facebook.
In reality, the political posts and opinions made Facebook interesting for a change. Most of us, myself included, just aren’t that exciting. Our posts are banal. The political escapades brought a little passion to a dismal landscape. Facebook needs something like an election to focus its immense membership on something more than a funny cat picture.
I realize many people have more important issues to consider. The current football standings are central to many lives. Whether Justin Bieber is lost in Kim Kardashian’s butt and has sent word to Lindsey Lohan to send Scotch and pot brownies is worth an hour of prime-time news. We keep ourselves distracted by trivialities when we could channel our focus into demanding the change we want in our country.
I’d bet this was the first Facebook election for millions besides me. There is no telling what the evolution of this will be for the next election, if Facebook is still around in four years. Facebook is like Amway. It could be a multi-level marketing tool to spread the word about letter writing campaigns, protests, town hall meetings and keg parties. You get the picture. Facebook is more than a narcissistic exercise in “Mom, look at me!”
I know that demanding more from our government isn’t exactly as cool as a bear falling out of a tree onto a trampoline, but directing our leaders to lead and quit squabbling should go viral. It could be a great sickness that infects all who want to return our country to greatness.
The fact that almost everyone in Pitkin County turned out to vote is a hopeful sign. However, that passion for the issues has to continue into every day life. It has to be something we live, not something that bothers us because the television is marketing it to us. Getting excited and acting once every four years and bitching about it the rest of the time needs to cease.
Most of all, stop whining about the government. In a Democracy, you are the government.
Email Johnny at firstname.lastname@example.org.