When Facebook gets mean

March 23, 2010 at 9:54 am (It's all about me)

I understand that people are passionate about politics–I’m one of them–but I was part of a Facebook interaction that just got mean. Below, the exchange (all names withheld).

A is disappointed that the healthcare bill passed today…

P: Agreed (it was yesterday, on Sunday)

J: I am so suprised…didn’t think it would…..I agree with u..disappointed
S: I am the opposite of disappointed. The bill is not ideal, but it is something.
Crazy Lady: I can’t wait to get this commy bastard out of office!
G: I’m disappointed that it was passed even though it didn’t have the votes. There are checks and balances in place for a reason and Obama did what he wanted rather than what the people wanted. What I see are the first steps toward the potentail for a dictatorshop to be born. A sad thing for this country.
Busty Satan: I’m with S. And rather shocked by the vitriol being spewed by the folks who’ve been drinking the GOP Kool-Aid.
Crazy Lady: I’m with u Aimee, but it’s hard to argue with ignorant people who have no common sense. I’m starting to wonder of Liberalism is a brain disorder because there is no other excuse for continuing to support this moronic president.
S: Your comments are pretty insulting, Crazy Lady. I’m surprised you don’t have more to say than merely putting down people who have an opposing opinion.
Crazy Lady: Like I said, you can’t argue with the ignorant. 🙂

Do you agree that Crazy Lady took it too far? And if so, what does that say about the level of debate in this country? (And yes, I realize it’s Facebook, but the same thing seems to be happening everywhere.)

Note: If you want to read two folks who may disagree with you, but will always do it respectfully, check out Karen and Nilsa.

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16 Comments

  1. Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said,

    I’d argue that our country allows for healthy debate. Anything goes. Some might argue that anything goes too far, sometimes. But, we have those freedoms that so many do not.

    My issue is not with the level of debate that we have in our country. My issue is that both sides, all sides, most people fall into the belief system that their beliefs are the only way and nothing else will do. There is no sense of compromise. No sense of unity. No sense of working together to get something done.

    So, debate away, but at the end of the day, unfortunately, I sometimes feel our system stymies moving forward with much of anything at all.

    • BS said,

      I’d argue that the level of debate determines whether or not it’s healthy. And I don’t mean to say that anything in what Crazy Lady wrote was illegal (she didn’t threaten anyone’s life, only their job), just ineffective and wrong. I think the refusal to compromise is built into this level of debate too. If you base your argument on reason, then there is room to shift your viewpoint and consider your opponents concerns/motivating factors. If you refuse to argue with anyone who disagrees with you and name-call instead, then you can’t begin to consider a compromise.

  2. Windsor Grace said,

    Crazy Lady is a prime example of why it’s not a good idea to talk about politics with people on facebook, twitter, or in general. The only good time to talk about politics is around people you know agree with you. The rest of the time, it seems like people are only trying to enrage others (above…Crazy Lady).

    Speaking of, I was getting my car fixed yesterday and while in the waiting room, the owner of the store started telling me about democrats breaking the law and his beliefs about the health care bill. I was just like, Dude, inappropriate. I’m a patron.

    • BS said,

      I might agree with not talking about politics to a patron or customer, but not discussing it at all means that no one learns anything and we never get anywhere. I’m a big proponent of surrounding myself with people who disagree with me.

  3. Bridget said,

    I believe this bill is the first step in the right direction for our country. However, I haven’t been this humiliated by my fellow citizens’ behavior in a long time (maybe ever). Respectful debate is encouraged – even necessary to make sure the right policies are made for ALL citizens. However, spitting on openly gay Representatives, screaming racial slurs at others, and other obnoxious, rude behavior and commentary is absolutely out of line. Grow up, America.

    • BS said,

      Reminds me of that line from Band of Brothers about saluting the rank, not the man. I worked for a congressman with whom I did not agree, but I respected his time and dedication to his constituents and to what he believed was right for them. I even tried to avoid calling politicians I didn’t like names like the “village idiot”.

  4. Karen said,

    Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they are ignorant. I am pretty conservative and the folks in this niche of the blogger community tend to be liberal. I am in minority, but the vast majority of people are respectful. I can debate any issue, but when name calling and emotions are allowed to rule, it is sucks.

    The crazy lady is the ignorant one!

  5. WendyB said,

    I agree with Windsor Grace.

    • BS said,

      Unless the political events you’re discussing are centuries old, right? 😉

  6. Amanda said,

    I think Crazy Lady is a great example of the “screaming while covering ones ears” method of debate that is so loved by extreme Conservatives in our country. (I do believe that *rational* Conservative arguments exist.) It’s important to keep things from getting ugly on forums like Facebook, because this is often a place where you mix your friends and family, and friends/family of friends. So while that doesn’t prevent me from speaking up, I welcome the opportunity in instances like the one above to debunk misinformation stated by others, such as the comment about checks and balances, or the “democratic process = dictatorship” logic.

    • BS said,

      I believe that plenty of rational Conservative arguments exist. (That doesn’t mean I agree with them, just that I see where they’re coming from.)

      Had Crazy Lady posted those things on her own Facebook page, I would have engaged, but it didn’t seem fair to engage her on my friend’s page.

  7. Jess said,

    I would be upset if someone posted things like that on another’s page. That’s just rude. And it’s just not necessary to move from debate about a controversial issue (even if I personally don’t think there is even a reason for it to be controversial) to personal attacks that focus on people’s intelligence instead of on what they are saying about the issue at hand.

    • BS said,

      Agreed. Not to mention the fact that her argument for not arguing was completely irrational! “You don’t know anything, so I’m not going to try to teach you anything.” Um…what?

  8. amber said,

    It’s been my experience that people lash out or become unreasonable only when they don’t have the facts or the knowledge to support their argument. Informed individuals can usually debate without acting like kids in a school yard.

    • BS said,

      And that was basically S’s point. So ridiculous.

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