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Political Discussion on Facebook

Updated on July 29, 2013

Topics for Debating

Setting the stage for a presidential debate
Setting the stage for a presidential debate | Source

Political Debate

People say that there are certain things you should avoid discussing while at work, things like religion and politics. There is some validity to this because these topics can bring out some pretty raw and passionate feelings from people; these emotions can quickly escalate the debate and cause unnecessary tension as well. With the increasing popularity of social media sites, like Facebook, over the years these same guidelines can easily apply there too.

For many years I obeyed these rules but the last few years I have ventured across that line occasionally. My voyage usually wasn’t religious but was more political.

I guess I just reached a breaking point with some of my older co-workers who would just regurgitate what cable news was telling them to believe so I started to respond to their comments. I didn’t respond just to respond though; I chose to say what needed to be shared to get the whole story out there not just the sound bites.

I did learn, many years ago, that talking to someone with differing opinions in a calm and controlled manner is the best way. If both sides are talking with their voices raised is the conversation really going to be productive?

Controversial Issues

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Managing Conflict

We all have friends and acquaintances who don’t think exactly as we do, I know my wife and I don’t always see eye to eye politically and that is perfectly fine with me.

When I am having a political conversation with someone I don’t engage in a ‘who can raise their voice higher’ or call the other person more names approach. I prefer to present my opinions and why I have them, of course I share why I don’t necessarily agree with their position.

This style has usually been effective for me because discussing issues like civilized adults is what our founding fathers did way back when they had disagreements much larger than what we deal with now.

Unfortunately my debating style isn’t 100% fool proof as I recently discovered while discussing a few things with a former co-worker.

Civility Rules

I’m not a huge sharer of things I see on Facebook but I will hit the like button on things I enjoy because they are funny, I agree with them, etc. Unbeknownst to me my former co-worker was becoming more and more upset at what I liked since it would then become visible in his feed that Facebook displays.

Less than a week before we had a debate about a political topic, all was going fine until he got bored with our verbal jabbing because he used the word ignorant in a response to one of my opinions. I recognize that people will never be able to always see the other person’s positions but that is not an excuse to call names, period. Of course I said as much and preached to keep the dialog civil; his response was that he was keeping it civil. As soon as name calling is introduced I pass on continuing the conversation, if you resort to school yard conversations I will take the hint that the adults are done talking.

Free Speech Online

Apparently I liked something that finally set him off, I don’t even remember what it was but I’m guessing it was something about guns since he is a huge gun fan.

Long story short he had to "unfriend" me because he couldn’t do it anymore, seeing what I liked was just too much for him to have to endure.

Of course I responded with my first amendment right; his rebuttal was he supported my right but couldn’t believe what I liked.

My next argument was to just ignore what he didn’t like since that is what we all do anyway right? When I scroll through my Facebook feed I see stuff I don’t care about so I just go right by it, apparently this wasn’t something he was capable of doing.

This whole experience hasn’t forced me to change who I am because I knew someone in my past who can’t handle me expressing my opinions. This country’s foundation is based on certain rights and most will appreciate someone utilizing these rights, except my former friend. I guess it all works out, if you can’t respect my opinion and have adult conversations, with grown-up disagreements; I probably don’t want to consider you a friend anyway.

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    • Lisa Gradias profile image

      LISA GRADIAS MAJDUB 3 years ago from Stockton, California

      I just discovered this sight yesterday. Coincidentally, I also had a disagreement with a new Facebook acquaintance yesterday over politics. I am a dedicated democrat and will never change my views. This person is a Tea Party follower. Never met one before in my life. I never resorted to name calling but I did make my views known politely on some of his posts and I also shared some of my posts which contained info directly from republicans standing up for Obama. These were quickly deleted by him. I have found that if you have pertinent information that totally proves a republican or tea party follower wrong they will quickly delete your posts. They do not like to be proven wrong or to appear uneducated. The one point that I often read from these people that is totally wrong is the issue of President Lincoln being a republican like themselves who freed the slaves. For some reason this is something I just can't let go by without a comment because it shows how uneducated the person is. I've even heard it stated by a republican senator who should know better. Anyone who has gone to high school and learned US History would know this is totally wrong. And if you didn't then Google it and you will find the truth. The republican party of Lincoln's time has no link whatsoever with the republican party of today. They are two totally different political parties with different beliefs that just happen to share the same name. Whenever I post this truth it is quickly deleted off the comment sections of news articles, etc. And for all those Tea Party followers out there.....President Obama is not a communist!! Geez....when are people going to wake up in this country??? Thanks for letting me use my rights of Free Speech on your hub article. Lisa

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 3 years ago from all over the web

      social media is a forum for nearly anything. always be careful of what you say, how you say it and who you say it to on this forum. things have a way of getting out of hand quickly and when its published online in this context it stays there for a very long time.

      I like it when people are able to agree to disagree and keep it focused on the issue and not the person whenever you debate.

      thanks for sharing some useful info.

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 4 years ago from Northern California

      cmccarty6687 - Your story is a familiar one that I have heard and experienced. Our society has a tough time having civil debates or being able to agree to disagree. I have learned that people like the one you were exposed to are typically the one with less education, they just don't want to see it. You did exactly what I would have done and terminated the conversation. Don't let it discourage you though, fortunately there are better people out there than the one you heard from.

    • cmccarty6687 profile image

      Cortney McCarty 4 years ago from Kentucky

      I cannot believe some of the arguments that occur over social media. I recently posted a funny on twitter about gun control and Ted Nugent and was immediately attacked my someone I did not even know. He proceeded to tell me how uneducated I am and that I am unpatriotic and have no soul or spirit. This man had never met me and was apparently frustrated because he could not sway my opinion so he instead attacked my personally. I replied with a simple, "have a good night" because I agree with you once name calling occurs it is better to walk away.

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 4 years ago from Northern California

      Kathleen - Very true. I have no problem with people disagreeing with each other but things have just gotten so nasty, it really is a shame. I wish people could express their opinions without insults and generalizations that are completely inaccurate. Thanks for commenting.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      We've all been there - on Facebook and HubPages.

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 4 years ago from Northern California

      teaches12345 - Sometimes I have a hard time seeing incorrect information so I try to pass on the correct information, sometimes people don't want to hear it I guess. Thanks for the comment.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I keep my Facebook posts to general topics and avoid contraversial issues such as politics. Of course this comes after I made a post and learned the hard way that discussin politics on Facebook is not a good idea. If I have a point to make on someone's thoughts, I send them a private message instead -- that is very rare though. Great post and like your freedom of speech mention here.

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 4 years ago from Northern California

      Georgie - I agree. I was amused when my former friend told me he had a problem with what I liked but respected my freedom of speech.

    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      Georgianna Lowery 4 years ago from Lubbock, TX

      Facebook is becoming more and more a place where people just can't get along. I will share my opinions on my wall, but I won't get into any conversation about controversial subjects unless I note that someone's facts are incorrect or incomplete. There really is no point in "Facebook arguing," but some folks do seem to forget that we are all allowed our own opinions.