No politics — then what the heck should I talk about
by Daniel Gaddy
Sep 27, 2012 | 1085 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Daniel Gaddy
Daniel Gaddy
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I’ve learned not to curse in my Facebook posts. I came to terms with that when my mother and her church friends signed up on the social networking site.

In fact, I have a general rule of allowing a 30-minute cool-down period before posting any status update that I think might be considered controversial.

But I don’t know where this idea came about that it's impolite to talk about politics on Facebook.

Don't get me wrong, I think everyone should at least try to be civil. But on a site where someone can post countless drunken photos or harass you to play FarmVille, why is discussing the future of our government considered uncouth?

The people who peddle this etiquette stuff are the same folks who tell you not to talk about politics at a party or a family get-together. In fact, they're the same folks who say I shouldn't write about political stuff in this column.

The argument for both positions is pretty clear: You're never going to change anyone's mind. So, what's the point?

I suppose the reason that statement bothers me so much is because I'm terrified it might be true.

If you need proof, then tell me the last time you can remember a news agency, think tank or government report that both liberals and conservatives agreed was a reliable source. As comedian Katt Williams would say, "Don't worry. I'll wait."

Of course, it doesn't help when one side is denying the existence of global warming and calling a 3-percent tax increase on millionaires socialism.

If I'm honest, though, there is a reluctancy on both sides to accept facts that contradict their own opinions.

It couldn't have always been this way, though? Could it?

There had to have been a time when people — even Republicans and a Democrats — could look at the same piece of information and not come to two completely different conclusions.

I mean how can one side look at, say, the new Voter ID laws and see a much needed safeguard against fraud while the other sees a modern poll tax that will disenfranchise 10 million people. Forget the validity of either claim. I don't understand how such a disparity is even possible.

I don't know how we got to this point. I do know how we get away from it, though. We KEEP talking about politics.

When I say talking, I don’t mean sharing photos of Obama or Romney taken at the worst possible moment and captioned with some snarky drivel that could be debunked by a fifth-grader.

I’m talking about wonky, policy-nerd stuff like comparing Romney and Ryan’s plan for Medicare to Obama’s. Instead of screaming about the nefarious intentions of each candidate, we need to look at each one’s actual plan for America’s tax structure.

That is the type of politics that needs to be discussed. And it surely has a place on Facebook.

*******

I wanted to clarify something about my last column, entitled “Claims of local hostility a bit overblown.” A few people who gave me feedback seemed to have taken it in a way I certainly didn’t intend. I want the Eagle’s readers to know that my criticism was simply with the people who make our community seem more dangerous than it really is. In particular, I meant in terms of politically motivated violence that could be considered hate crimes. Having to cover crime on occasion, I know as well as anyone there is violence in Walker County. However, I believe that when people say progressives should fear for their safety, that is just plain wrong. The vast majority of residents in this county are wonderful human beings who would never hurt anyone unprovoked — even liberals.

Daniel Gaddy is a staff reporter for the Daily Mountain Eagle and a Walker County native. He can be reached at daniel.gaddy@mountaineagle.com.