Thursday, September 03, 2009

Putting a Face on the Opinion

I'm sure there are plenty of people who disagree with me on this, but I really like the occasional political status update on Facebook. I certainly don't want a steady diet of them--I'd rather know that your kids are going back to school or your opinion of Inglourius Basterds--but it's good to know where people stand on this and that.

This is particularly true of the stuff I don't agree with. Personally, I think it's silly to fret about political indoctrination when the President is going to deliver a stay-in-school message to kids. Especially since that ship has pretty well sailed: Bush addressed children with his "Freedom Agenda," for instance, and I don't think anyone said boo. And ABC's Jake Tapper reminds us that Reagan spoke about opposition to gun control to school kids back in 1988... presumably without any permission slips being signed. Not that the administration did a great job promoting this one: as Kevin Drum points out, the original phrasing of an after-speech activity ("Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals") was sure to raise some eyebrows.

Anyway, the purpose of that tanget is to illustrate one of those fairly inconsequential things that people disagree on for a little while and then forget about. But one of my Facebook friends put up a status report saying she didn't want people talking to her kids with one of their parents present without their permission. Which sounds fairly reasonable--laudable, even--until you realize that it's not like they personally vet every bus driver and cafeteria worker, or the countless other adults that come in contact with their children every day at school. They trust the school to do that. I'm willing to bet that the school will vouch for the president, the same as it does for Lunchlady Doris. So what's the prob?

But again, I'm off on a tangent. Facebook statuses: What I like about seeing these statuses is it forces me to not stereotype the people I disagree with. It's very easy to fall back on the idea that everyone who disagrees with you is either criminal or stupid in these times; I know I've been guilty of that myself on occasion. But it's very, very good to get a reminder that some of these people are our friends, our co-workers, our family members, our old school buddies, our neighbors. If we can all just ease up and give each other a little bit more of the benefit of the doubt, if we can all just refrain from pointing fingers, we might not get them bitten off.

Rob

10 comments:

Bella Bliss said...

I like that. I've been having that feeling w/ the health care stuff. Remembering that I agree to disagree w/ my conservative friends.

Geoff said...

I agree, thought at the same time I find that all too often people fit very neatly into those stereotypes (the vegan hyperliberals, the knee jerk Obama-hating conservatives, etc.). But perhaps that says more about me and the types of friends I choose...

Rob S. said...

I think there's a fair amount of people who *do* fit into those types -- loosely, anyway -- but when you get down to the nitty gritty, there always wind up being differences and varieties. But even with the people who do fit the stereotypes, it's important to remember every now and then that they could just as easily be the people you played kickball with in elementary school as some stranger at a town hall on YouTube. And that some of our differences of opinion are, at their heart, entirely legitimate -- although too often crazies jam a crowbar into these points and try to pry us all apart.

And Bella, thanks for stopping by! I'm kicking myself because I have the feeling I know you, and am having trouble connecting the nickname with the friend. But regardless, thanks for commenting!

melissa joy said...

Rob--
I'm Shannon and John's friend, the seamstress. We met at her bellydance gig last year. I blog occasionally for pcl linkdump, so I had to choose an id.
--Melissa Joy

Rob S. said...

(This isn't to say, however, that some ideas aren't total crap. No amount of we're-all-people-in-this-together sentiment is going to make the "death panels" anything other than a paranoid delusion.)

Rob S. said...

Ah, okay! Great to see you again, Melissa! And I love the devil-girl icon!

Bella Bliss said...

Sure thing!

is it ok to add you on facebook?

Rob S. said...

Absolutely! Send me a note!

Bella Bliss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
melissa said...

click the link to get to my page. I thought i might have found you.

or search
missmelissajoy

at

g
mail