How I Broke My Facebook Rules – Rule #9

“You’re doing it again,” John said accusingly when he got home from work on Friday night.

“Doing what again?” I asked.

“You’re getting into political debates on Facebook.” Oh, shit.

“Are you spying on me?” Marriages are built on trust, buddy.

THIS is exactly why I try to hide everything I do from him so we don’t lose that. Keeping a marriage alive is hard work, no shit.

“I can see it every time you responded to that stupid thread. When are you going to learn?” Um, NEVER.

Ok, so I’m busted. I knew exactly what he meant when he said, “that stupid thread.” After talking a good game in the post I wrote called Facebook Rules, the one where I expertly explain how to successfully navigate the muddy waters of Facebook without losing your mind (and your sanity), I have reverted back to old habits. As always, I am great at doling out the advice, but am not so good about following it myself.

The rule I primarily broke was, Rule #9 – Don’t get all political up in my Facebook grill, yo.

Now the premise of Rule #9 is that it’s important to not encourage or engage in aggressive behavior by writing inflammatory posts or comments regarding political parties and beliefs, etc. There is an implied aspect to Rule #9 as well, that if someone writes something which you find offensive, to walk away from it. That no good can come of it.

I know these things. I have written a primer on it. Yet, like a moth to a flame, a fraternity boy to a drunk sorority girl, Rihanna to Chris Brown – I get pulled towards these posts. Before I know it my fingers are click-clacking away at the keyboard and my jaw is clenched. I’m on fire. On a mission.

A mission to what, I do not know.

So what happened in that thread? I am going to simplify this as much as possible. A Facebook friend who does not support health care reform in the United States and openly opposes “Obamacare” posted some inflammatory things about it. Now, I don’t care if he opposes or believes in health care reform. What drew me to his post were two things.

1) The post was not true

2) He kept calling President Obama, “Hussein.” Which IS Obama’s middle name. But he repeatedly pointed it out – “Hey, from now on I am going to call him Hussein.” or “Watch me now – I can call him Hussein walking backwards!” or “Look, NO hands this time – Hussein!!!”

I didn’t want to add fuel to the fire so I just commented (politely, of course) with a link that explained what he was saying had been fabricated. He responded with another point, which again was not factual, so I once again sent him (yes, calmly. Gosh people) some links from respected news sources (Forbes.com is respected, right?), explaining how those points were NOT true either.

He then grudgingly acknowledged that what he shared was NOT true. However, his dislike for the plan and for the President justified why he felt comfortable sharing the link. He would not delete it because at the end of the day he still hates “Hussein” and liberals and his false post is therefore justified.

And then I said….

Well. Here’s the thing.

I know what I said. But I want to hear what you think I SHOULD have said.

Now, I don’t know care where you stand politically or on the policy in question. It’s not about who you voted for or why. Policy, Shmolicy.

Let’s pretend for a moment that NONE of that matters. Party lines don’t matter. Heck, maybe you are not even American as it seems many more of Masala Chica’s readers seem to be popping up around the globe.

Let go of all prejudices and political affiliations.

Breathe.

In and out.

Did you breathe? Seriously, I need you to be all Zen and shit when you comment.

How do you feel when people pass along fiction as fact? Especially knowingly? Do you think it’s different than when someone spreads misinformation because they haven’t done their research? In this day and age, is it acceptable to not do your homework with all of the information we have at our fingertips?

If fiction IS shared  to strengthen your OWN beliefs, do you support it? Do you see it as a necessity to push towards the greater goal of accomplishing what you believe in?

AND last, but certainly not least,

What do YOU hear when someone calls the President of the United States “Hussein”? 

If these questions sound simple, I ask you to still answer. I don’t think they are that simple but then again, I think my parents dropped me on my head a few times too many when I was a kid, so that’s not the best indicator.

6 Responses to How I Broke My Facebook Rules – Rule #9

  • The Bride says:

    Ouff Facebook is exactly for all these discussion, IMO. At least one tries to keep it civil on Facebook because of the public yet non-anonymous nature yada yada. Now to your questions:

    How do you respond if you discover you have been lied to? Especially knowingly?
    I’m sorry to say – a little smug. Especially if I was able to out them like you did.

    Do you think it’s different than when someone spreads misinformation because they haven’t done their research?
    Well, it makes them a little better in my eyes. Ignorant versus malicious.

    If lies ARE told to strengthen your OWN beliefs, do you support it? Do you see it as a necessary evil to push towards the greater goal of accomplishing what you believe in?
    Nope.

    What do you hear when someone calls the President of the United States “Hussein”? What do you believe the motivation would be to use his middle name to reference him?
    Prejudice. An attempt to reinforce the fear that he is Muslim.

    • masalachica says:

      Yeah. This is not an isolated incident – I feel like sometimes people are more comfortable with a lie than the truth if it suits their needs and agenda. I didn’t feel smug, but I did expect a retraction of his post. Didn’t happen. I am not so sure about the ignorance part anymore. Yes – I know its easy to “share” something on Facebook or press the “Like” button, but its just as easy to take the additional step of doing a google search these days. Still – there is more malice in doing it knowingly. As for the Hussein part, I am flabbergasted when intelligent people say dumb, racist and polarizing shit like this.

  • LisaAR
    Twitter:
    says:

    People’s Facebook behavior–on both sides–made me very sad this election year. I saw people I considered friends behave in ways that I found disappointing and even at times enraging. Sometimes I couldn’t help but engage, and I believe I kept it appropriate…but the experience really broke my heart overall. Lies suck no matter what. Knowingly use them to make your argument and you’re both a liar and a loser. Prejudice and hatred sucks, too.

    On November 8, I posted the following on my status: “Hey, people…we need a sea change here. And I don’t just mean on Facebook, but everywhere. Enough political smack talk and hate. What are we teaching our kids?! My 9yo kid came home yesterday–from his Lutheran school–and told me that he is taking heat for supporting Obama, and that kids are saying Obama “needs to be impeached right away.” Really? If we are tired of the divisiveness, then we need to pay attention to what we are modeling. But maybe that’s the big problem–too many are not tired of the climate of hate but clinging to their self righteousness. But we were taught specifically to love one another…So come on, people…let’s re-energize ourselves on doing just that. We can be different and still love each other, can’t we?” It got a lot of support and even some shares…so it gave me a teensy glimmer of hope.

    • masalachica says:

      I agree. And the best thing to do was to not engage. I am just so stubborn and feel like I have a civic duty to stop stupidity in its tracks.

      Somebody, please hand me my cape now.

      I love what you wrote in your post. And its sad to think that progress can only occur if there is some level of unity in this country, which appears to be sadly lacking. The use of the n word post election on twitter was ridiculous – many teens were engaged in the activity – and now to hear someone saying Hussein to a) attempt to associate him to Islam and b) imply that the act of being Muslim is somehow “wrong”? That’s just despicable.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion as always, Lisa.

  • Ameena says:

    Facebook discussions are tricky…and when one brings politics into it things can get even scarier. I desperately want to say certain things on FB but I am not confrontational so I refrain.

    I admire you for saying what you wanted.

    And as a Muslim? The whole he is or he isn’t a Muslim president drives me bonkers. Seriously.

    • masalachica says:

      Here was my response BTW – oh and he also accused me of going for blood when I told him that he was wrong.

      “I am not trying to protect my President. He can do that on his own. I am protecting something that is underlying this conversation. If you make a mistake – don’t use it as a launching board to go and deride liberals and muslims or whatever. I refuse to call him Hussein, and I don’t know what point you are getting at by saying that repeatedly – is the fact that his middle name is not “Milton” or “John” wrong? Is there shame in being non-Christian or non-white in some way? Treading on thin ice – my name isn’t “Jennifer” or “Lisa” – it’s origins are not that far from “Hussein.” Now you will call me out on saying you are not “PC” or something as if it’s political correctness that is the problem here. Actually – you know what? Keep calling him that – you just proved a lot about your mindset in this thread. You think I see blood. Right now all I am is sad. That you think the use of the name “Hussein” helps demonize him further and HELPS your point. Way to spread democracy, brother.”

      And that my friend, is how you say “eff you” to ignorance.

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MEET KIRAN
I'm Kiran, I'm a dreamer. A writer. A singer. A mother. An ugly crier. An Indian-American. Who loves Gandhi. My stories are full of truth that is sometimes hard for me to say out loud. This blog is where I overcome my fears and live (and love) out loud. Read More....
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