I joined Facebook mostly to keep up with former coworkers. I wanted to celebrate from afar their careers, their marriages, their children.
All these years later, I can report that former coworkers are doing well. They are in careers that are enjoyable, challenging and rewarding. They have good kids who are smart and funny; some are athletic too.
Over the years, naturally, my list of Facebook friends has expanded to include former high school and college classmates, fellow journalists, folks in public and business life in Johnston County, readers of the newspapers I edit. I value them all.
But lately, I must confess, a good chunk of my Facebook feed has caused more stress than enjoyment. It’s not the dime store philosophy expressed in those posts that extol me to love myself, be strong, have faith, rid myself of negative people. I quickly scroll past those posts – almost always overlaid on some inspiring photo. Rather, it’s the hyper-partisan political posts that seek to remind me, several times a day, every day, that Barack Obama is both a clown and closet Muslim and that Donald Trump is a host of horrible things – a racist, a misogynist, a tool of the Russians.
I enjoy a political debate as much as anyone, probably more, but among the partisans on my Facebook feed, no one is much interested in debate, much interested in more than selective facts, much interested in analyses beyond what they read on their favorite opinion sites. I’d say news sites, but not many people bother with those.
I have not yet severed ties with any Facebook friend because of political posts, and I doubt I will, though my partisan Facebook friends should know that I scroll past their posts with the same speed as I do the self-help posts.
I would much rather read about your careers, your children, new music you’re listening to, new restaurants you’ve tried, books you’ve read. And by all means, show me your vacation photos, because Lord knows, I don’t get out much.
But you can stop with the partisan political posts, because I’m not reading them. They’re not informative, and they’re often mean spirited.
Ironically, some of you pushing these mean-spirited and disrespectful posts are also among those bemoaning the lack of civil discourse in American today. Sometimes, we’re our own worst enemy.
Is Trump your president?
I did not vote for Donald Trump. He’s not the kind of Republican I am, particularly on matters like trade and immigration. Also, his temperament strikes me as ill-suited for the Oval Office.
But I don’t consider his presidency illegitimate. Yes, the Russians hacked and WikiLeaks leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign that were embarrassing to Hillary Clinton. But Americans knew before they voted that Russia was likely behind the hacks, and more to the point, no one went to the polls thinking, “If Donald Trump is good enough for Vladimir Putin, he’s good enough for me.”
Also, I do not want President Trump to fail, just like I didn’t want President Obama to fail. I thought Mr. Obama’s policy prescriptions were wrong for America, but I still hoped they would put people back to work, lift incomes for the poor and make the world a safer place. Likewise, I suspect Mr. Trump is wrong on immigration and trade, but I hope he’s not.
Mr. Trump took the oath of office. Those who voted for him, and those who didn’t, will be better off if he succeeds.