A new study has emerged - contrary to the joke that is often shared and liked, posting political information on Facebook does change people's thinking. That might surprise some.
It doesn't surprise me. I put it out there hoping to divert conversations from the usual channels and add to the dialogue by posting corrections to misinformation and pointing out instances of inequality and woeful thinking. It's tough, though. I'm trying to avoid being a, "Look what they did," "Look what they said," kind of person. It is a break with my past and it's hard not to fall back into that gutter of finger pointing partisan politics and try to elevate the discourse to discussing real issues and solutions. How do you draw the line between sniping and correcting without regressing?
For example, a friend posted President Obama's budget and asked, "What would you cut?" Someone immediately sniped, "Well, there hasn't been a budget passed by the Senate in three years so that's not really the budget." Well, yes, the Senate hasn't passed a budget but Mister Obama created one every year so the commenter has already veered off subject and injected wrong information. The larger question though, is, why hasn't the Senate passed a budget? It gets into all sorts of parliamentary procedures used by the Senate and what budget, budget resolution and like terms all mean, and how they fit together in modern government's jigsaw puzzle of appropriations, laws and requirements. In the end, President Obama has created a budget and the House has passed one but the Senate has not because of the need to have the support of 60 senators, not possible to achieve with the current partisan make-up, because of rules addressing whether the House budget is said to deem with the Senate budget.
Now that's a point that I don't think will ever go over on Facebook! No one will ever read through those details and come to that understanding. They'll just say, the Senate has not paused a budget - technically true but ignoring the situation's political reality.
At this point, too, on the budget on Facebook, you can point all sorts of fingers. A Senate budget would have been passed if the Democrats acquiesced to the Republicans demands, or if some Republicans had agreed to the Democrats' demands. If you look at it in that sense, both sides failed, but that, too, gives a false impression. Republicans are commited to keep taxes on the wealthy at low levels while slashing programs to cut the deficit that they built, without touching the defense budget, and -
And you see? Sure, you can post on Facebook and try to change someone's mind or open the dialogue but it is such a complex subject, I bet whole industries could be created around it. Staying impartial and unbiased and letting go of prized memes is tough for humans. We get all emotional and personal about it, and before you know it, you're back to pointing fingers.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com