Friday, October 18, 2013

Politics, Persuasion and Facebook: A Letter to Christian Republicans

Dear Republicans of Facebook,

So, the government shut down, Syria's got chemical weapons, our tax dollars are going to the thirty-year-old men who sit in the library playing Mindcraft all day, and the world's about to end. 

Yes, we know.

It has come to my attention recently that you seem to be directly involved with these political issues. Whether it be commenting "amen!" on someone's political status, sharing a picture of President Obama making a rather unattractive facial expression, or by "Liking" Rush Limbaugh as a public figure, you're going all out for change. You want to make self-centered Americans aware of their coming calamity. We're in the middle of a crisis, and you want to do something. Mainly, you want to turn everyone conservative.

While desiring to do something for our country and raise awareness concerning its political issues is a good thing, I want to propose that by using a "Facebook approach," we're doing it all wrong. In fact, I want to propose that by consistently "liking," sharing, and posting the typical political status in order to persuade others to take a republican approach, we're actually furthering our country's demise.

Here are four reasons why the typical political status isn't helping our country.

1) The internet isn't a reliable source.

There's a quote floating around. It goes something like this:

"The thing about quotes on the internet is you can not confirm their validity." - Abraham Lincoln

When we post about political happenings according to the Republican's viewpoint, we're trying to be persuasive. Our objective is to initially catch our democratic or non-politically involved friends off guard as they scroll past our political status. We desire for them to come to the conclusion that either a) they should become a republican and believe everything we believe or b) Like us, they should raise more awareness for America's downfall.

The idea is a good one. But we didn't think it through.

Persuasiveness is an art, and you've got to be able to master the art before you start painting.When we see something that directly opposes our views and beliefs, how do we naturally react? We dismiss it. We argue and reason with it in our minds according to our bias opinions, until we can finally disregard it. It's the natural human reaction.

When we toss a shared status update, a picture with a quote, or a mind-boggling statistic onto the internet, we're setting our ourselves and our opinions up for a quick and painless dismissal, no matter how accurate they may be. "The internet isn't reliable," is the simplest excuse if there ever was one. The receiver doesn't even have to reason with the content you posted. Thus, they miss the whole point.

2) Politics often annoy and depress people.

.....and when you annoy and depress people with consistent (likely, bad news bearing) political posts, you're going to push them away from you, not draw them in.

"Ugh, he's posting about our debt crisis again? I know about our debt crisis! I can't deal with this anymore - my life is stressful enough already! I'm going to block his posts."   

Again, we've created an atmosphere that gives directly the opposite of our intended effect. Persuasiveness is an art. Master the art before you pick up the paint brush.

3) We only draw in people of the same opinion. 

This one speaks for itself.

Guys, I'm not going to "like" a status I don't agree with. Neither are you. Neither are the people you're trying to persuade. Maybe you'll get attention from individuals who are of the same political mind as you are, but that doesn't help anyone. If they were already of the same opinion, you've accomplished nothing. You haven't furthered awareness. You haven't helped the initial problem.

4) Posting about politics appeases our conscience.  

"In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty." - Proverbs 14:23

This is by far the biggest reason political posts aren't helping our country.

When we post, talk about, and debate politics online, we trick ourselves into believing we're actually doing something to help our country.

But we're really not. 

Reasons one through three explain why the average political post isn't working. Yet, we continue attempting to change the world through Facebook. Guys, there's a time and a place for politics on Facebook. But we can't use "I re-posted that statistic about our debt crisis"  as a cover up for what we're not doing in the real world. As believers, it is our responsibility to be directly involved with politics.

Are you worried about the dollars going into welfare? Pick up some unemployed young men and teach them a skill. If you don't have a skill, pick up some willing individuals and meet with them every week to talk about responsibility. Are you concerned about the government? Speak out. Work for a newspaper, start a blog, or become a writer. Do you frequently roll your eyes as a rambunctious teen passes by? Mentor some young people! Are you a homeschooling mom with grown kids? Teach some housekeeping skills to single moms. The possibilities are endless. You just have to be looking for them. 

If you're truly concerned about the issues of our world, you'll find a way to use your talents to get involved. But don't waste your time on Facebook. Don't use Facebook as a cover up.

Step out and do something. 

Facebook pictures and posts can be used as a tool. But Facebook is not the solution. Stop treating it like the solution.



  1. Wow! That is so true! So much posting-talk and not enough action can wear out your typing fingers and your brain. Action can even be as easy as sending that cinquain or short one-page entry into the paper. Getting some friend together who love books and creating an after-school writing club. Writing those who serve in the Armed Forces individually and thanking them. The possibilities are endless! Thx for posting!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Rosalie! I'd forgotten about this letter until I saw the comment. I just reposted it! :)