Monday, March 26, 2012

In Spite of Our Differences . . .


This isn't another political rant -- it's more of a reflection on said rants and the social media. As some of you know, I'm on Facebook and that's one of the places where I find and repost many links to articles that reflect my point of view. 

Facebook is a different sort of beast than blogging. Those of you who are frequent commenters here feel like real friends -- often because we read each other's blogs.  I know that some of you don't enjoy talking politics, some do. I suspect that most of us have similar views but I know there are some exceptions. But that's true with my real life friends too-- we just agree to disagree.  
It's different on Facebook. Over there I have around 500 friends -- some asked to be my friend because they like my books, some because they like my posts, some, I sispect, just because they were trying to build a big friends list. Some of them are blog friends or real life friends, but there are many I know next to nothing about --  I rarely ask anyone to be my friend unless I know them pretty well, but I accept pretty much any request for friendship (except for a few creepy guys.) 

I was surprised when I posted a link to an article about a bill that's being considered in Congress (House of Representatives) -- a bill that would, among other things, allow doctors and hospitals to "exercise their conscience" by letting pregnant women facing emergency medical conditions die rather than performing an abortion

There were over sixty comments -- some about the bill and some from folks who are passionately anti-abortion. (But none from anyone who actually agreed with letting women die, thank goodness.

There were comments from a woman who had an abortion many years ago and a link to her essay about coming to terms with this. There were comments from a man who was adopted because his birth mother couldn't keep him, but chose to continue the pregnancy.  There were long, well-reasoned statements, passionate statements, disagreements, but the tone remained surprisingly civil.   

This, I think , is where social media can shine. I like to hear other opinions -- as long no one YELLS or calls names. 

Another author who is a FB 'friend' posed the question on her page: 'Why would an author post political opinions in the public forum? Isn't that a good way to lose readers?' 

Well, maybe. But I'd rather speak my mind (mostly -- I do hold back when sometimes I'd like to yell and call names.)  

It's a fascinating time in which we live.   
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22 comments:

Thérèse said...

Little by little matters decant over time and fall into place.

Ms. A said...

I thought the people commenting to your blog post kept it very civil, unlike the comments left on one of the links you posted. Some of those were outrageous.

Martin said...

One of the keys to a good friendship, is tolerance. The capacity to, as you put it, to "...agree to disagree."

Generally, I find that this is a common trait with most bloggers. I always put blog-visiting on a par with visiting the house of a friend. With FB, it's sometimes more akin to walking down a busy street, occasionally bumping into someone you know, swapping news and views.

Carol@The Writers Porch said...

I saw the FB discussion although
i didn't put my two cents in.I acually try not to get into political discussions or religious ones either.This election is really turning out to be a mess.I've seen a number of people on FB talk about having lost FB friends over politics lately.I myself deleated a couple of people recently because of their postings,one who was in your discussion.Sharing your views and showing disrespect are two different things. I detest when people put horrible things about our President out there. He is our leader and should be shown respect whether you like him or not.I have one vote and I'm the one who will cast it.I will vote based on my instincts and beliefs not on others opinions.There seems to be so much hatred associated with politics lately I choose to let others holdthe debates.
I'll let you handle that,you're doing a good job! XO

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I agree we live in a fascinating time. I don't post anything controversial on FB or on my blog. I'm not comfortable with conflict, so I tend to avoid it.

However I do like lively conversations between friends at dinner parties or at home, just not on a public forum. I enjoy knowing others opinions even if they do not agree with mine.
Sam

Brian Miller said...

you know what...i love an author who is willing to engage...on whatever level...had a few friends that published here recently and once they do they tend to disappear...and they have said that of religeon and politics...but i think that is def a great place to engage others and get people talking...do you run the risk of losing people...sure...but you know what you run the risk of gaining others too.

Alan Burnett said...

I have just finished reading the new biography of Dickens - an author who was never afraid to shout his political views from the rooftops. If he was around now he would no doubt make use of Facebook - and I suspect his novels would be published in parts via his blog.

Kath said...

Whether I agree with you or not, I respect not only your right to express your convictions, but your courage to do so.

Civility. You hit the problem. On my neighborhood's website I posted my hopes for a rule change. I think I posted as respectfully as possible presenting my supporting facts. And braced myself. And it happened as usual. The bullies came out and responded with name calling. The discussion ended. I refuse to fire back, and sadly no one who might support my concerns posted anything. So disappointing that again the bullies will win.

So brava to you for stating your convictions!

Anonymous said...

Vicki, because you write with civility, I, too, doubt that you will lose many readers, and respect your choice that you had to speak what was in your heart.

Deana the queena.

Anonymous said...

Vicki, because you write with civility, I, too, doubt that you will lose many readers, and respect your choice that you had to speak what was in your heart.

Deana the queena.

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks, folks -- I like the reminder about Dickens, Alan!

Friko said...

Fascinating times? Sad times too. No matter how far we come (I am pro choice), the pendulum always swings back to the other side.

I am glad that we can ask this questions in the virtual world; perhaps people would shout more in the real world?

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

I don't do Facebook, and I also have been restrained about expressing political views via the blog. But what is happening now all across the country scares the hell out of me. Folks, we all need to remember that Adolf Hitler was ELECTED to office.

Susan M. Bell said...

I am so active on Facebook, it's not even funny. I really enjoy interacting with my many Facebook friends and discussing our differing opinions. I have always said, I'm glad all my friends (real world and Facebook) don't agree with me on everything. How boring would that be? Of course, I have had to delete and block some because they not only YELLED at others, but turned their rants into personal attacks. There's no reason for things like that at any time.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

An old adage is -- Be true to thy self -- why pussy foot around -- so you lose a few readers. In agreement with Mr. Miller -- you might pick up some new ones as a result of your words. -- barbara

Deanna said...

I try to stay away from anything political, Vicki. I truly believe we need to protect our unborn. Their little hearts beat and nobody should have the right to murder them. I am not in favor of choosing an unborn's life over a mother's, though. I usually don't speak up because it gets so murky. There are exceptions to every belief.

My church is in the practice of picketing abortion clinics (Planned Parenthood), offering the mothers information and trying to talk them out of abortions. I DO believe that is just plain wrong. These mothers are not breaking the law. They have already made a very difficult decision and I don't believe we have the right to harass them like we do. I've (unpopularly) made my opinions known.... probably not a wise thing for the church secretary to do.

See why I stay out of politics? It gets me in trouble!

And with that said, I greatly respect your opinion on this!

Anonymous said...

I believe that abortion is wrong, but I also believe that the decision to have one or not belongs ultimately to the woman, should involve the baby's father, and is none of the business of the government. I fear the main difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is simply which portions of our lives they want to control.

Lynne in GA

JJM said...

Well, I suspect also that the sort of people who read your books and then befriend you on FB aren't generally the sort to go into rant-mode ...

I thought you handled the adverse comments with great grace and aplomb, in any case.

--Mario

Vicki Lane said...

I do appreciate hearing these different points of view -- especially from you all whom I already 'know' and like.

Deanna, I applaud your bravery in making your opinion known at your church. In my opinion, this IS heartless harassment -- I can't imagine that any woman seeking an abortion isn't aware that she could carry the child to term and give it up for adoption.

Thank goodness, I was never faced with an unwanted pregnancy -- but I've known women who were -- whose husbands or boyfriends didn't want a child. Some were single mothers already, trying to hold down demanding jobs.

These were good women and the decision was not made lightly. To force them to run a gauntlet of shame, to say nothing of all the delaying tactics under consideration or already in force, seems wrong to me. (Let him among you who is without sin cast the first stone.)

I would like it if there were equal passion and concern for children already born and living in poverty.

And I would like it if reliable birth control and the morning-after pill were available to all.

And I like hearing your various opinions. xox~ Vicki

NCmountainwoman said...

Those are among the sweetest photographs I have seen in quite a while.

Vicki, you are so much more civil than I am. In the past I always believed that attaining women's rights was a linear process of improvement. And so it was...perhaps a bit slower than I would have liked but each step was a step forward. I never thought I would witness what I am seeing today. Thank goodness my dear Grammy did not live to see this turn of events. I have become quick (perhaps too quick) to write off "friends" (not FB friends but real-time acquaintances) when I hear the vitriolic statements they are spouting, believing that theirs are the only ones deserving to be heard.

Count me with Wayfarin' Wanderer. We should be afraid. Very afraid.

Brenda said...

That is the sweetest picture and absolutely perfect for this post.

So I am one that absolutely HATES when my "friends" use FB for political rants. I don't care so much if distant people or groups do this. But when family and friends post inflammatory things on FB, well, I just hate it. There are only a few of my contacts who do this regularly, and it bugged me so much I finally just decided to unsubscribe from their news. There, problem solved. I know for a fact that they would not say those things to each other's faces if we got together for a cookout or party. They wouldn't want to hurt other family members' feelings. But somehow, the same rules don't apply on FB. It really bothers me. I hate conflict anyway though, so this may be as much or more about "me" as it is a commentary on the lack of civility in our modern discourse and the way Facebook is used by some people as a weapon.

All that being said, blogging about political opinions for some reason strikes me completely differently. The discourse feels welcome and appropriate on a blog. I don't know why that is. I'll have to ponder on it.

Bernie said...

I have never had an abortion but that doesn't make me any better than someone who has had to make the hard decision to do so. Why are we judging them, isn't that God's job?
I also believe that history will show you have the best President ever, the anger and hatred being spewed now, the name calling and the lack of compassion or understanding is just sad. So, so sad. Am going to look for you on Face book, think I will enjoy your threads......:-)Hugs