You’re sitting at your computer, or glued to your smart phone, just scrollin’ through your newsfeed, trying to see what your Facebook Friends have been up to since you last checked four minutes ago. And then you see it: your tree huggin’ hippy friend has posted another
God-damn Gosh darn Obama ad. Or, your right wing nutjob co-worker has posted yet another graph that shows that Obama’s plan for the economy just isn’t working. How fucking annoying is that, right?! Why can’t we just go about our business, liking Justin Bieber, uploading another picture of ourselves (maybe in the reflection of a mirror to be cool), or talking about the mundane facets of our lives? Instead, these politically active sons-a-bitches have to keep shoving their political views down my throat via Facebook.
Or at least that’s how it seems lately, according to some folks in my Facebook friends circle. I’ve read quite a few statuses declaring to the cyber world that they were blocking or at least hiding any of their “friends” who keep trying to influence their own views on the upcoming election. I mean, how dare people voice their own opinions!
Well, I’ll tell you what: THAT is on my damn nerves! I thought electing the next President of the United States was kind of a big deal, big enough, in fact, for people to express their opinions on the candidates and parties that are running. And sure, there has been debate, and quarreling, and shallow name calling in politics ever since…well, politics existed. But the difference is that all of that “political stuff” used to be relegated to TV, newspapers, and magazines. And now, politics has infiltrated Facebook. That’s why all of you people are so annoyed: Because in the past, you could just turn off the TV, or not pick up a newspaper, and presto! you don’t have to be ‘annoyed’ by all of these petty debates about who the leader of our country should be.
Now that Facebook has crept into every crevice of our social lives, of course it was going to be a perfect tool for trading political ideas. I say Thank God! Facebook provides a medium to share information further and quicker than any other medium in the past. What better way to use it than to share knowledge and ideas? And I’m not talking about the knowledge that you checked in at the fucking Denny’s bathroom to make another stupid ass kissy-face picture.
But by all means, get annoyed that someone’s bashing the opposing political candidate in your news feed. Sure, you’ll act like you’re “above” the fray, and it’s people on both sides who are annoying you, and what really annoys you is just the fact that politics has just gotten so darn mean. Just name callin from both sides of the aisle. Gosh, how horrible. Right – so that’s why you end up attacking and deleting the person who has ideas that are different from your own.
I’m a politically active individual, and I’m going to post articles that express my beliefs. Well, let me be more accurate: I’m a politically aware individual. Earning my PhD takes up all of my time, so I don’t really have much left to be very active. I’m not stupid enough to think that my Facebook posts (which actually are just articles that I share) are going to ‘convert’ anyone to ‘my side’ (probably because most of my friends are of my “silly, ideal” political persuasion, anyway), but I would hope that some of the information I share at least makes people stop and think.
I have a lot riding on November 6th. And I’m not the only one. While the economy is looming large on everyone’s mind (for a very good reason), I’m referring to something more specific. As a gay man, this presidential election will have very big repercussions for my life. On the one hand, we have a candidate who has repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, stopped enforcing the discriminatory Defense Of Marriage Act, and became the first sitting president to endorse marriage equality for all Americans. On the other hand, you have a candidate who believes that homosexuality is not only a “lifestyle” but an abomination, and as such, would roll back all of the legislation that activists have worked so hard to achieve.
I’m not really a supporter of voting for a president based on one particular issue. And let’s be real, this isn’t the only reason I’m voting for Obama, but you can bet your sweet ass it’s on top of the list. Because, if Obama wins, that means that there are four more years in which I could possibly see marriage equality recognized on a national level. If Obama wins, then MAYBE my partner and I wouldn’t have to worry about his status in this country. Yeah, that’s right, I’m not worried about “gay marriage” simply because I want to have something with the name “marriage” on it (versus a civil union or whatever the fuck you want to call it). I’m talking about legal benefits that straight couples now get…and that I’m unfairly denied.
My partner is a foreign worker in this country, and he’s here to do the IT jobs that Americans just simply aren’t qualified to do (why that’s the case will have to wait for another post). He pays all of his taxes, contributes to a growing sector, and makes sure that millions of people get their healthcare without a glitch. However, he’s reached the highest visa possible now, and it’s only valid for a maximum of six more years. That means that if his legal status in the US does not change by the year 2018, he’ll have to leave the country forever. Now this isn’t normally a big problem for most ‘normal’ people, because there are two ways to achieve the next status, which is permanent residency (aka, green card holder): #1, your employer can sponsor you, but this is expensive on their part, and right now the processing time for his particular employer-sponsored green card is 11 years. #2, you can get married. This is obviously not an option for my partner and millions more like him.
So, this is what’s at stake for us: We know we want to spend the rest of our lives together. But because of a fucking technicality we may not be able to do that here, in the supposed land of the free?
That’s why I post political statuses on Facebook. Because it fucking matters. I passionately believe that everybody deserves at least basic health care as a human right. I believe in placing rules on the game called economics so that it’s a little more fair and one or two people don’t end up buying all the good spots on the Monopoly board and watch from their penthouses as the rest of us fight over scraps. And, I believe that every single American deserves the right to get married and reap all of the same legal and financial benefits (including green card status for your spouse). So, I post about these things, hoping that people out there will understand that these issues are real, and they matter. Politics isn’t just old men in suits talking bad about each other. It’s not just an interruption in your Facebook Newsfeed!
So, by all means: Block me and others like me, but please block yourself from the voting booth, too. Or do us all a favor and delete your Facebook account until after the elections. Because maybe your political apathy is annoying the shit out of us. Or how about at least refrain from mocking those who care enough to actually engage in debate. I don’t block people just because they tell me every detail of their day, because they check in at every bar they hang out at and tag all of their BFFs and drankin’ buddies, because they tell me constantly what music they’re listening to. It shows all of the different sides of people out there, sides that I wouldn’t be able to see without Facebook. Plus, I like sharing what I made for supper too!
Or, how about instead of getting your panties in a wad, you actually engage those people in a debate. Show them where you think they’re wrong…and then present your own answer to the problem. But of course, to do that, you’d actually have to do some homework. And like, LOL omg, who has time for that?! Plus, the iPhone 5 is out, right? And that’s way more damn important than the election and all those Facebook political posts.