On My Failure to Snark

 

Every so often, I remind my faithful reader (that’s my lovely wife; hi, honey!) that I spend time on Facebook. As most know, Facebook has devolved from a way to keep tabs on friends and family and their daily activities — accompanied by pictures of what they are eating — to a storm of political posts from whatever news source the poster happens to prefer. Even though I have many friends on the opposite side of the aisle, I’ve yet to defriend anyone from my list. I even read a lot of what they post.

One post that recently struck me was posted by a young woman from a church I was a part of in Oregon. For a while, we were in the same Bible study group. Just recently, she had her first baby, about a month before my wonderful son was born. So I’ve been following her, watching the progress of new mom and baby. Of course, she’s politically motivated on the opposite side of the aisle. Below, is a full quote from a post she made (note, it is a bit long):

Religion as well as political views are some of the most sensitive topics you can address with other individuals as most people hold a lot of emotion behind the two. For this reason I do not usually openly share my political views, especially on a social media outlets, but these points are too real not to share… do yourself and your country a favor and educate yourself.

If you voted for Trump because of Hillary’s email “problem” but are not upset that the Trump administration is using a private email server and unsecured phones, that is hypocrisy.

If you believe Jesus was a persecuted refugee fleeing Herod, but support the ban on Syrian refugees, that is hypocrisy.

If you believe life begins at conception, but support defunding the country’s number one source of prenatal care, Planned Parenthood, that is hypocrisy.

If you believe the mainstream media lies but believe Trump when he spouts verifiable lies, that is hypocrisy.

If you dismiss the AP, Reuters or NPR as biased media but accept everything Fox News says, that is hypocrisy.

If you think all life is sacred, but do not support reasonable gun control, that is hypocrisy.

If you think children are the future, but support reducing funds for SNAP, that is hypocrisy.

If you believe in education, but dismiss evolution or climate change as hoax, that is hypocrisy.

If you believe in the sovereignty of the United States, but support forced incursions on Native American lands, that is hypocrisy.

If you believe that we need to drain the swamp in Washington but support Trump’s cabinet picks, that is hypocrisy.

If you believe in the Constitution, but support indiscriminate detainment and torture, that is hypocrisy.

If you believe that unborn black babies lives matter, but black lives don’t matter, that is hypocrisy.

If you believe that we deserve life, liberty and happiness, but support taking away healthcare from millions of American, that is hypocrisy.

If you believe that the practice of your religion is more important than the practice of no religion or a different religion, that is hypocrisy.

If you believe in equal rights under the law, but don’t support marriage equality and non discrimination for LGBTQ+ Americans, that is hypocrisy.

If you are glad that California or New York do not decide national policy for you, but insist on forcing your red state policies on others, that is hypocrisy.

If you believe in the first amendment, but call people who peacefully protest the President hooligans, that is hypocrisy.

If you are an American but think dissent is disrespectful, that is hypocrisy.

If you think that anything that has happened over the last week is normal or acceptable, then you have not been paying attention.

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

-MLK

**I will delete comments as I see fit, you don’t like that, keep movin along

As you can expect, I was annoyed and irritated. I wanted to sit down and argue each statement point by point. I wanted to point out all the straw men, ad hominem attacks, and oversimplifications with wild abandon. Of course, noting the length, I quickly realized that was a losing endeavor (thankfully). Mentally, I followed up with a couple of witty rejoinders, and even found a video clip for one that was perfect. I thought about posting them, but something gave me pause.

I went to a forum where snark abounds in spades and noted this. I even shared part of the above post. I showed my witty rejoinders. Doing so achieved a sort of catharsis for me. But I also expressed my unwillingness to reply, requested someone talk me down from the ledge. On cue, the little shoulder angels and demons popped up on either side encouraging me one way or another. In the end, I chose not to reply. But I don’t think that resolved anything.

Let me put it this way: There’s a divide in American thinking, but it can’t be remedied by demanding the other side approach me. It certainly can’t be remedied by throwing rocks/spears across the divide, as I intended in my initial responses.

But, as a man who seeks to follow Christ, I know I am called to come together with others, especially my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Part of what frustrates me is not just that such things anger me but that, by silence, I do nothing to bridge the divide. My friend, whether she realizes it or not, clearly expects the other side to come to hers, hat in hand, begging forgiveness. And I can’t really fault her for doing so, because don’t I often do the same thing? Wouldn’t it be satisfying to demand the other side approach me and tell me I was right all along?

So there is the dilemma: There will always be political and social disagreement, and my desire is to do what I can to lessen the divide, rather than leave it be or (worse) to increase it. But I am not sure how. I am only in control of my own responses. I’m willing to accept that political stances aren’t dictated in the Bible, but it would seem she does not. At the very least, she seems to accept the Biblical analysis popular with the secular Left. She’s been rather vocal lately, and has (more than once) been among those Progressives who like to declare who is and is not properly Christian.

On the other hand, she is a sister in Christ. If I am to say something, I should say it in a way to build bridges, not burns them,  even if she seemingly has poured gasoline all over the timber. By no means should I bring my matchbook with me. So, what to do?

I can take comfort in knowing my identity in Christ supersedes my political identity. Indeed, as one member noted, Christ had Simon the Zealot (a violently anti-Roman faction in Israel) and Levi the Tax Collector (who profited greatly from working for Rome) among his twelve apostles. Can you imagine some of the conversations they had at the table? Yet they remained together, united not in politics but in our savior, Christ Jesus.

We can do similarly, but it is going to be hard. I am not sure how. I only know that I can only affect my own actions and my own responses to other people’s actions. I’m done being divided on this. I only have one thing to consider: How do I proceed?

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 91 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. doulalady Member
    doulalady
    @doulalady

    When I was a child, my Father would say: “If you’re right, shut up, and if you’re wrong, shut up.”

    Whenever I stray from that I regret it. Sometimes one just has to wait a couple of decades for a protagonist to grow up and get it. No hurrying sense.

     

    • #31
  2. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    “You likely have spent the last eight years never having to persuade anyone about your point of view with a coherent argument that asks for genuine debate with respect.   Whatever the origin of your discussion methods it appears that there is only one acceptable way to think in this world.  If you’d like help with tolerance I have this great two millennium old book for you to read. “

    • #32
  3. Sabrdance Member
    Sabrdance
    @Sabrdance

    I have some distant friends (really, friends of friends) who won’t shut up or change the topic.  Some of them are officially my coreligionists, though we don’t see eye to eye on much of the doctrine.  For the sake of mutual friends, I have decided to let it pass -literally.  They do not wish to argue, they wish to vent.  I do not wish argue -so I let them vent into the air.  Some became so obviously hostile I muted them.

    A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  If I had a gentle answer, I’d give it -but not having that, the best I can do is avoid a harsh one.

    I don’t got answers, CUD, but I feel ya, brother.

    • #33
  4. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Whenever I am confronted with situations like these I like to go and re-read this essay from Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island:

    http://thericatholic.com/stories/Jesus-Wasnt-Always-Nice,2011?

    • #34
  5. Franco Inactive
    Franco
    @Franco

    No way would you get through to this person. She is repeating things that sound good that support the psychological construct she’s made for herself. Anything you say using logic or reasoning will appear to her to be an attack on her personally. She is a good and smart person and she’s providing everyone proof. Don’t mess with her self-image.

    Smile and avoid talking of these things.

    • #35
  6. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    She had no point. She was not even original as this little post is a lefty cut and paste special.  Let it be.  You can’t fix stupid.  Your little friend while claiming religious status is running with the devils.  Hell awaits her, but that is between her and God.

    • #36
  7. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    C. U. Douglas: If you believe Jesus was a persecuted refugee fleeing Herod, but support the ban on Syrian refugees, that is hypocrisy.

    Well the thing with Jesus is that I don’t think he would molest women on the street or shoot up a gay club.

    • #37
  8. TooShy Coolidge
    TooShy
    @TooShy

    There was a very interesting post about this a little while ago. Here is the link:

    http://ricochet.com/406310/disrupting-a-worldview-winning-converts/

    I think he had some very good ideas about how to open a conversation.

    • #38
  9. rgbact Inactive
    rgbact
    @romanblichar

     

    Her list isn’t worthy of debate, but rather fun as an exercise to spot the logical fallacies…..which liberals love (Jesus was a refugee….so all refugees are great!) Maybe fun to create your own opposing fallacies from the conservative side. To her credit, she was far less crude and hyperbolic than most liberals, so I’d cut her some slack.

    • #39
  10. hazel krabinski Inactive
    hazel krabinski
    @hazelkrabinski

    You are never going to change her mind politically and you probably won’t feel better addressing her post.  If you respond at all I would suggest you say something along the lines of how much you love seeing pictures of her child on Facebook.   Maybe it will hint her off putting up political stuff.

    I am even tired of my FB friends that I agree with doing it.  I have had to unfollow (but remain friends) with a lot of my FB friends because of their political posts.

     

    • #40
  11. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    C. U. Douglas: If you believe Jesus was a persecuted refugee fleeing Herod, but support the ban on Syrian refugees, that is hypocrisy.

    Well the thing with Jesus is that I don’t think he would molest women on the street or shoot up a gay club.

    Ha. They also love to use Him as a way to support welfare, conveniently forgetting 2 Thessalonians 3:10:   For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

    • #41
  12. KC Mulville Inactive
    KC Mulville
    @KCMulville

    In basketball, sometimes you can steal the ball and go for a breakaway, and then an easy layup. Most of the time, though, the defense gets back ahead of you. That’s when you have to do a bunch of things – pick and roll, screens, make the extra pass, etc. – all so you can get an open shot. And even then, just because you have an open shot, doesn’t mean that you’ll score; frequently you miss the shot.

    Discussions are like basketball. Sometimes you get an easy layup, but most of the time you have to work at it. And just like basketball, two points are just a fraction of what you’re going to need in the final score. You have to keep hustling, keep running, keep adjusting on offense and defense.

    That’s why it’s fun. Just keep playing.

    • #42
  13. Matt Upton Inactive
    Matt Upton
    @MattUpton

    Facebook is just a bad medium for this kind of conversation. Even if an argument broke through, the original poster cannot change their mind and save face in a public forum. Since Douglas does value her friendship and respects her as a fellow Christian, these concerns are important.

    I understand the political game theory that conservatives need to punch back when progressives try to bully you into silence, but this should not apply for personal friendships. We’re admonished to speak the truth in love.

    If she continues to the point of alienating friends on Facebook, a private message explaining why the political posts are not helpful may be the best option.

    • #43
  14. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    C. U. Douglas: If you believe Jesus was a persecuted refugee fleeing Herod, but support the ban on Syrian refugees, that is hypocrisy.

    Well the thing with Jesus is that I don’t think he would molest women on the street or shoot up a gay club.

    Ha. They also love to use Him as a way to support welfare, conveniently forgetting 2 Thessalonians 3:10: For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

    There’s an basic oversimplification here that is being ignored. For example from what I’ve seen, the Torah instructs the nation of Israel to be welcoming and charitable to foreigners, however there’s an expectation that the latter will be mindful of the ways of the former. People tend to want to point to the hospitality concept without any expectation that those taking advantage of it should be mindful.

    In modern terms, I don’t mind having the refugees here, but the two largest problems to contend with are vetting and assimilation. The reason I was against the Obama Administration’s plan was that there was no reasonable expectation that they had any interest in vetting or assimilating, which I’ve noted elsewhere is causing large problems in Europe.

    And here we get why dealing with her post as a whole is tricky. She offered a large number of issues worth discussing, but in many terms it’s oversimplified, and then there’s a note she might not want to discuss.

    I’ve not responded to this post in particular. Perhaps if these come up again in different formats, I will discuss. There’s complexities that need addressed.

    • #44
  15. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Its important to know that they are making enemies in the soft left too with this kind of crap.

     

    • #45
  16. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Private messages are usually better than public ones, because they are less likely to get someone’s back up. My wife has become quite good at this, convincing FB friends to reconsider.

    I am not on FB, but I like to keep an oar in. Every time in a post office or DMV I wonder, out loud, how much fun hospitals and doctor’s offices will be when they, too, are run by the government.

    Every time I am in a TSA line I point out to my fellow travelers that the TSA has yet to catch a single bad guy intent on doing harm. A single one.  After all these years of wasted passenger hours and hassle. Most people do not know it, and are glad to know it. It sometimes makes them think.

     

    • #46
  17. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    And on refugees, I exhort the government to export Cities of Refuge instead of importing refugees. It usually wrong foots liberals and makes them seriously consider an idea that is harder to dismiss out of hand.

    • #47
  18. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    The funny thing is that I’ve seen a lot of comments about social media lately.  A Lady Brains podcast focused on this and got me to thinking.  I wrote this: Facebook and a Game.  In it, I propose we take posts like the one your friend put out there and rip all the straw men apart–make the counters–but HERE in Ricochet to better exercise rhetorical muscles.

    Should this be done with your friend on Facebook?  Well, that depends on your relationship.

    The truth of the matter is that I have some friends who might post something like that who would welcome my pointing out how it comes across.  They would, in fact, revel in the debate.

    BUT your friend put a shutdown clause at the end of her post from the get-go that makes me think she’s not exactly interested in having a dialogue.   Trying to engage such folk is less than useless.  At least the Pharisees would speak with Jesus.

    • #48
  19. paulebe Inactive
    paulebe
    @paulebe

    A question I ask myself more and more as I read Facebook and operate in this highly-charged political atmosphere is, “To what end?”  What, exactly, do I think will happen if I engage in the debate.  In an overwhelming majority the cases, the answer to that questions is, “nothing good!” and I get on with my day.  When I fail to ask myself that question, I typically regret it – deeply.

    • #49
  20. Isaac Smith Member
    Isaac Smith
    @

    billy (View Comment):

    Matthew 18:20King James Version (KJV)

    20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

    No mention of Facebook. You change someone’s heart by talking to him or her face to face.

    Absolutely.  There’s even a verse for that.  (Matt. 18:15)  This can’t be addressed on the level of Facebook.

    • #50
  21. Michael Brehm Coolidge
    Michael Brehm
    @MichaelBrehm

    If you ask me, you should not respond and simply say a prayer for your friend (and/or your situation in general). G-d knows best how to reach her.

    • #51
  22. Pugshot Inactive
    Pugshot
    @Pugshot

    I guess if I wanted to engage her – one Christian to another – I would ask myself how Christ himself would engage with the woman. He would not call her a hypocrite and argue with her; I believe he would approach her in love and try to reason with her, but she would have to want the discussion. If you truly want to try to engage with her, I would suggest posting something along the lines of:

    “I can see from your post that you are angry that Trump has been elected president. I can understand your anger. I sense from the nature of your post that you actually do not wish to discuss how you feel with anyone, but instead simply wish to exclaim your feelings to the world. If I am mistaken, and you truly do wish to have a civil and understanding discussion of some (or all) of the points you’ve raised, I would welcome the opportunity. As Christians, we are expected to refrain from judging our fellow sinners. We have not been appointed the arbiters of who is hypocritical. And there is enough hypocrisy on both sides of the political spectrum that offering our judgments (or, more correctly, opinions) would be pointless. I am ready anytime you choose to engage with me in a civil, Christ-centric manner. If you wish to have such a discussion, please let me know. Yours in Christ, etc.”

    • #52
  23. Isaac Smith Member
    Isaac Smith
    @

    Perhaps a private note to her noting that some of her recent Facebook posts seem to suggest that she views you as a hypocrite or worse.  That the posts come across as hurtful and divisive and ask if she would be willing to get together and talk about it.

    Or let it go.  Part of the progressive mindset is that they are on the right side of history and that they represent the best of humanity.  And they have been rejected.  And Trump is not subtle – he is basically saying that not only are they not on the right side of history, but that they were destroying the country.  Bigly.

    I don’t know how long the resulting primal scream is going to last, but you are unlikely to make much progress while it is.

    I am involved in the Cursillo program.  My main groupie is liberal.  Some of our meetings have spiraled out of control into political discussions.  We both work very hard, and I emphasize both of us, at keeping our conversations civil and letting hopefully unintended slights go by.  We have come to the realization that working on our spirituality is hard enough without the distractions of politics.

     

    • #53
  24. Ulysses768 Inactive
    Ulysses768
    @Ulysses768

    I have a neighbor who fits the description of this young woman.  Her facebook posts were similarly full of moral conceit and vitriol for those who disagree. This woman so greatly stoked my wife’s contrarian streak, that she voted for Trump, despite being firmly against him in the weeks before the election.

    Although I avoid Facebook at all costs, my wife’s frequent reports of her posts greatly soured my opinion of the woman.  Thankfully my wife avoids posting her political viewpoints on Facebook, so the animosity was not reciprocated.

    Then last week my wife hurt herself and this woman called to ask if she was alright.  In that instant, my heart softened.  In her mind, she is not addressing her friends and neighbors, but some evil faceless monster that she perceives in her own fear.  She is simply blind to the extent of her insults towards half of the people around her.  As others here have posted, she would not say such things in a personal conversation.

    • #54
  25. Brian McMenomy Inactive
    Brian McMenomy
    @BrianMcMenomy

    First off, thanks for the though-provoking, soul-searching post.  I might start off something like this:

    A wise person told me once, in relation to interacting with others, “There is always something you don’t know”.  Fine words to live by if I ever heard them.  When I try to ascribe motive to someone, I need to know a great deal more about them in word and deed than just who they voted for.

    It is always, always problematic when we in the body of Christ presume to proclaim “This is the Christian position; dissent from it at your eternal peril”.  We all have imperfect understanding of life; we all have limited access to information and we cannot predict the future.  God does not have a “D” or an “R” after His name.  I might ( I do) wonder how someone who is a Christian comes to a particular position, while not categorically ascribing a fatal character flaw to them.

    I come to my understanding of the world and how I view reality from many different sources.  It isn’t the Bible that tells me that free-market capitalism, however flawed, is the most effective economic system for human progress and poverty alleviation that the world has ever known; it’s thousands of years of history.  It works with the fallen nature of man, not expecting the nature of man to change.  I would love to continue the dialogue with you; please don’t proclaim as truth your presumptions.

    • #55
  26. Ulysses768 Inactive
    Ulysses768
    @Ulysses768

    Pugshot (View Comment):
    I guess if I wanted to engage her – one Christian to another – I would ask myself how Christ himself would engage with the woman. He would not call her a hypocrite and argue with her; I believe he would approach her in love and try to reason with her, but she would have to want the discussion.

    I agree with the idea that this is the way to approach her in the spirit of Christian charity, but I don’t recall any scripture in which Christ reasons with people.  I would define his approach more as deliberately confrontational.

    • #56
  27. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    She has posted the catechism of her faith on Facebook to let the world know that she is religiously orthodox and therefore a Good Person. She also believes that this faith is Christianity.

    • #57
  28. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    So. Many. Logical. Fallacies.

    Perhaps I am illogical, too, in this sense:  I have no problem with people retweeting stuff on Twitter, but I do have a real problem with “retweeting” (for lack of a better word) on Facebook when it becomes constant and/or political.

    I have one friend who goes on jags several times a day, sharing something new literally every minute.  There simply aren’t that many cat videos, puzzles, weird tricks, and life hacks that are worth my time.  When sharing becomes indiscriminate, what is the value?  In addition, it does nothing to help my friend and me stay in touch and connected.

    With regard to the political posts, I always ask myself, “What in the world was the purpose of this?”  There is almost never a satisfactory answer except (a) my friend is virtue-signaling, or (b) my friend is venting.  If anyone thinks he should post something because it just might change some minds, then he is sadly misguided.  That is a complete waste of time, and it’s annoying, to boot.

    I restrict my political opinions to a political website called Ricochet.

    • #58
  29. I. M. Fine Coolidge
    I. M. Fine
    @IMFine

    The only addition I’ll make to all these thoughtful, compassionate suggestions is this: Go back to the common connection you and your friend share – you both experienced the miracle of welcoming a child into your families within a month of each other. That eclipses everything…especially for your friend as a first-time mother. Consider asking her what her hopes are for her child’s future. I predict you will share the same hopes. Start there – on a positive, forward-looking common ground. Then – only if the tenor the the exchanges warrants it – you can move to a more balanced discussion of issues. For instance, if she says “I want my child to receive the best education possible” you will (surely) agree and then simply ask how she thinks that can best be achieved for both your children. And so it goes.

    These are, indeed, emotional times for so many. But I will always believe we share far more as children of God than what threatens to divide us. All the best.

    • #59
  30. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Ulysses768 (View Comment):
    Then last week my wife hurt herself and this woman called to ask if she was alright. In that instant, my heart softened. In her mind, she is not addressing her friends and neighbors, but some evil faceless monster that she perceives in her own fear. She is simply blind to the extent of her insults towards half of the people around her.

    This is why I actually removed myself from Facebook very, very recently.  Once I had the hubris to think what I posted mattered, and I certainly liked seeing pictures of my cousins.

    However, I was beginning to see people in a very unhealthy way as they lashed out at the “monster” like your woman seems to do.

    I finally concluded what I wrote didn’t matter that much to anyone who wouldn’t stay in touch beyond social media, but how I was beginning to see people I had once thought were kind and good mattered a lot to me.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back was when a graduate student–a smart and very well educated human being–posted that it was fine to “shame” people with different political opinions in public as long as you don’t get violent.  This from the “anti-bullying” Left.

    Nope.  I couldn’t handle that kind of self-righteous fascism.

    It was time to walk away or dislike how had started to reduce people to their emotional outbursts….

    • #60
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.