Pin It
editorialRather than waste hours of my life that I can never get back, I have been experiencing the Republican Convention vicariously through my politically polarized Facebook friends this week (I plan to do the same when the Dems meet next week).  This is a lot more fun than the real thing, because who doesn't like reality filtered through bias and outrage?  As soon as one of the candidates says or does something, my friends in the other camp jump on it, often faster than the national press, to condemn it.

My blue friends were quick to jump on Mrs. Trump's speech similarities to a speech by Michelle Obama.  I didn't like it one bit when some of my red friends posted nude pictures of Mrs. Trump.  My blue peeps loved it when Ted Cruz told Republicans to 'vote their conscience' instead of endorsing Trump, causing security officers to escort Mrs. Cruz out of the hall because they feared for her safety.  One of my blue friends gleefully pointed to a Washington Post editorial (the Post has been unabashedly partisan in its election coverage this year) that begins with, "The Donald Trump Family Reunion, formerly known as the Republican National Convention, illustrates how a once great political party now sees its main purpose as harnessing the opposition to the devil."

I should talk, I suppose, because I haven't exactly made any secret of the fact that I am so repelled by both candidates that I am thinking of writing in Harry Truman, who I think would make a much better president than either Trump of Clinton even though he is dead.

An aside: I have to mention that at Wednesday's Lansing Town Board meeting a computer consultant told the board they have outgrown their email service.  It took some willpower to refrain from blurting out, "I think Hilary has an email server she's not using any more!"

My red friends love Clinton's email problem, delighting in accusing the FBI of giving her a pass because of her insider standing.  And a moment after Clinton's potential VP choices came out, one of my red friends posted to a link entitled, "Clinton’s Possible VP Pick Violated Federal Law During Interview" accusing Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro of violating the Hatch Act in an interview with Katie Couric.

I'll admit that I look askance at these left and right political posts.  These Facebook friends are not really looking for a conversation.  They are Archie Bunkering their particular biases, which, to tell the truth, isn't much fun for me.

One of my blue friends has named Trump 'King Liar'.  As a former drama teacher, I have to admit that is one of my favorite Facebook rants, if only because The Donald's children have been so publicly supportive of his campaign. 

You know the story... English King Lear says he is dividing his kingdom among his three daughters, planning to give the biggest piece to the one who claims to love him most.  He's hoping it will be his favorite, Cordelia, but she isn't playing the game, despite the fact that she actually does love him best (sorry, Tommy Smothers!).  Her sisters are scheming b--ches who suck up to the old monarch, but don't mean a word of it.

To make a long story short, Cordelia and the King of France invade England to save Lear from a dastardly plot her sisters have hatched but they manage to murder her anyway, despite her victory.  Then one of the sisters, Goneril (who names a daughter Goneril, anyway?  You don't have to look very far to understand why THAT daughter hated her father!), murders her other evil sister Regan (no relation to President Reagan), then kills herself when she learns that Edmund has been killed (both she and Goneril loved Edmund.  Hey, it's Shakespeare, it's not supposed to be a simple plot!)  Lear, carrying Cordilia's dead body and mad with grief, drops dead.

That is a lot of drama!  So is Trump.  So is Hillary.  But here's the thing.  In my old age I don't get a kick out of dramas about mean people acting mean to each other just because they can.  Modern politicians do that, and no thinking person actually believes them when they do speak out on things that matter.  Does my blue friend really hope all of Trump's children will be killed and that Trump himself will drop dead from grief?  I know him as a gentle soul, so I don't think so.

In real life I'm not so fond of drama that I think it should overshadow actual issues.  The national conversation has become a soap opera recap instead of a reasoned discussion of opposing viewpoints.  That is greatly hurting our country.  Look at who might be our next president if you don't think so.

So maybe it's possible that I need to find some new friends.  While I may have to drop dead of grief if another friend posts another cat video on Facebook, those little cuties are looking a lot more attractive these days than the political vitriol my buddies post (that's a leftover from my time working for AOL, buy the way.  What we call 'friends' today we called 'buddies' back in the day).  Well, I may as well admit it, I am fond of most of these people, which is why they are still my Facebook friends.  Though I don't remember them ever spouting such political vitriol in real life, or talking much to me about politics at all.

Online forums have always been a place to declare things, safe from being removed by physical proximity.  I like Facebook because, unlike most forums, past and present, you are required to (and most people do) use your real name, with the side effect that you have to take responsibility for the things you post.  And while I admit that some of the posts are amusing, they have become boring as well, because they have become so predictable.  I could stay off Facebook for a week and still tell you what my Facebook friends were posting about the election.

A few weeks ago I read an article reporting that Jimmy Fallon has been criticized for not being tough on the candidates when they appear on the Tonight Show.  "That’s not my job" Fallon explained. “It’s not Meet the Press. I’m not Face the Nation.  You can watch those shows and see that. My job is, again, is to make everyone look good. No matter who it is. If you’re a politician, if you're, whatever its is."  Do you suppose Fallon would let me be his Facebook friend?

Pin It