Opinion, News Analysis, and Social Media
Facebook is a lousy place for a group discussion. There are no debate or discussion guidelines. Reading a Facebook rant is like watching a coyote howl at the moon. Surely a message will be heard, but it’s likely misunderstood and won’t change anybody’s mind.
Depending on one’s vantage point, events and outcomes of the past week or so generated wildly different reactions. The biggest matter at hand was/is the SCOTUS Ruling on marriage equality.
“Facebook is the public square for the digital age, and thunderous array of posts, observations, and opinions has caused it to short-circuit.” ~ Andy Ebon
People see virtually everything through experience: Geography, neighborhood, country… the politics of our parents and relatives, the sophistication of our schools… the brands and products used in our household, music influence from an older sibling or friends… the religion practiced in one’s family, teachers who taught the process of critical thinking, dinner tables discussions which allowed for differences of opinion.
Enter, The Bell Curve
In any set of polling numbers, there tend to be 3-5 distinct segments of opinion. Using the simplest set of three opinions, there are two extremes. each with roughly 20%. The middle segment is the remaining 60%. The extreme opinions tend to be rock solid, whatever their reasoning.
The middle group is more likely to shift with discussion and debate. And somewhere along the line, a majority opinion is formed.
Don’t quibble about my suggest numbers. It could be 30% – 40% – 30%, but the personalities still apply. There is also another segment defined by frustration. In election and proposition politics, these people can become disenchanted and choose not vote.
Public Opinion is Evolutionary and Slow-Changing
,,, and the politicians are usually the last to figure it out.
- in 1920, our country was almost 150 years old, when women were ‘granted the right to vote.’ (19th Amendment) In five years, celebration of women voting will reach one full century. Many developed countries, worldwide, have elected Prime Ministers and Presidents, yet the USA has barely tapped the potential of its female citizenry for the Senate, Congress, and Presidency.
- In 1969, came the tipping point for the America’s gay community. “The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States“ – source Wikipedia
- And this past week, marriage equality became the law of the land in the United States, 48 years after interracial marriage became a reality.
A Key Historical Note
The United States was built on two key platforms (among others): Freedom of Religion and the separation of Church and State. (note: see this detailed explanation of Freedom of Religion in the United States).
These last few days Facebook has been a torrent of aggressive pontificating, in part lacking specific knowledge of the events and symbols of history, that led up to these landmark changes.
It’s reasonable to understand the celebration and jubilation of oppressed citizens as blue skies began to appear.
It’s also fair that people who hold longstanding religious practices or skewed social outlooks immediately shout ‘Hell, no!’.
“The fact that the Supreme Court has decided (in a 5-4 vote) for reasons of law, with the current beliefs of 60% of the population does not wave a magic wand over the remaining 40%. Getting more closely aligned will take more time.”
~ Andy Ebon
Facebook: In the present tense
How about calling a timeout on projecting extreme opinions on Social Media? You know… let’s all take a chill pill… for maybe a week or two. Don’t make awkward attempts at sexual humor or people who are different to you. What’s funny to you may scare away some of your closest friends in business.
People who were MIA during the run-up to the marriage equality by SCOTUS are experiencing backlash, being labeled as bandwagon jumpers and opportunists; suddenly the alleged low-hanging fruit in a windfall LGBTQ marriages.
The nature of Social Media begs us to pop off. Let your thoughts marinate… then edit them, and see what social media platform they belong on, IF ANY.
Search for Empathy
It wouldn’t hurt any of us to develop a feel for empathy; understanding another person or group’s perspective through their eyes and context.
Combining empathy with being somewhat slower to react to events, large or small, makes for better collaboration, decisions, and middle ground.
Hope to meet up with you on the middle ground of reaction… It’s a calmer, and more thoughtful place.
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