I’m going to say it and I’m sorry for how crude this is but social networks are becoming something of a circle-jerk. I know that most of my friends read the Guardian and those that find it too pretentious are at least still lefties. I know that if I share something against the Conservatives, I’ll get a lot of likes. Especially if it’s a post about wanting them to die, try and live off benefits or how disgraceful food banks are. Within my social (network) circles, everybody seems to feel the same. Some people are VERY SNP, some are VERY Greens and some people are still brave enough to admit that they support Labour. It’s nice, in a way. Sort of. The lefties are still attacking lefties and suggesting you don’t think Labour aren’t an abomination to God seems to be a little taboo but mostly, we’re all the same.
I used to delete everybody I disagreed with and I really regret the decision now. Disagreement does not mean cut all ties. Disagreement makes way for interesting conversations, for debates and most importantly, understanding. It’s easy to think that all Conservatives/Conservative voters are evil monsters straight from a charity shop horror book but they’re not and their reasons for voting aren’t because they want the poor to die or because they’re rich people who’ve never had to worry about anything in their lives. They have different priorities when voting and I’m sorry guys but that’s fine.
The second you paint a person, a group of people, even a political party as ‘monsters’, you’ve lost. Monster means not human and if something isn’t human, you immediately assume that you don’t have to understand it. Understanding is crucial not only in interpersonal relationships but in politics. While I’m relieved that everybody seems more politically aware after being the bonafide politics geek for years, it’s frustrating to see political parties being treated like rock stars and opposing viewpoints like the plague. I have to say, it’s disturbing. We live in a democracy.
I don’t like the Conservatives. I support the Green party and actually quite like Labour (okay, I like Jeremy Corbyn and did like Labour. We’re all disenchanted). I don’t want Conservatives to win another election and I even wrote a post on how to help out in wake of inevitable cuts. I do, however, care about why my (very few) friends who voted Conservative, did so. I care about understanding all political parties and their intentions as much as possible. I care about democracy and not just on my own terms but democracy, even when I don’t like the results.
This is a new thing for me, trust me. But I’ve enjoyed learning, I’ve enjoyed understanding and once or twice, I’ve found myself even agreeing with my Conservative voting pals. They’re scared to speak up, though and I don’t blame them.
If people who are lefties find themselves afraid to speak, what hope is there for the opposing side?
I’ve seen this across the board. It’s not just politics, it’s everything. People are being shouted down because popular people on Twitter dislike their views and their followers back them up. What are you doing? Do you think you’re stopping the views being held by shouting them down? How is this progressive in the slightest? What can we gain from refusing to acknowledge viewpoints?
The fantastic thing about the internet is how connected we are. It’s how many different walk of lives we can be in touch with, sharing information with in lightspeed time. It’s REALLY beautiful! We don’t have to have the small world around us, we have it all at our fingertips but if you keep deleting those who aren’t the same, if you keep shouting down those trying to use their voice, you’ll inadvertently end up with the internet equivalent of small town syndrome. Lefty Land Syndrome, if you will. Okay, yeah, that’s horrendous but you get it.
This is fairly dry for me, I’ll go back to slagging myself off and offering advice on depression again before you know it.