Friday, July 29, 2016

Personal Values and Politics

A post appeared on my Facebook page a few days ago (one of those “Like” posts) suggesting that political comments should cease to be posted on Facebook.  "No one cares," the post said, "about your political views anyway." The comments on this post indicated that friendships are being damaged and some actually being lost because of political posts.  Still other comments suggested that political posts do not change another person's political position and, therefore, are a wasted and unwanted effort.  "Let's post," some commented, "about something we care about, something other than politics."

Social media is social media and is defined as "forms of electronic communication (such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and Web sites) through which people create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, etc."  Personal messages are fine. I enjoy sharing my own travel adventures and reading about the travel adventures of others on FB.  I enjoy reading about and seeing pictures of my FB friends and their families. But, whether we realize it or not, politics is present in these posts too. Politics is  an essential part of  our social life and our conversation (social media).  It has to be, because we think, we act, and we live according to our political views.  Our political views are derived from our personal value systems.  We tend to think that politics is about the government, those who run for office, etc., but at base, politics is “of, for, and having to do with citizens.”  A simple definition of politics is "the opinions and thoughts that someone has about what should be done by government..." These “opinions and thoughts” are, in fact, our deepest and most cherished values. 

When Franklin Graham erroneously says, “Christians need to vote for Trump (because) he embodies our values,” he is affirming precisely the point I am making.  His so-called “Christian values,” however, are not mine!  Nor does Mr. Trump “embody my values!” Indeed, his values are antithetical to my values! The point I’m making is that our thoughts and opinions are based on our personal values and thus everything we do, think, and say, reflects our politics.  And I might add, that just as my voice is my own and I will not give it to anyone, neither will I give to anyone, or give to any party, the trust “to embody my values.” Nor will I cease to express my values (politics) on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else because it is impossible not to express them and still be me!

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