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The Facebook Sessions

US Senator and Attorney General-Designate Jeff Sessions (Rob Crandall/Shutterstock)
US Senator and Attorney General-Designate Jeff Sessions (Rob Crandall/Shutterstock)

A personal friend and reader of this blog writes:

This entire election cycle I have refrained from posting, sharing, or commenting on anything on social media.  The atmosphere has been so charged and there has been such hatred and vitriol spewed that I chose to sit it all out.  I’ve been largely silent but I’ve read and observed messages from both sides and have been amazed and often amused at the way people from opposite sides combat each other. I’ve had to wonder what they hope to accomplish.  Change someone’s opinion?  Pull them over to your side?   I suppose for those people who thrive on conflict, this has been the perfect petri dish to grow anger and dissension.  We see it on social media, we see it playing out on the streets, in the theatre, in our workplaces, and even in our own families.

I shared a post on my own Facebook page about Sen. Jeff Sessions, who I know personally and with whose family I have been friends for nearly twenty years.  This was one of the few articles or posts I have seen going around Facebook that represents an accurate picture of the man I know – the man who is being so inaccurately and unfairly judged and portrayed by much of the media and by many people who know nothing about him.  For those of us who do know him, we can say without reservation that he is a man of great integrity, compassion, and kindness.  He is a good man.  He will uphold the rule of law and treat all people with fairness and equality.  We are happy about his nomination and we are entitled to feel that way and to defend him with the truth we know, are we not?

Maybe not, because someone whose political views are the polar opposite of mine made a derogatory comment on my post about Sen. Sessions and I simply responded by pointing out that the only purpose in making such a comment was to stir up conflict, something that I’ve had enough respect and consideration not to do on her posts and I would appreciate the same courtesy.  After all, this was my page, my post, about someone I know, about something I know to be true.  She then unfriended me because, according to her, we can’t be Facebook friends when I would “attack” her as I did.

This Facebook stuff just all seems so petty (which it is), and I couldn’t care less about being “unfriended”, but I find it interesting because it’s really a part of the greater picture of what is going on in our country right now.  With so many critical issues facing us….healthcare, ISIS, Russia, unemployment… the hill that so many are choosing to die on right now is a molehill — the molehill of “believe like I believe or you’re a ______ (bigot, racist, etc.)”.  The left has built its entire platform on tolerance and acceptance of all, yet there are so many who don’t adhere to those principles when you don’t agree with them.  Most can only respond with labels, not logic.  I find it incredulous that it’s being applauded that designers are refusing to dress the new First Lady because her husband’s values are incompatible with their own (this makes them principled), yet a bakery or florist cannot refuse to provide a cake or flowers because a wedding offends their values and beliefs (this makes them bigoted).  One is right and the other is wrong, yet they are both the same.  Is this not a double standard any way you slice it?

Anyone who leans right is accused of being intolerant and unaccepting. I’ve never “unfriended” anyone in real life or on Facebook because they don’t agree with me.  I may not agree with you, but I will not disrespect you for expressing something you know and believe to be true, even if I believe otherwise.   I daresay anyone has ever effected real change over anything posted on social media.  If the left (or the right) is hoping to pull anyone over to their side by behaving badly, it’s failing.  I’m not seeing much tolerance, compassion, kindness, or respect out of many who tout themselves as such. In fact, I actually heard from someone who (reluctantly) voted for Trump tell me that the way the left is acting is making him glad now that he did.  Interesting.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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