Politics and social media are a terrible mix. I wonder if it doesn’t at least partly explain why politics is increasingly polarized. Let me give you an example.
This morning I visited a Facebook group called the National Conservative News Network Canada. Despite its name, it’s not a news network in any sense. It’s merely a group inhabited by a bunch of people who hold strong opinions and don’t want to hear any others. I visited because of a particular graphic that forcefully told the reader that all flags in the country should immediately be flown at half-mast for sixteen days, one day for each of the Humbolt Broncos hockey team members killed on Friday in Saskatchewan.
As you might imagine, the suggestion created quite a discussion. One group felt that lowering the flag is best limited to when members of the Canadian Forces are killed on active duty. The group owner, who favours the flag-lowering for the hockey team members, tried to invalidate that position by pointing out that Prime Minister used his executive privilege to have the flag lowered for his “good pal” Gord Downing.
Until this point in the discussion, I had no real skin in the game. However, when a person championing an action for the respect of the dead, makes a mockery of the name of another person who has passed on, I had no choice but to jump in. That feeling only increased as there were three other instances of the group owner making reference to Gord Downing.
I replied, pointing out that given his respect for the dead, the least he could do is spell Gord Downie’s name correctly. He came back with a graphic of the Peace Tower flag schedule indicating it was lowered in honour of Gord Downie. I looked up and saw he had corrected his mistake, trying to pass of my comment as an error on my part. Facebook labeled his post as having been edited, and clicking the “Edited” indicator, he correct the spelling three minutes after I pointed out the error. In reply, I suggested that it was a simple error, and he should simply own it, rather than correcting it and pretending he made no mistake. Hell, it was likely an autocorrection error he missed. Be an adult and admit it!
Hours later I checked back and found that the group owner had banned me from the National Conservative News Network Canada. This banning also deleted all my comments and any replies.
So rather than a discussion area, the group owner has gathered around him people who think just as he does and parrot the same opinions. Anyone who raises a dissenting voice is summarily silenced. It’s a fragile ego indeed who can’t accept a spelling correction! Is it any wonder people can’t discuss politics or religion any more without things getting out of hand? These jokers have fashioned echo chambers where everyone allowed in agrees with them. How can they ever learn reasoned discourse?
But the real kicker? The image you see to the right is the profile image attached to the National Conservative News Network Canada Facebook page. They seemed to have missed the warning against having one’s own opinions, voicing them, or even having <gasp!> an original idea … never mind something as minor as pointing out a spelling error of significance.
The cognitive dissonance is strong in this one.