I recently started using Facebook, one of the largest social networking sites on the Internet whose fastest-growing demographic is the over-35 crowd. A lot of friends and colleagues are already using the site, which allows you to search among people in your local area with whom you have things in common.
For example, on my profile, I can click “Rock Hill,” the name of my home town, and find several people in the D.C. area who also grew up in Rock Hill. The other day, I clicked “S.C.” in my profile, and started checking out folks who hail from the Palmetto State.
As the first profile I clicked loaded on my screen, I admit it was a bit of a jolt to see the words “Conservative Christian” under Religious Views and “Far Right” under Political Views. I clicked back and the tried another profile to find pretty much the same thing. The nerve of these people, I actually thought to myself, to have these views in the same forum that my friends and I use to connect.
Then it occurred to me how naïve it is to think that people who have opposite political and religious views wouldn’t be on Facebook, or in the check-out line in front of me, or in the office down the hall, for that fact.
Is it wrong that I take for granted the fact that I live in Washington, D.C., one of the bluest of the Blue States, and my experience with arch Conservatives is limited to what I see on the nightly news? And how does it affect my ability to see and at least try to understand another person’s point of view when I’m essentially isolated from those people? And what does it say about my own sense of ego when I feel jolted to come across a person who describes themselves as “Far Right?”
My way isn’t the only way, though there are plenty of times I feel like it is the best way. But wait! Isn’t that the very thing that annoys me about people with opposite religious and political views?
Where does it all end?