Facebook Declarations

guest Mormon 15 Comments

Today’s guest post is by Matthew Workman.  I lived a few blocks from Venice Beach for many years, so I thought I’d seen quite a few surprising things in my life. But nothing quite prepared me for this. A long-lost friend of my older sister put in a friend request on Facebook and I accepted because I’m fairly promiscuous that way.
As is common in these circumstances, I poked around the “info” section of her profile just to see what had become of her in the 20 or so years since laws I saw her. That’s when I found “Green Party” listed under her political views. I don’t currently own a pair of glasses, but I considered buying one after seeing the entry. Green? Really?
 
There’s nothing wrong with being a member of the Green Party. Some of my best friends are members of the Green Party. But the way things are right now, it’s a bit improbable. I’ll explain.
 
Like most ageing Gen X-ers, I’ve been awash in long-lost friends over the past two years as Facebook broke out of college and started hooking up with the masses. Since then, I’ve been reconnected with ex-girlfriends, Sunday School teachers, friends from high school, enemies from high school, and people-I’m-pretty-sure-I knew-at-some-point-but-am too-embarrassed-to-admit-I’ve-got-no-clue-who-they-are-now. 
 
Into this stew steps about half of the ward I grew up in. It was in upstate New York, which was considered a pretty conservative place. But conservative meant something different back then, it meant “boring.” Rochester is one of the most boring places in the US, and people wanted it to stay that way. They wanted a boring government that would do its job, balance the books, and then melt into the background. So my ward wasn’t a very political place. At least I think it wasn’t a very political place. Perhaps the people there figured it was a waste of time to talk politics with a 12-year-old boy who sat in the back of Deacon’s quorum reciting Monty Python skits.
 
Whatever the case, almost everyone who has resurfaced from my past lists their political view as “conservative,” and I don’t think they mean “boring” anymore. I make this assumption because a large number of friends have decided to pimp their conservatism with a saucy modifier.
 
One acquaintance lists her views as “very conservative”, while another claims to be “extremely conservative.” Is “extreme” not extreme enough for you? How about “radical conservative”, “rabid conservative,” or “revoltingly conservative”? Laugh if you wish, but those are actual entries from my friend’s profiles (I may have made that last one up, but still).
 
After viewing the ongoing modifier arms race, I’m left wondering what was wrong with plain old “conservative.” Perhaps they’re taking an example from soon-to-be-former-Senator Robert Bennett. That guy was conservative, but apparently not “extreme” or “rabid” enough. As a result, Mr. Bennett will be unemployed when the current congress ends. (Although, as long as they’re making Wallace & Grommet movies, Bennett should always be able to find work as a Wallace impersonator. If he can learn to roller-skate, all the better for him.)
 
I don’t have anything listed in my profile under “political views,” and I’m not sure I’m ready to try to one-up my conservative friends. “Convulsingly conservative”? Doesn’t really work. Same with “Psychotic-ly conservative.” 
 
I recently took an online quiz that said the party that most closely reflected my political views was the Natural Law Party. I know nothing about the Natural Law Party, but I know I like natural laws and I have no problem with the government enforcing them. If the Natural Law Party was in power, nobody would dare violate Newton’s second law of motion.

That all seems like a bit more than can be explained in a single line of a Facebook profile. Perhaps I’ll just put “Naturally Rabid.”

What’s your Facebook political affiliation?  Are your FB friends of a similar or different political affiliation than you are?  What’s the most unusual one you’ve seen among your friends?  Discuss.

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Comments 15

  1. There wasn’t room to go down this trail on the post, but one of my more conservative friends has his political affil listed as “clasically liberal” which I found interesting and quite clever.

  2. I had “conservatively liberal moderate” in there for quite a while. Now I’ve just left it blank. A random sample of some “friends” of mine:

    Reaganite Conservative
    liberal/progressive
    other
    VERY conservative
    a bit left of center
    Liberal in Utah, moderate anywhere else…
    Republican Party [I should add that this friend is PRO socialized medicine]

    Now that my “friends” have increased a lot on facebook, including a lot of people who do not know me very well in person, I am somewhat wary of broadcasting even my status updates, let alone my “political affiliations” to people in simple 3 word statements and etc. That’s not how one would get to know someone in person: “Hi, I’m Adam. I’m looking for networking and friendship. I am moderate, LDS, and my family members names are… and her are my random thoughts for the last 2 months, and here are pictures of my family on the beach in Maui last year.” It just seems a little unsettling to be broadcasting that stuff right up front. Do people REALLY want to see your wife in a bikini? Do they REALLY want to know HOW conservative/liberal you are? 🙂

  3. My political affiliation is listed as “It’s turtles all the way down”, which expresses my frustration with trying to understand politics in general. 😀

  4. Political views: the one where we shout at one another
    Religious views: ditto

    Though it’s kind of awkward phrasing.

  5. ***RANT WARNING***

    I’m not on Facebook, and until Zuckerberg and his minions can convince me they’ll keep my private info private, I have no intention of joining anytime soon, no matter how hard my mom and others nag me to join. Right now, the only social networking site I’m on is LinkedIn, and they don’t ask for political persuasions.

    Hypothetically speaking, if I were to join Facebook, I don’t think I’d list my political leanings either. Most people who are close to me know where I stand (or fall), but many people tend to make snap judgements about your character and other attributes when they find out which way you lean and I’d rather not poison the discussion with those I don’t know as well.

  6. In a ward which probably counts as rabidly conservative, I have listed myself as “moderate”. I’m confident that will keep me from any calling with the word President in the title.

  7. Just so you know, the Natural Law Party is the political wing of the Transcendental Meditation movement. They support government subsidies for yogic flyers. Seriously.

    Growing up near Venice Beach is not without its consequences:-) (says a former member of the Santa Monica 3rd ward).

  8. One of my FB friends listed her religious affiliation as “Buddhist Jew” which was confusing because she was one of the only Catholics who attended my (mostly Church of the Brethren) HS.

    When I calculated my FB demographics a few months ago, I had a totally even split between Dems & Reps among my FB friends, which I thought was interesting. I was declared independent.

  9. Lockean/Burkean classical liberal politically, latudiniarian Mormon religiously. And go Angels, even if they keep trading away the most fun guys to watch.

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