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Unfriend & Unfollow: Why moderating political dissention on social media is a bad idea

Illustration by: Israel Gonzalez | Staff Illustrator

As the election cycle gets closer to the likely day of reckoning, opinions on the methods of United States governance are becoming more prominent—not only in the streets, but all over social media.

Political opinions are on the tip of every U.S. citizen’s tongue, and most feel it is their duty to go to their keyboard and convince the other side of the political spectrum it is wrong, which is of course infuriating. People who fully believe in ideas do not like to be told otherwise, so bad blood is sure to develop in these social media wars, leading to tattered relationships. What people seem to forget is a difference in opinion is good, and should not be detrimental to any kind of relationship.

A common thing to hear from friends and relatives is they saw  an article or picture in support of Trump, Hillary or Bernie Sanders on Facebook which caused them to unfriend the poster. Relationships ended because of posts, for or against a politician, are simply not worth it. One difference of opinion should not be the determinant of a continued friendship.

Differences drive society forward, allowing it to change and evolve into a better form of itself. Without differences of opinion and discussions, however loud and unprofessional, society would have no way to fully discuss ideas or challenge itself.

Simply put, society would stay stagnant. Nothing would change. No one really knows where the world would be if the status quo wasn’t challenged, but it would be a world devoid of progress.

Not only are differences a good thing, but they are completely natural. Humans are created to be different, to think individually and view the world in a diverse light through experiences. These different perspectives allow some people to help others see a new and helpful way of thinking, such as an alternate method to solve a difficult a math problem. Unfortunately, differences can easily become hate, and when a person is incapable of acceptance, basic prejudice is created.

Prejudice of any kind, such as sexism, is the extreme of not being accepting of dissimilar people. However, it is very simple to see a difference in a person politically and not accept it.

Life is more important than simple political affiliations. Despite the anger undoubtedly coming with discussing political opinions with an opposing view, after the conversation is over and the fight is had, friends and family still remain.

After the screaming, yelling and debating is finished, you can always sit down with friends and watch Netflix, because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love Netflix? One thing we can all agree on.