Keeping Quiet

Are you a political person? I am.

I grew up in a very politically active and current event minded family, and was so interested in all of it that I even made it my major in college and worked in politics after graduation. And then circa 2009, I got sick of it. Between the campaigns I worked for, and the completely stereotypical stuff that went on behind the scenes, to some of the precarious circumstances I found myself in via social media, I was completely burned out and really stepped back. I still had strong views and opinions of course, but I stopped reading political blogs and checking the politics section of news websites and tried to disconnect as much as possible.

Recently, however, I broke my ban and got more involved on Twitter, reading polls and news and even considered volunteering on the weekends. And then it happened again.

See, I love to debate. I know what I stand for and why, and have always enjoyed talking politics with other people, mostly with friends who have differing views but like to respectfully discuss things. But, with the anonymity of social media entering the discourse, things have changed. Sometimes I’ve made trouble for myself by tweeting someone who says something ridiculous, and of course that’s going to brew trouble. But more often, I will comment on something I agree with, posted by someone who shares my views, and then I will be attacked by someone who is trolling and literally just seeking an argument. During the 2008 election, one person on Facebook, whose name I will never forget, told me that she hoped I died, that I was a dumb b**** who deserved a slow, slow death and that she was going to find me when she came to LA, all because I posted in a like minded forum that I agreed with what one candidate was saying about an issue.

And it recently happened again, but not on quite the same scale, because of some some tweets I posted on Twitter. Just because someone disagreed with me, I was called ignorant, told I needed to learn how to process information and even unkindly warned that I could be raped because I’m “pretty.” I got a sick feeling in my stomach, knowing that this was largely my own fault. Civil political discourse doesn’t exist anymore, at least not in the media– real or social. And avoiding it is just what makes the most sense.

Maybe I’ll do what Elle does and only discuss issues (almost) everyone can agree on

So, here I am giving the political talk embargo another try. On Twitter, I unfollowed almost every person who focuses on politics, and am going to make an effort to just stay out of things. I also sent a tweet to this girl asking for a truce and semi-apologizing, and she responded that insults are her specialty and basically told me to take a hike. Oh well, at least I tried the high road. It’s truly a shame we’ve reached a point where it’s easier to keep our mouths shut and become uninformed just to avoid being called uninformed, or worse.

** I realize that all sides have individuals who partake in this sort of behavior, and my intention isn’t to generalize that everyone is this way, though unfortunately there are a lot who are.

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