After observing Facebook for quite some time, I have had a revelation and come to a decision. I will no longer be sharing politically-themed memes on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media.
They can be fun, don’t get me wrong. And witty. Oh, my God. But, they seem more geared toward fellating the converted. I’ve never seen one that made me think I had been wrong about something for my entire adult life. No meme is ever going to convince me to switch parties or change who I’m going to vote for.
However, the biggest reason I’m swearing off political memes is because they all have one thing in common. They presuppose that government is easy. Some of them also presuppose that government is bad, but the biggest offense to me is the idea that governing a nation of 315 million people is a piece of cake.
“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight.” That’s a quote from THE pivotal scene in the film “The American President” and I have never forgotten those words. America is hard, and I think it’s hard on purpose. That is why I hate seeing memes that reduce things like welfare to a few words and a picture of an eagle or an American flag or whatever other symbols of freedom folks believe will lend credence to rather asinine political statements.
Since I brought up welfare as an example, let’s go with it. I’ve seen memes that say, in so many words, “Conservatives want to teach a man to fish. Liberals want to give the man a fish.” OK. If your purpose is to rile the masses and get people writing checks to the GOP, this probably works. But, it’s glib, it’s smug, and it’s not the kind of debate worthy of America. It is the 14-second answer politicians like to give because they make good sound bites. What you don’t hear is the answer to the follow up question: “What next?”
What next? Let’s toss out the fishing scenario, and replace it with, say, job hunting. And we’ll say that we agree – We do need to teach jobless people who are struggling in poverty how to assess their own skills and look for steady employment. It doesn’t happen overnight, though, so during the period of unemployment, you better believe that person is going to need some “fish” (I was going to say clams, but I didn’t want confusion) to help pay for rent, electricity, water, groceries and other necessities.
So, I won’t be reposting any politically-themed memes anymore. If I comment on any of them, it’s likely to be one of those annoying follow-up questions. “What’s next?” “How do you propose we fix this without leaving poor Americans in the dust?” and “Why, exactly, does an average American need a military-grade rifle?”
Still, I’ll gladly defend your right to post one-dimensional expressions of political belief because that, just like intelligent debate about the complexities of political issues, is the American way.
I will continue to dog the new Star Trek films, so look forward to that.