Is silence golden? Or is it acquiescence?

I’m not sure I should admit this, but this blog actually started as a passive-aggressive response to political stuff being shared on Facebook. I’d say 90 percent of my friends there are liberals, and a fair number of them share a lot of what I call Kool-Aid links – the kind of mis-information that comes from cherry-picking quotes without providing proper context and merely serves to fuel the quest for the ultimate “smoking gun.”

Now today, I came upon a kindred post written by Phil over at The Clue Batting Cage, and I find that the questions and conundrums I have about engaging in political discussion on Facebook go way beyond me and the people I’ve hidden and “removed from Friends.”

What happened to Phil was that his liberal friend actually asked Phil to stop challenging all his Kool-Aid links, and in the interest of maintaining the long-time friendship, Phil agreed. This is basically what I’ve done with several people – reading misleading drivel makes my blood pressure sky-rocket, and I ended up spending way too much time crafting carefully-sourced corrections only to delete them without posting because I didn’t want to “start something.” (I also feel a little funny posting my own rants on someone else’s wall – it seemed like I was going into their homes and soiling the carpet.)

So I started a blog to serve as a repository for my efforts, which I can choose to share or not as I see fit. It is not, I feel compelled to point out, my first political blog. I’ve managed to save many of the posts I shared during the 2008 election cycle and plan to post them into the archives here in the future.

It’s interesting to note that Phil feels he acted too quickly in making a promise to his friend (a promise he intends to keep), noting that by keeping quiet he is violating his own self-imposed policy of “stopping an echo.”

As a veteran of many, many online forums and social media outlets, I had come to believe a long time ago that the person who has the last word is the person casual readers believe is right because no one argued with them. I’ve tried very hard over the past few years to give readers more credit for coming to their own conclusions.

It’s an issue I still wrestle with, in my usual passive-aggressive fashion. What’s your approach to discussing politics on Facebook? Are there any venues in which you consciously choose to – or choose not to – challenge someone on their views?

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