To be more specific, I miss that part of college where I would have long talks about politics with people. We would sit in someone’s dorm room and talk about different issues. There were arguments about different things, but they weren’t mean. At the end of the day, we still got a long with each other.
Social Media has done a lot of good, but I think one of the bad things is that it has killed those long dialogues. Facebook at times seems like a place where people strut around sharing opinions and memes that are mean-spirited. People cheer calling the other side foolish or even evil. With Facebook, there is no nuance. There is no civility. What there is present is mostly people with chips on their shoulders. People with different views look at each other with contempt.
Don’t get me wrong, Facebook and other social media are wonderful tools. I’ve reconnected with old friends in High School in college. But I think they make it too easy for people to stay in their little silos where they never have to encounter someone with a different way of thinking. A lot of the issues of the day, from health care to same-sex marriage, are reduced to simple posts where people show they are on the “right side of history,” or what have you. Facebook especially has at times made us dumber. We no longer have to think about all the greys in the issues we dealing with. We no longer have to see the other side as nothing more than people who hate your side.
I would love to have discussions on politics again. I would love to disagree with someone and yet see them as a real human being, who loves and cries.
I miss those college days. My fear is that I may never see anything like them again.
Update: I forgot to mention that fellow pastoral colleague Trevor Lee has a similar point to be made on certain Facebook memes.