The rest of this post is in no way an endorsement of Donald Trump or his political, cultural, or social views.
By now, those of you on Facebook have likely heard of the option to search for your friends who “Like Donald Trump”. By the way, you can do that with almost any person/place/thing/topic. Many of you have taken the next step and removed those people as friends. I will fully admit, I too was curious. So I plugged in the search. Nineteen friends!? Ugh…
I was tempted to hit the unfriend button. And then I stopped. And I urge you all to do the same thing.
Sometimes a like is a clear endorsement; other times it’s a tracking device. Five years ago, a like for Trump just meant you watched “The Apprentice.” And while that’s still deeply lame, it’s more a proclamation of bad taste in television than of one’s politics.
But if you think of your Facebook circle of friends as your domain, by removing friends who happen to “like” Trump, you’re actually “Trumping” your circle of friends. You’ve singled out individuals with a trait that you find distasteful and don’t want around you. You’re essentially saying “I dont want people with this characteristic in my life.” Replace “Donald Trump” with something else (gay, transgender, black, Muslim, Latino, Asian, lesbian, etc…) and you can easily begin to see how dangerous that attitude can become. Sound familiar?
Even worse, you’re completely discounting the reasons why you were friends in the first place. Now, if they happen to be a Facebook acquaintance that you really don’t know, perhaps the harm there isn’t so bad. But if you find yourself letting go of good friends merely because they happen to like the Donald for whatever reason, then how strong was your friendship in the first place? Are you really going to let Donald Trump be the end all and be all of your friendship? And if you truly think that we’ve already given this man too much power, credit, and attention – how exactly is ending friendships going to help?
Now, I get it – many of you out there don’t want to hear and/or see things posted about Donald Trump because frankly it makes your blood boil. I get it, really I do. But let’s turn the tables a little. There are certainly things on my Facebook page that I know many of my friends and colleagues disagree with. I’ve posted about the Affordable Care Act, marriage equality, LGBT rights, abortion, politics, etc. Not all of my friends fall in line with my exact line of thought. I don’t post only the articles and commentaries that I know people will like; sometimes I like to push the envelope a little bit, to foster discussion, to get dissenting opinions.
Similarly, friends and acquaintances post things that make me angry, get me riled up, or make me roll my eyes and move on. Occasionally we challenge one another on our dissenting opinions. But isn’t that kind of the point of an online community? You should feel free to share your thoughts and opinions without having them completely dumped on while affording your friends and colleagues the same courtesy (obviously there is a limit). You don’t have to agree with everything that everyone likes or posts. But if our circle of friends only contained those that we constantly and consistently agreed with, our lives would be a little boring.
Not to mention close minded.