I was reading several blogs this morning on the subject of social media and the upcoming election. I enjoy reading essays, and books on politics, political science, the histories of famous politicians, our Founding Fathers. And so I write this post under the backdrop that I was just banned from posting for 30 days on Facebook because I wrote something that went against their “community standards”. I find their “community standards” are based on opinions and that if you fail to lean to the left, your opinion on their site will be silenced or controlled. Banned in the name of “community standards”.
It is here where I would go off on a diatribe about political correctness and “I know it when I see it”.
I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_know_it_when_I_see_it
Not to be outdone, but the expression, famously used to describe obscenity, can be used for the characterization of so much more…
I know. You are wondering what I was banned for? Well this banning was for a comment that I made on a FaceBook posting of the seven candidates who are running as Democrats for the 3rd Congressional District of New Mexico. My comment to the posting was “You would have to be stupid to vote for Plame”. She is clearly the Democratic establishment’s candidate, an outsider. My opinion. Outsiders are sending lots of money to her campaign to elect another Pelosi bot who doesn’t care about helping the people of this state. My opinion. We had one for over 10 years and he is now running for the Senate. My opinion. She does not share my views on much of anything. I am not alone in that opinion. Your can read for yourself here (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/23/us/valerie-plame-new-mexico-congress.html). In my opinion, FaceBook is trying to control free speech and to hell with your own personal opinions.
It is May and I am now banned for 30 days. To be banned means that you cannot comment, post a like or smiley emoji, or post pictures on your feed. You can only look at the feed they direct towards you. The same thing happened to me last year, although I think it took me longer to be banned. I don’t consider what I said was demeaning, and I cannot even remember what the first offense was for 2020 that got me banned for 3 days. The second reason for being banned was just as stupid, which got me banned for 7 days. Now it is 30 days. Did somebody complain because I inferred that they were stupid? I don’t know. Suffice it to say, they control the medium and if you don’t conform to their wishes, their thinking, you pay the price. It is clear to me that they have been silencing fact from fiction, truth and opinion to their way of thinking. You don’t agree with us, you must conform to our community standards. Whatever happened to decency, fair play, truth, justice, the American way! I always find myself looking for the place where I can send an e-mail to the judge so they can tell me my crime, to try to argue why their decision is wrong. I always think ahead when I hit send, knowing that “yea, I’m going to get in trouble for that posting…” The last two have completely blown my mind in terms of what was wrong with what I said. In the last two examples, I did not think that I was going to be banned, Imagine my disdain and anger resulting from the situation. Whatever it was, it went against their “community standards”. The conspiracy theorist in me always goes into overdrive. Many people, absent an understanding of what was wrong, head in that direction. In the end, I chalk it up to too many marshmallows in the world who cannot take anything that is negative. Lest I forget, the employees of Facebook come from the generation that received participation trophies or were educated and graded on the curve. Our opinions must be checked against emotion.
So maybe it is a good thing that I am banned from Facebook for 30 days. I get so angry after reading some of the stories that people post as news. I can see where we have become so divided on so many issues. It isn’t just Facebook that gets me angry, I get that way after actually reading real news, whether it is the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal. Don’t get me started about CBS, CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox News, etc. Lots of the journalism that these organizations once practiced has been lost in the era of political correctness. Some of what I see there goes against my community standards but it never gets banned or blocked. Some of the memes, on both sides of the political spectrum are just so caustic. Not sure if they are created by Russian trolls, Russian bots, or people who actually have a sick or very dark sense of humor. They no longer report news and the story. It is filtered by the opinion of the reporter, or the broadcaster. They never get to the story because it is overtaken by conjecture and opinion, never slanted by the facts, or digging for the truth.
Anyway, I can calm down and spend more time writing on my blog.
There is lots of chaos this election season. Between the coronavirus / COVID19, stay-at-home-restrictions, the phased return to normalcy plans, an economy that went from stellar to depression in a matter of months, this is clearly an important election. I expect to write more as we get close to November on the subject of the election.
With much interest, I read the posting from Krista Stevens entitled “From Russia, With Malice” (https://longreads.com/2020/05/12/from-russia-with-malice/). I would characterize the post as an essay of a larger work by Franklin Foer in The Atlantic on the idea that Russia want to eradicate democracy (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/06/putin-american-democracy/610570/), and they’re doing a fine job of it.
The problem, which plays right into the hands of the Russians, is that the United States is already too divided to do much about it. Those are their ideas. They are not my ideas. That said, I must agree with them. My idea would that be no matter how divided we are, I think we would all agree that our democracy is under attack. Our way of life is under attack. And it is from a number of places. Whether it is Russia, China, Iran, or even within our own country. The basic freedoms that we Americans hold dear are under attack. Within our own country, I lump Facebook, Twitter and Google into the group that is attacking our democracy. I have read many articles where the three social media companies have restricted information, free speech and opinion. Case in point, see above for Facebook. And while I agree that hate speech, racism, evil, pornography and words that incite riots or endanger people should be controlled, people are educated to make up their own minds and opinions about what is before us. Not government, not corporations. Are we not smart enough to think for ourselves? When did protecting our privacy, which they could do more on, become protecting what we think and say? Probably because they cannot make money off of my opinions.
Of course, the left will blame Trump. The right will blame Democrats who push for socialism. The outsiders will sow discontent on all of the above, pushing stories to fan the flames of either opinion. Facebook will tout it’s “community standards”. We have lost our will to “agree to disagree”. My opinion may be that your political position is “stupid” and if that offends you, so be it. That was not my intent. I am not trying to sow discord, only debate. It is my opinion and “stupid” is probably your opinion towards me. I’m OK with that. I accept that. Political correctness has reached a new level. We have lost our ability to accept the opinion of others and go out of our way to attach those opinions, and the persons who espouse those opinions. One’s political opinion becomes disinformation for another.