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The Facebook Political War

“There’s only a certain amount of retard I can take in a day, as I’m sure is the case with everyone, but Facebook now narrows the margin to 5 mins before I start getting a pulsating headache caused by liberals and their absurdly cretinous posts. It really is starting to affect my mental health.” So posted a man on Facebook recently. This post is representative of a multitude of similar posts by conservative extremists.

“They [Republicans] engineer war and economic chaos in South America and then blame those seeking to escape it,” posted a liberal on Facebook, who might have been representative of a multitude of similar liberal posts.

“Democrats actually have the nerve to argue that voter ID laws are racist. They say black people can’t figure out how to get an ID. What’s a more racist argument than that!?” stated another conservative poster recently.

“HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH AMERICA? How many lies? How many attacks and insults against good decent people? How much more name calling? (Pocahontas) How much more foul mouthed language?…How many more attacks on our institutions and our free press? How much more encouragement of racism, bigotry and hate? How much more mockery?…How much more intimidation and bullying of freedom of protest?” This was posted by a liberal extremist recently.

There is a political war on Facebook in which these kinds of posts are more and more prevalent. If you are a moderate or a centrist, you have to hold your tongue. If you are a psychologist, you have to keep your thoughts to yourself. Neither side is open to reason. Each side has a belief system that cannot be penetrated. They are both like forts with walls and guns that protect against a dangerous enemy—the person who disagrees.

That these are posts by extremists is evidenced by the fact that the posters can only see the validity of one side, their side. Their side is all-good and the other side is all-bad. This is what happens when a feud develops. This is what happens in a war. Emotions overtake reasoning and we tend to demonize the person or group with which we disagree. Emotions heighten, tempers flare, and the end result is war and destruction.

There is no discussion going on between the two extremist positions. There is no dialog. There is no attempt to resolve the situation and reach a compromise. Instead, what we have is a war of words—a continuing struggle and an attempt to win an ideological war, using any mean necessary, including the use of twisted facts, distorted narratives and outright lies. Each side is guilty of fighting that war but each side accuses the other side of fighting that war. The Facebook War will continue as long as each side can only see what it wants to see and cannot look at things in a realistic way. There is no group ego to mediate the situation.

The Facebook War is a barometer of what is happening in America. America itself is caught up in an ideological war. That war, like all wars, is creating high tension among Americans. It is a situation similar to when two parents are fighting and their children are forced to take sides in a battle they didn’t ask for and don’t want. The children are brought to a stressful point, just as we are all being brought by the war of ideology to a tumultuous sea of high stress.

At the present time, the liberals seem to be winning this war. There is the illusion that winning a war will resolve things. It will not. Wars never resolve things. One side may defeat the other side, but the winning side will eventually engender a backlash and the conflict will continue. The conflict will continue until a real resolution is achieved.

In order for any relationship to work, there must be unity. In order for there to be unity, there must be mutual respect and a calm and reasonable willingness to engage in a dialogue. There must be a recognition that both sides have both good and bad in them—rather than believing that one side is all-bad and the other side is all-good. Reasonable people must be allowed to lead the way, rather than loud and emotional people.

The Facebook War will continue because today people no longer speak the truth to each other and they no longer speak face-to-face. We communicate from long distance through our various technological devices. These devices give us anonymity and protect us from the truth. And they lead to a dangerous divide.

The Facebook War will continue as long as we let it continue; the manifestations of the war threaten to wreak havoc on our culture.

The Facebook Political War

Gerald Schoenewolf, Ph.D.

Gerald Schoenewolf, Ph.D. is a licensed psychoanalyst in New York and has been practicing for over 37 years. He works with adults, couples, families, adolescents, and children. He has graduated from three psychotherapy institutes and received a Certificate in Psychoanalysis from the Washington Square Institute in 1981. He has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor of psychology at the Borough of Manhattan Community College since 2002 and has authored thirteen books on psychotherapy and psychoanalysis as well as four novels and a book of poems and drawings. More recently he wrote 20 screenplays (winning four first-place awards at festivals) and produced and directed two feature films.


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APA Reference
Schoenewolf, G. (2018). The Facebook Political War. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 20, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/psychoanalysis-now/2018/08/the-facebook-political-war/

 

Last updated: 15 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Aug 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.