Election fever (I’m thinking more scarlet than one of passion) is sweeping the UK once more as we prepare to go to the ballot for the snap general election of 2017. You all know how I feel about Brexit and that it doesn’t take a genius to work out that I won’t be voting for the Conservatives, however I couldn’t be more encouraged to see people shaping and sharing their own political views online on social media and that’s why I won’t de-friend someone because of their political view.
I would rather be friends with people that hold polar political views to me than those who are apathetic when it comes to politics. Does that mean that I disagree with people’s view points any less – absolutely not; however with rights come responsibilities (gosh I sound like my mother) and that means that whilst we are all afforded the right of freedom of expression that doesn’t excuse us from the responsibility of ensuring our views expressed both in person and within a digital setting are respectful and within the law.
I’ve also noticed a worrying trend to call people out online for being politically vocal in a ‘here they come again, spouting their political beliefs…’ manner or those that are negatively labelled for their beliefs and public statements. I’m often called a Remoaner simply for still shaking my head at Brexit – and this works both ways, it’s not just one side attacking the other. When you look at this abstractly without emotion it’s hard not laugh at the ludicrousness of it all. Individuals are singling out and attacking others for holding different political views when one of the biggest elephants in the room of contemporary politics is the seemingly acceptable notion that politics isn’t for everyone. Even at its highest in recent years, voter turnout is still a statistic of shame for the UK, how can we berate those that voice interest in politics when they are at least engaging in an aspect of our society that affects all of us every single day.
So whilst over the coming weeks I may pull a ‘what the…’ face when I ready your Facebook post, or RT of a political party or even when after a comment exchange that becomes heated because I cannot abide your political principles I will not narrow my exposure to other views by de-friending you because to do that would start a slow but fatal descent into discouraging political engagement and debate. Yes I may disagree with you but I will never hate you.
Oh and for goodness sake, don’t forget to vote – I really don’t care which political party gets your cross in the box, as long as you vote. It takes five minutes to register…