EDITOR'S DESK: The petty practice of unfriending over politics

Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 01:35 PM.

Election Day has passed, so you can uproot campaign signs, peel off bumper stickers, watch the news for pundits pounding each other and — apparently — engage in Facebook flame wars and cut off childhood friends and classmates because they typed impassioned status messages.

Status messages you disagreed with, that is.

Facebook users unfriend, block or hide friends one-fifth of the time due to politics, according to a Pew Internet and American Life Project survey.

A statistic like that speaks volumes about this country’s political tension and underscores the hypocrisy of self-proclaimed tolerant citizens.

Is it very tolerant to sever ties with someone due to their stances on hot button social issues?

How “united” is this country, or our local community, if we can’t bear the mere sight of differing views — whether they’re Democratic or Republican, or deal with, either way, abortion, gay rights or gun laws. A sight, I might add, that we can easily scroll through and move past, in Facebook’s case.

What does it say about someone who freely gets on a far-reaching digital soapbox and spouts his or her own views willy-nilly, and expects dissenters to ignore the conversation — not weigh in? Someone who, in the worst-case scenario, bans different-minded friends from giving input.

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