This man puts social media politics into perspective


Jim Boyd and I became acquainted in 1989 as we prepared to take part in a three-week tour of Southeast Asia as part of a delegation of editorial writers and editors.

I learned we had a couple of things in common. One is that we spent time in Oregon, where I grew up and where Boyd attended college. Another is that we both are Vietnam War veterans, although Jim’s duty was much tougher than mine.

He posted this item on Facebook. I want to share it here.

Some of my Facebook friends speak of the pains they go to avoiding a discussion of politics on social media. I have a different view.

I’ve seven years of university education and 30 years of professional experience in considering and writing about public policies and the politics that go into making them work.

Plus, there are several dozen human beings I care about deeply whose future depends on good politics and good public policy. Begin with our five children and their terrific spouses and our 10 grandchildren.

Then, looking back, add in about 50 guys from my army experience who were fed into the unjustified maw of destruction called Vietnam — a huge failure of public policy and politics that we repeated in Iraq. I owe them a continuing debt to live dutifully the life they did not get a chance to live.

So to me, it is important to continue writing and discussing politics in a reasonable way, refusing to argue, respecting everyone’s right to an opinion (though not respecting all of those opinions equally) and not hesitating to point out “facts” that are fanciful partisan creations.

I do understand that some will choose to block these posts. That’s fine. But I will continue making them.

The passage in his message that resonates most with me today is the part of about “refusing to argue, respecting everyone’s right to an opinion … and not hesitating to point out ‘facts’ that are fanciful partisan creations.”

I’ve wrestled a bit, too, over the griping about politics on Facebook. Some of my own friends have complained about it. I’ve talked it over with some of my own friends privately. I’ve decided to keep using the medium to distribute my blog posts. I figure that’s a legitimate way to increase exposure to my blog, which I have declared to be a forum for politics and public policy discussion … as well as some personal stuff.

I do get frustrated — and yes, angry — over the argumentative tone that develops from the posts.

I chose in most cases to let the others have the last word. I don’t have the time, the patience of the intestinal fortitude to keep yammering back and forth.

With that … thank you, Jim Boyd, for giving me a chance to spout off once again.

There will be more of it.

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