Over The last few years, one thing has had a most definite impact on politics.
The Tea Party?
Well, yes but…
Obama’s ideology of division?
There is something else. Something bigger than ideologies and bigger than a candidate or a political movement.
It’s social media.
Social media has changed the way we view, discuss and relate to politics.
I’m not just talking about Breitbart although, he did do more to bring social media to the forefront of politics than any other thousand people I know and while his personal impact was too short lived, his residual impact will continue to reverberate and shape the future forever.
I’m talking about garden variety social media and the people who utilize it in the most basic way.
Facebook and Twitter have provided a way to broadcast individual views like never before and just like politics…Social media can bring out the best, and worst in people.
We, as individuals, are able to share our thoughts, ideas, comments, images and yes, our blogs and websites with THOUSANDS of people and it’s real time, live and at times, overpowering.
Think about it. We have watched social media organize uprisings in Egypt, Iran, Syria and in Libya, we watched images and videos of the demise of Gaddafi just moments after he was killed.
One suspects that had you told Zuckerberg, just a few years ago that Facebook, the invention he used to scope out girls in college, would be at the forefront of a foreign revolution, he might well have laughed.
No one group has taken to social media for political discourse to such an extent as have conservatives. Facebook and Twitter are the must have, go to devices for organizing rallies, coordinating events and indeed, sharing the news of the day.
Most in the political realm from activists to politicians have found ways to use it to an advantage but, not all.
Anthony Weiner is a prime example of how NOT to use social media.
While groups supporting candidates and political conservative movements abound, not all are gaining traction with social media.
Ron Paul followers come directly to mind.
Since the 2012 race began. Paul’s followers immediately took to social media and just as immediately, started shooting themselves in their collective feet.
Imaging meeting someone for the first time, face to face. You extend your hand and they instantly punch you in the nose, start calling you names and tell you they have no interest in your point of view then start telling you that you are nothing unless you agree with them.
That, in a nutshell, is what has, due to social media, become known as a Paulbot.
While many may have agreed with some aspects of the Ron Paul agenda, his world view put most off and those who were, at first, willing to give him a listen, were soon put off completely by the Paulbot ANTI social, social media behavior.
Paul himself did nothing but encourage the tactics believing social media anarchy was his best chance of winning enough delegates in the primaries to wield power at the convention. When, again, he failed to win a single primary or caucus and failed to win enough delegates to get his way at the convention, his tact changed.
He would try to force a brokered convention by usurping delegates pledged to other candidates. There were delegates who, personally, favored Ron Paul but, they had not been WON by Ron Paul and he wanted them to vote for him anyway.
At the convention, the RNC, love em or leave em, instituted rules which made that impossible.
NOW, via social media, the Paulbots are screaming bloody murder about election fraud at the convention .
While I may not agree with HOW the RNC did it I do agree with WHY did it.
While Paulbots, and some other, claim the RNC threw grassroots under the bus, they did, in fact, protect the grass roots voters.
Imagine the electorate, voting in the primaries and caucuses for their candidate to win delegates and then having someone who never won a single primary or caucus, not to mention enough delegates in any way, shape or form to make a difference, suddenly having delegates NOT won by him voting FOR him at the convention.
Now THAT seems a lot like election fraud but just the sort of disenfranchisement of grassroots voters that Ron Paul and his followers could believe in.
Am I defending the RNC or, am I defending MY vote? Guess which one I’ll be accused of by Paulbots and a few others?
Oh, I can hear the herniated howls of hypocrisy coming but, so be it. While the Paul followers were never able to mount much of a force at the ballot box, they have managed to be visible on social media. Being visible and gaining traction are however, two different things.
I believe there is plenty of room in social media for everybody and the latitude for people to disagree, come together, go their separate ways or be persuaded by intellectual discourse when it comes to politics but, if you want to be invited to the next picnic, don’t spit in the potato salad at this one.
While the Paulbots were nearly indistinguishable from liberals on social media it was not impossible to tell the two apart. The Paul posters were obnoxious, abrasive, and anti-social but, liberals have become downright vile,tweeting proposed acts of violence and death at those who do not agree with them while at the same time, accusing conservatives of being the violent group.
In the realm of hypocrisy, liberals make Paulbots look like rank amateurs.
One thing though is clear, Freedom of Speech is everybody’s right.
Say what you want on social media as long as it doesn’t break the law or cause laws to be broken. Say it as loudly as you want. But don’t mistake an individual’s right not to listen to you, for censorship.
For me, this website is the vehicle for my thoughts and commentary but, make no mistake, social media is the delivery system.
I have been very fortunate to have made many friends via social media and, equally fortunate to have lost a few. I don’t expect every post I make to be agreed with by everybody who reads them and I don’t expect every comment left either on my articles or via social media to be complimentary.
The downside to the advent of technology and social media, especially in the political arena, it is the fact that it has caused a free fall decline in personal contact. The Upside is that social media has us all connected 24/7 and politicians need to know they can’t hide like they used to.
And when you take the Anthony Weiner and Paulbot shenanigans into account, maybe the downside is really an upside.
The National Patriot
Weekend Edition 9/1/12