May 27, 2019

Election Cycles and Social Media

We have a Federal election coming in Canada on October 21, 2019. Technically there a few things that could happen that could make it happen sooner, like a non-confidence vote in the Government, or the Prime Minister advising the Governor General to call it sooner, but since way back in 2009, elections have been “the third Monday in October in the fourth calendar year after the previous poll”.

As for the election campaign, there is a legal minimum length of 36 days. While there is no maximum length, 2015 saw the longest election campaign in Canadian history, an excruciating 78 days.

So I had to laugh a bit on Monday, when our Open Mic post had a discussion about Democratic Candidates for a U.S. election that was 616 days away. By the way, the oldest manuscript of Revelation, Papyrus 115, has the number of the Beast at 616 (not 666 as it is more commonly known), making me wonder if such such a discussion was truly Satanic. (Who started that discussion thread anyway?) [removes tongue from cheek].

Living in Canada we tend to be dominated by the American news cycle, so we have the distinct disadvantage of living through extra election cycles, our own, along with our neighbors to the south.

I have been on Facebook now for nearly 12 years. In that time I have experienced 13 election cycles. (Three Presidential, three midterms, three Prime Minister, four Provincial Premier) In each country’s cycle I see the rhetoric on social media get ratcheted up several orders of magnitude, but never returned to the level at which it was prior to the election. I haven’t got a graph to prove this, but if anyone knows of one I would appreciate a link in the comments.

To be honest, I find it all very overwhelming and stressful, and spiritually draining. I grow weary of those who feel they have to comment about Trump, or Trudeau, or Ontario Premier Doug Ford, every. single. day.

My strategy has been to unfollow people like that that at the start of the election cycle. Typically I don’t add them back after the election.

But I think it may be time for me to take another social medial hiatus.

As usual your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Comments

  1. Dan from Georgia says

    What I tire of is the same narrative/crap every election cycle that goes as follows…

    1. “If so-and-so wins, then they are going to lock up (insert so-and-so’s group of boogeymen/women).”

    – For example, if Obama wins, then they are going to lock up all Christians, and if Romney wins, they are going to lock up all gays and lesbians.

    2. “This is the most important election in our lifetime.”

    – Sean Hannity and other political know-it-alls love this one!

    3. “Eventually so-and-so is going to declare Martial Law to remain in office!”

    – Usually peddled by end-times wonks.

    I have heard variations of each of these uttered since 2000.

    • Dan from Georgia says

      One I forgot…

      4. The “my guy can do no wrong, while the other guy can do no right” syndrome.

      Overall, for me, the bickering and stupid comments online are one of the main reasons I am not on Twitter or Facebook.

      • Robert F says

        I have no social media presence, and I want to keep it that way. Unless you count iMonk. Is what we do here considered participating in social media?

        • Dan from Georgia says

          Possibly, but I can assure you this iMonk blog is much more fun and safe and encouraging!

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          Yes, IM is Social Media. Sorry.

        • Of course Imonk is social media. Mention Trump or politics and you get 200 plus replies. Talk about only spiritual matters and maybe 20-40 but you still have Trump and politics mentioned as Robert and Christiane can attest.

          • Christiane says

            when the babies and toddlers were forcibly taken from their mothers’ arms, CHRISTIANE wasn’t just commenting every day, she was SCREAMING

            but that offended people

            but she still SCREAMED

            so if nothing more, listen to the echoes of those screams and go about your daily business and keep your silence

            My conscience is at peace. My soul mourns with the children who lost their parents. It is known here that I was an advocate for them and I will remain so as long as they suffer.

            If someone is ‘tired’ or bored or has ‘had enough’ of those who advocate for those with no voice and no power who are being tormented, then I feel a tremendous sorrow for them . . . . their time will come in the future if the direction of this country proceeds to accept the torment of innocents as ‘necessary’ for ‘our security’. May God have mercy on the victims of our foolish ways.

            You opened the door, b. and I stepped through it. Thanks for inviting my testimony, though it is unwelcomed, it is who I am and will be. No wonder I’ve been thrown off of three blogs! I do not expect acceptance in a land where a preferred silence trumps the cries of the children in cages.

            Other than that, let me wish everyone GOOD MORNING!

            • Amen. The voice of prophets aren’t always welcome, and the prophets are not often treated nicely, but they are needed. Bless you.

          • Robert F says

            @Stbndct — Religion that doesn’t touch on politics in some way is nothing but an opiate and pacifier.

    • senecagriggs says

      Is Trudeau actually in serious trouble with the new allegations?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “If so-and-so wins, then they are going to lock up (insert so-and-so’s group of boogeymen/women).”

      Some years ago, afternoon drive-time radio described it this way:
      “HILLARY CLINTON!
      HILLARY CLINTON!
      HILLARY’S COMING TO EAT YOUR CHILDREN!
      AAAAAAAAAAA! AAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

      • Dan from Georgia says

        That’s not too far off from the truth with how some fellow Christians see Hillary Clinton.

  2. john barry says

    Mike Bell, “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” is W. Phillips quote that fits well here. How many Canadians are aware of the details of the SNC-Lavalin news and the resignation of your A/G? Should they wait until the election to get interested? Syria, Iraq, N. Korea and Russia, should Americans wait until a month before election? The slavery issue in America was ignored, comprised or debated until it had to be addressed by force. Facebook and twitter are certainly one of the problems in modern politics that accommodate and promote a five minute or less attention span. I think I can understand your frustration with it.

    Historically Americans, I cannot speak to Canada , when the sources of news were limited to print and radio, seem to me to be better informed.. The Lincoln Douglas Debates were over 4 hours long in a hot room and people stayed, listened and it was reported on.

    I was stunned when the “Russians” interfered in our election “news” broke that so many Americans used Facebook as their primary source of info. Talk about the blind leading the blind or one of my favorite movies Dumb and Dumber. seems to fit here.

    Talking points, TV talking head debates, twitter, Facebook and blogs have replaced real sources of basic news. Thomas Paine would get no traction in today’s media.

    I spent 13 months of my life not knowing what was happening politically or socially in the “world” as we called it because we did not have the resources, the luxury of time and had more important issues to attend to but we were there as a result of what the non invested people voted for. I sometimes tell people I was in the Indo China war theater and they do not even know what I am talking about.

    No, we need to pay attention every day, I would rather do that then live in a vacuum . Hard to find a good honest source of news but you still can. I am sure most Canadians and Americans can come up with ten minutes to follow events of course unless Dancing with The Stars is On or NFL game.

    Facebook and twitter, I will say this, you get what you pay for. Dumb and Dumber. My three favorite Canadians are Shania Twain and Alex Trebac and Sgt. Preston, honorable mention Dudley Do Right Of course I could mention Gisele McKenzie from the Ice Ages but she was great on the Hit Parade.

    I appreciate and realize you were talking about hiatus from social media and not advocating a news embargo but I just wanted to vent and I am not on Facebook or twitter. I know you keep up with the news and canoe repairing
    .EH, love it .

    • Rick Ro. says

      –> “My three favorite Canadians are Shania Twain and Alex Trebac and Sgt. Preston, honorable mention Dudley Do Right”

      What, no mention of Mike Bell???

      • Christiane says

        My favorite Canadians are my father and his family from Quebec, many who are now of blessed memory:
        my good Father, my dear Memere, the good Pepere with the wooden leg . . . . . all loved dearly and kept in the memory as examples of decency and goodness in the face of difficulties and struggles. May they be forever blessed!

    • Clay Crouch says

      JB – Be careful. You just quoted a liberal abolitionist! If the guys finds out, they’re likely to cut a corner off of your Trump Card.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > No, we need to pay attention every day,

      I disagree. Taking days off, or even weeks off, is healthy.

      > Facebook and twitter, I will say this, you get what you…

      … subscribe to. There is no shortage at all of real news. Try: Brookings Institute, City Lab, Streets BLOG, Gulliver, Calculated Risk, Next City, Zillow Real Estate, City Observatory, Rooflines, …. Maybe add a dash of BBC. Likely your state has a municipal league that puts out content, and somewhere probably a pretty good traditional news organization that is still standing; Michigan has “Bridge”, for example.

      IT. IS. A. CHOICE. The difference between now and 50 years ago is that the consumer needs to be the curator, doing what the newspapers paid staff used to do. The content is still out there; probably more of it than ever before.

      • Radagast says

        Agreed there are better news sources out there than the mainstream.

        Just for fun its sometimes interesting to read what happened long ago. While doing genealogical research I came across the digitized version of the Brooklyn Eagle (about 1840 – 1900)…. it is amazing to read the local and international stories and sobering to see the death statistics from whatever disease was sweeping the city at the time. Also interesting, especially in the older additions to see how the “natives” were interacting with those darn Irish.

      • senecagriggs says

        Zillow Real Estate?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Facebook and twitter, I will say this, you get what you pay for. Dumb and Dumber.

      “But EVERYBODY’s On Facebook!”
      With the Pod People Point-and-Scream when they discover you’re NOT.

  3. Robert F says

    My president is playing four dimensional chess, so I don’t have to worry about it, it’s being taken care of! I’m just sitting back and enjoying the ride!

  4. Adam Tauno Williams says

    Ah, the American obsession with the White House Tele-nouvella; in between, of course, complaining about partisanship and divided politics.

    > but never returned to the level at which it was prior to the election

    Agree.

    > I find it all very overwhelming and stressful, and spiritually draining

    Yep. But the filters work pretty well, that really helps.

    On FB there is “Mute”, “Unfollow”, and “See less of this”. I find they work pretty well.

    Twitter has Mute and “see less often”.

    With liberal use of those tools [pun intended] my Social Media remain interesting and mostly unpolluted.

    Occasionally I throw in a comment on a post that leaks through, asking them what they think of some bill in the state House, etc… as a hopeful antidote to Supreme Leader Election Myopia.

    > take another social medial hiatus

    There’s no harm in a hiatus.

  5. Klasie Kraalogies says

    I have very few Facebook acquintances that post about politics, and none that go crazy. Reason? I unfollowed/unfriended those that do. One has to cut toxicity, doesn’t matter from which side, out of your life.That is not to say one ahould never discuss politcs.Theae things are important. And sometimes, real threats do arise. But one will miss/ignore real threats if one is constantly taking the position that everything is an existential threat!

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > One has to cut toxicity, doesn’t matter from which side

      +1

      > That is not to say one ahould never discuss politcs

      And there is a very important distinction between discussing politics [aka: Public Policy] and discussing people.

      > But one will miss/ignore real threats if one is constantly taking
      > the position that everything is an existential threat!

      Yep

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > the position that everything is an existential threat!

        There is also the caustic application of the scale that something is either Not-Important OR Existential.

        Like… there are many many important issues and topics which are not Existential.

    • ‘But one will miss/ignore real threats if one is constantly taking the position that everything is an existential threat!’

      THIS X 1000! (does that statement make your quote an existential threat? 🙂 )

  6. Klasie Kraalogies says

    One thing that has surprised me a bit are the people on LinkedIn, posting, from their professional positions, the most vile and incendiary political items. Sure, political decisions may have industry impact. But really – petty, childish politics linked to your company?

    I do think this shows how far the rot has progressed. But to be honest, I use such posts as indicators of who to avoid in business. If you can’t maintain professionalism in a professional network, I can’t trust you in business.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      “””If you can’t maintain professionalism in a professional network, I can’t trust you in business.”””

      This!

  7. Radagast says

    I have 4 friends on my facebook page…. three family members and one good friend. Facebook, Twitter and the rest just represent someone’s opinion and I would liken it to skipping the online news story and going straight to the comments for your news.

    I am with a few others here… turn off the phones and social media and give your brain a rest from the noise for a week.

    I consider myself to be an open minded conservative. That means that although I am in line with a lot of what my President has accomplished, I don’t like the tone that he has set and don’t believe it is good for the country. This tone is also being reflected by the progressive wing of the Democrat party, the Justice Democrats, who have taken up Trump tactics. Again… not good for the country long term.

    One last thing… with all that there is to do for the country out there why are some taking up the cause for legalization of pot at a Federal level and the extreme measure of allowing folks to abort full term babies and think its ok to leave them on the table to die? That says a lot about who we are as a people….

    My thoughts…..

    • “…I am in line with a lot of what my President has accomplished…”

      And what do you think that is that exactly? No snark intended. Genuine curiosity, .

      • Burro (Mule) says

        1) Withdraw from the Paris climate accords
        2) Rescind 2015 “Waters of the U.S.” executive order
        3) Eliminate the Obamacare mandate penalty
        4) Appoint Gorsuch onto the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh, not so much, but yeah, him too
        5) led the passage of right-to-try legislation for critically ill patients
        6) Withdraw from the deeply-flawed Iran nuclear deal
        7) Curtailing mandatory sentencing for first time drug offenders in federal courts
        8) Encouraging NATO partners to carry more of the defense load
        9) At least he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
        10) Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (de facto should be de jure)
        11) Removal of dozens of Obama-era executive orders relating to transportation regulations
        12) Elimination of ISIS
        13) Tax reform

        Of course, I don’t expect the Brigade Rouge on this board to applaud these achievements, but if you wanted reasons why a conservative could applaud some of Trump’s accomplishments while lamenting his personal failings and chaotic management style.

        There are more.

        • Kim Jong Un has gotten more than he could’ve ever hoped for from his bromance with our president — the latest prize is absolution for the death of Otto Warmbier — and all because he possesses nuclear weapons. Why would he ever give them up?

        • Patriciamc says

          The tax reform has benefitted only those in the upper tax brackets snd has increased the deficit. Trump’s pulling out of Syria, probably under orders from Putin, will only empower ISIS such as his threatened withdrawal from Afghanistan will only empower the Taliban. But, the stable genius, his words, knows more than all of his military and intelligence leaders. O yeah, his withdrawal from the nuclear arms treaty, probably unders orders from Putin, has given Russia the okay to pull out too and ramp up their nuclear program.

          • Robert F says

            Trump is Renfield to Putin’s Dracula.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            But, the stable genius, his words, knows more than all of his military and intelligence leaders.

            While the Christians chorus “AAAAAAAA-MENNNNNN! THE VOICE OF A GOD, NOT OF A MAN!”

      • anonymous says

        aside from insulting all our allies and buddying up to our worst enemies, you got me

    • Donalbain says

      When did the progressive democrats use Trump tactics? Have they called for the jailing of political opponents? Have they gone on racist rants? Have they praised actual Nazis?

  8. Patriciamc says

    Who started the discussion in the first place – LOL! I think it went over someone’s head.

  9. Ronald Avra says

    Spring is coming. May be a good time for the Canadian to inspect his canoe and keep an eye on the streams.

  10. john barry says

    Rick Ro. Thanks for observing that M. Bell was not on my favorite Canadian list, I just assumed that everyone would automatically include him. I believe he is considered a national treasure and some want to bury their treasure already, I guess to preserve him?.
    I like many things from the “Bell” family such as

    1. Taco Bell, named after their founder who last name was also Bell. As fortunate as Alex Graham last name. When I am out with some of my food snob friends I make them stoop at Taco Bell for me to get taco supreme but they will not let me eat it in their cars. I am mocked but stay true to all things Bell.

    2. Bell Peppers- even get them on my pizza, a high compliment .

    3. Liberty Bell,- who does not like the Liberty Bell except communist and crazy people. Also one of my favorite stripers from my earlier life was the beautiful and talented Liberty Belle, a truly classy and patriotic young lady who made many a young man stand at attention. No, she was not on “crack” this was pre crack days.

    4.Bell Curve- Helped me be “average” in high school and I am thankful for grading on the Bell Curve.

    5.Bell Bottoms- not a big fan but glad I live in a land where I did not have to wear them. Not as fashionable as the leisure suit.

    One good thing about M. Bell, you can never un ring him. Seriously one of my favorite article was the reunion canoe trip with his friend from his youth , the story and the pictures. Just a great story of their journey and it really “rang” true to me.

    I should also add Tim Horton to the list as it is one of the few places In Canada I am welcome.

    I apologize to M. Bell for my childish , unsophisticated humor but like Popeye, not a Canadian, “I Yam What I Yam:” Eh

  11. I’ve only been on Facebook for a few years. mostly so that I can keep up with family and friends. Even though I have strong political beliefs, I made the decision to seldom discuss them on FB. During the last election cycle, I pretty much kept my opinions to myself, although I made some general non-partisan observations a couple of times.

    I’ve never unfriended anybody as a result of their political beliefs. I’ve unfollowed a few folks, not because of their beliefs but how they choose to express them. An example: I unfollowed one relative the evening of the Parkland schools shooting last year after he responded with negativity and cursing, including gratuitously dropping the f-bomb. If you remember, the shooting occurred on Ash Wednesday and I was trying to cut out negativity as part of my Lenten discipline. Unfortunately, that quickly became an exercise in futility. (Living in metropolitan Washington, DC doesn’t help either.) I still haven’t started following him again as he routinely curses those with dissenting viewpoints, although I visit his FB page periodically to see how his kids are doing.

    The next presidential cycle has already started. And since I live south of the Potomac, I’ve also seen and read plenty on FB concerning the recent scandals involving Virginia’s governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. So we’ll see if I get ready to shred FB in the coming months.

  12. johnbarry says

    Rick Ro. I just assumed everyone would add M. Bell to the list of favorite Canadians. Ronald A. , I think that M. Bell article about his canoe trip with his friend from his young day, with the repair story and the pictures was one of my favorite articles anywhere. I really enjoyed the story , the pictures and could relate to it. I believe M. Bell is considered by some to be a national treasure and many want to bury him, I guess to protect their treasure?

    Of course that are many things “Bell” I enjoy and admire

    1. Taco Bell, named after its founder who fortunately was named Bell. I make my friends stop there when we pass it on the way home from another golf club and they will not let me eat my taco supreme in their cars so we go inside. Via Taco Bell, I head for the border and the restroom.

    2.Bell Curve, helped me get out of high school and got me in the average range. Great idea for me to be graded on the “Bell” Curve

    3.Bell Peppers- even get them on my pizza. Possibly invented by Ma Bell?

    4.Liberty Bell- I can make no stupid cracks about our famous liberty bell. Also from my youth, one of my favorite strippers was Liberty Belle, who classed up the name with the e and was very talented. She made many a young man stand at attention with her dance interpretations,

    5. Bell Bottoms, never cared for them I preferred the Leisure Suit that thankfully died out .

    I would also like to add Tim Horton to the list as they are the only ones in Canada that ask me to come back.

    If this is posted twice, my error and I apologize to all of humanity and Imonk people. I think my first post was lost forever to the world, for which the world says “thank you”.

  13. Since I don’t spend any time on Facebook or any other blog except occasionally this one I don’t have much skin in this game. My kids are amazed I can stay away from my phone a whole weekend (except of course if work is calling…).

    But I will say I don’t pay much attention to the election cycle until the crowd thins out. My running buddies who are polar opposites politically don’t stay current enough on the topics to have deep dialogue and when we do delve into this area and it gets to a point where we are not really communicating but talking past each other then we switch to a fun topic.

    Luckily I have a trip planned out west this spring to take me away from all of this. That way I don’t have to listen to the childish rantings of my party, the equally childish rantings of freshman congress people, and the pandering to the freshman ideas of seasoned politicians who should know better.

  14. I deleted my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts over the past twelve months. For me this has created more peace and contentment and much less irritation and bitterness. I don’t plan on returning to any of them.

    • anonymous says

      remember when FOX had its campaign touting ‘ fair and balanced’ in order to put down other networks ??

      then along comes Hannity

      LOL . . . what a hoot

      • Patriciamc says

        And the slavishly pro-Trump coverage 24/7. Fox was never so positive about any other Rep. president, so I think it’s a reasonable assumption that Trump has bought his coverage. Rupert Murdoch has admitted that he talks to Trump each week.

        And just think how conservatives complained about the pro-Obama coverage.

  15. Johnbarry says

    Patricamic yes. Fox slant versus WAPO, NYT, MSNBC and CNN of Course. Also Koch brothers and National Review, poor Trump only 1 network telling truth,

    • Rick Ro. says

      –> “…poor Trump only 1 network telling truth…”

      I wouldn’t say “only 1 network telling the truth,” I’d say “only 1 network spinning news in his direction.”

      Let’s face it, very few news networks these days approach “telling the news” without spinning it in a certain direction. Truth loses out pretty much everywhere, be it the lone one favoring Trump or the several others opposed.

    • Patriciamc says

      Don’t forget Drudge, Rush, Beitbart, etc. I guess truth is just the news we agree with.

      • And don’t forget all the Twitter and Youtube “citizen journalists”, many of whom double as Trump trolls.

      • Christiane says

        the danger of the Trumpist ‘alternate truth’ thing is that his followers and worshipers BELIEVE him at all costs, and if he is defeated in 2020, he may not ‘go quietly’ and might call to his base for an uprising . . .

        would this really happen? I don’t know, but signs are not good that people are trying to find out the REAL truth about Trump et al

        and the future is not so certain anymore, is it

        ?