Changing Hearts and Minds with Facebook

Photo by Sam Armstrong

“My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel–it is, before all, to make you see.” 

~Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

I have to admit something, something that will probably make you laugh derisively because of my foolishness. I, myself, have been that person who rolls hers eyes and wonders what someone else is trying to accomplish.  But, here goes: I hope to change people’s minds on Facebook.
I know! It’s ridiculous!  I myself have repeated the phrase, No one ever changed their mind because of what someone wrote on Facebook.  So why do I insist on trying to do so?  Because I have hope.  I have placed my faith in the power of the written word.

J’accuse, mon petit fromage!
I try not to live in an echo chamber, in real life or on Facebook.  I have friends all along the political and religious spectrum, from libertarian atheist to conservative Catholic, from liberal Protestant to extremely conservative evangelical.  For the most part, we’re able to have civil and reasonable conversations about taxes, gun control, abortion, education, gay rights, etc.  Every once in awhile, I become delusional and try to engage with people I don’t know on a friend’s post.   There are just some things that make me see red and yell, Oh, hell no!

The current meme/status/article/editorial/fact checker round of posts belong to the Syrian refugee crisis in the wake of the attacks in Paris.  Understandably, people are worried that the same will happen to them.  Unfortunately, fear has jumped in the driver’s seat and raced us down the road to xenophobia and racism.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read a comment that said that we should keep all the refugees down in Gitmo.  I was saddened to see governors attempt to close their states faster than a uterus during a legitimate rape.  I was furious to read the Mayor of Roanoke’s implication that Japanese internment camps were a good thing.  I am aggravated that people “pop off” with incorrect information and refer to those asshole terrorists as Muslims, grouping them in with the peaceful people who are fleeing for their lives from these monsters.  I was actually shocked that Donald Trump has advocated for a registry of all American Muslims, reawakening the ghosts of the Holocaust.  

I won’t spend this blog post arguing that we should accept Syrian refugees with open arms, cutting off the lifeblood of ISIS’ attempt to pit them against the West.  Many people have already done the research and written impassioned pleas far better than I could do.  So, for now, I’m going to continue sharing those words with others, hoping that some well-placed information might destroy the fear with which people have armored themselves.  After all, the enemy of fear is knowledge.  And rather than despair, I choose to cling to the hope that the pen is mightier than the sword and that words have the power to change someone’s mind, perhaps even on Facebook.

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