One of Facebook's more popular apps is called "Flair", named after the buttons worn by the servers in the restaurant where Jennifer Aniston works in the movie Office Space. One of the more vivid flair moments, for the uninitiated, is provided below.
On Facebook, you're given a corkboard on which you can place the pieces of flair you get from your friends or that you choose for yourself. Yes, I do this. And my corkboard is filled with flair that expresses everything from my political positions to my love of Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Arrested Development, as well as some other things that friends have sent me.
You can also make your own, and what I've noticed over the last couple of months is that while there's a lot of the kind of stuff you'd expect--Michael Phelps fan-dom, Twilight excitement, and band-geekery--it's also the place where lots of people express their political and religious views, because one of the reasons it's so popular is because there's an easy-to-use "build your own flair" app. (Yes, I have done this.)
And the Political Circus has certainly spilled over into this arena, with an interesting mixture of religion thrown in. Here are a couple of pieces I saw earlier today.
It's pretty obvious which side of this debate I agree with, and let's just say that I find the idea that calling on God to bless our snipers--presumably so they can kill more of the "infidels"--to be morally reprehensible.
Some of them are even more overt in their positions. This one reeks of a person who is racist and is willing to admit it to him/herself, but also knows there are social repercussions to acknowledging that publicly. These people also can't admit that the only reason they favor McCain (or another white third party candidate) is because of race, so they try to turn it around on Obama voters and make it so that the only reason we're voting for the black guy is so we can feel superior.
Here are a few other classy examples I picked out--there's no shortage, and to be honest, there's some ugliness against McCain/Palin out there as well, though I've found less of it.
But I do take heart in the fact that the users of Facebook, who are generally much younger than I am, are at least engaged. My first year students at least know what the issues are, and also know what the smears are. We had a brief conversation in class Thursday about the lipstick on a pig argument, and only a handful of them didn't know what their classmates were talking about. When I was eighteen, I doubt if many of my friends even voted, much less could discuss the merits of George H. W. Bush or Michael Dukakis. I certainly couldn't, and I was curious.
So I tell myself it'll all be okay, that we will elect Barack Obama in November, and that we won't be a heartbeat away from a President with a real messiah complex.