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Status Whoa!

Status Whoa!
Dear LuvDoc,
My best friend from high school keeps posting insane, right-wing, inflammatory, and borderline racist political status updates on Facebook. Should I try to set him straight or should I just unfriend him? Otherwise he really is a nice guy.
- Shelly

Shelly, remember the old saying, "Opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one and they all stink"? … Maybe it was a bumper sticker. Regardless, the same could be said for pretty much all political discourse. I know that sounds dismissive, and it is somewhat, but I think everyone can agree that an individual is more than what he posts on his Facebook page. If that weren't the case, I would just be some shirtless drunk staggering around in a pair of ancient, threadbare tighty-whities. The problem with Facebook is that it's really hard to capture the whole person in the two-dimensional world of the interwebs. Your friend may see Facebook not as an encapsulation of his greater self, but merely as a bulletin board for his snappy political messages. What he's really saying is that he's a Republican and it's an election year and he's going to vote for Dudley Do-Right and the American Psycho. You know what? That's his right. And it's your right to give him shit about it. But make no mistake: Neither one of you will be changing anyone's mind. For the most part, political affiliations are nearly genetic. The likelihood that your political views are the same as your parents is better than 70%. No, I didn't pull that statistic out of my ass, I got it on the interwebs (aka, the fountain of truth). So yeah, you didn't build that (political ideology), they did - and very likely their parents and grandparents and so on. Admit it, you always considered yourself to be an independent, free thinker, didn't you? Hardly. Most people - you included - only seek out facts (political and otherwise) that correspond with their preexisting beliefs. But wait, it gets even better: The more intelligent you are, the less likely you are to accept facts that don't correspond with your worldview. That's right, dumber people are more open-minded. I guess that only follows since their heads aren't as crowded with thoughts. However, your natural predisposition toward reaffirming data should not be seen as a ready-made excuse to be a total dumbass. Rather, it should be taken as a challenge to really investigate those ideas and concepts that you find particularly annoying and offensive. I don't have to tell you that it will be much harder to find common political ground with your friend than it will be to do otherwise. Regardless of his views on harebrained shit like "Legitimate Rape," Obama being a Muslim, and America's sinful behavior as the cause for hurricanes, he will be much more likely to walk toward the light if he thinks you're walking with him rather than over him.

Need some advice from the Luv Doc? Send your questions to luvdoc@austinchronicle.com, or check out the Luv Doc Archive.

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