BRANDON FOUNTAIN: My fatal Facebook faux pas

Social media isn’t the place to delve into politics if you aren’t ready to stand behind your posts.

Recently, my brother posted a photo asserting he and others who cast a vote for a third-party candidate are sending a message of protest to the two parties dominating our American political landscape.

Folks, I don’t care who anyone votes for …

If … they can back it up.

Now, I didn’t question who he was voting for. In fact, I couldn’t care less. I just was hoping that as publicly as he shared this little photo he’d share his reasoning.

Replying to his post, I noted the history of third-party candidates isn’t what anyone would label successful in the rationale of sending that message, considering Ralph Nader, Ross Perot, or my personal favorite, Pat Paulsen.

I plainly laid out if those other parties want to be taken seriously by voters, they have to bring more to the table than candidates who aren’t serious about their candidacy — supporting theories of government involvement in 9/11 or someone who doesn’t know where or what Aleppo is.

I suggested the first step for those who feel empowered to vocally express how much they are disenfranchised by the political system is to wipe off those boo-boos and do something rather than just complain about being an oppressed victim.

One option is voters actually showing up to every election.

I mean, our presidential primary in March had a smidgen more than 34 percent voter turnout statewide. Frankly, that’s pathetic and embarrassing.

I also noted a voter’s voice should not only be heard on Election Day. If you want to spark change, you have to work together with like-minded people for your own communities before you can set your sights any higher.

My brother quickly replied, noting how the Founding Fathers were not in favor of two parties dominating politics as they are today; my charming cynicism about third-party candidates is part of the problem; how the system is rigged against “real” voters; and it was his opinion and he won’t change it and he didn’t need to defend his stance.

The gloves came off, folks. Not because I’m a cynical contrarian, but his inability to defend his public stance was hypocritical of the post itself — to send a message of protest.

I don’t care who you vote for. I absolutely relish the secret ballot and believe in the system.

However, if you’re going to take a position on something, you better back it up with rational, fact-driven discussion and not cherry-picked rhetoric.

As I told him in my final reply — despite him carrying on — that posting something and not expecting to be challenged, questioned or asked to defend the very basic reasoning to the public support of said candidate, is absolutely presumptuous.

And by spouting off “that’s my opinion and you can’t make me change it” isn’t a very successful, reassuring endorsement of said candidate — it’s actually the complete opposite.

I’ll be much happier when this election is over, folks. I’ll take babies walking, cat videos and inappropriate jokes any day on Facebook — even a “Your Mama” joke would suffice right about now.

However, I am a realist, and I know there are folks who will never be happy if they aren’t complaining. I’ll probably complain.

The difference is, it’s going to be my opinion, but if you present a rational, reasonable rebuttal free from whiny, irrational, irresponsible rhetoric, then the least I can do is listen.

I’ll gladly welcome any civilized discussion with folks I may not always see eye-to-eye with on certain issues. However, it is through discussion, that understanding could ultimately lead to compromise.

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Posted by Brandon Fountain

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