I have been lightly following the Mark Zuckerberg hearing. I used to think sharing private information was dangerous because someone can get into my financial records or send me ads for things someone discerns I will want to buy. This morning I considered the many political posts I get on my Facebook page. Most, or rather all, of these tend to be liberal because I am a liberal. I am sure it has been calculated how many times I like or re-post a story or opinion that tends to be liberal. What I realize is that if my activity opens the door for only left-leaning posts, I am getting more of what I start out believing in the first place. I am absolutely sure this is the experience of my conservative friends. Their conservative views are being reinforced by news stories and opinions exactly like their own. I note, too, that within the range of either conservative or liberal opinions, there are the moderate and extreme views as well as the reasonable and the nasty.
The outcome, it seems to me, isn’t so much educating Americans as pitting sides against one another. There have been apposing sides in American politics since George Washington. People believe differently because of different needs and life situations. I believe that trying to bring differing points of view to the table to make difficult decisions is the function of a democratic form of government. What is happening here today is deepening the defensiveness, the frustration, and anger of each side. This isn’t what makes healthy democracies; it is what makes revolutions.