Jonathan Richie BW.tif

Social media is ruining us as human beings. Politics have become too much of our identity.

I read a column the other day titled “Dear Abby: Politics put a sudden end to a 20-year-old friendship.”

And guess what? It centered around a social media post and the last presidential election. Disclaimer: my only friendships that have lasted 20 years are with family members and the first kids I met when we moved to the suburbs when I was in the second grade.

The “Dear Abby” writer posted something on social media about the election. Whatever opinion they put on social media was seen by others as “a personal attack and (they) stepped out of my life without warning.”

I have friends who disagree with me on politics, who doesn’t?

Politics, money, and religion – those are the three topics never to be discussed if you want to avert a disaster with friends. At least that’s what I have been told.

I don’t know how true that is, but it’s what people say.

I have friends who are Catholic, Baptist, Buddhist, agnostic, and even atheists. We never discuss the afterlife and who will end up burning in hell and it works for us.

My only concern is weddings. I love a good Lutheran wedding, quick and easy. Not like those Catholic weddings that last half the day. (Please laugh, that was a joke)

Back to social media and its ruination of our lives. Whether it’s Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or whatever some tech head in sunny California is dreaming up to launch in the future and take over young people’s lives, they all do the same thing – make the user feel like they are the center of the universe.

“This website gave me a platform. I am connected to the whole world and everyone needs to know what I am doing, what I think about this thing, and also that I hate these things, and you need to know right now.”

Facebook, especially, is a virtual cesspool of political ideology – from both sides.

We all understand the polarization of national politics right now. We are more divided than we ever have been as a nation, is what a number of baby boomer editorials have said. Then they say, but we have much more in common with each other than differences. I tend to agree with that sentiment.

I have been told I’m an idealist in this way. When, in fact, I think I’m 20 percent idealist and the other half is a realist. (Yogi Berra-style joke)

Take it from a young person, politics should not be ruining lifelong friendships.

Jonathan Richie is the editor of the Burnett County Sentinel. He can be reached at 715-463-2341 or by email at editor@burnettcountysentinel.com.