Any given day, I have this huge range of beliefs and opinions going across my facebook feed. I am friends with Christians and atheists, Republicans and Democrats, autistics and neurotypicals, parents and non-parents, gays and straights and gender-queers. It's a hodge-podge of beliefs and opinions streaming constantly across my page.
If it's a personal belief regarding politics and religion, I make no comment, generally feel no anger, either. People are entitled to share who they are on their facebook wall--I consider myself an invited guest and try to respond accordingly. If I wouldn't sit on their couch and say it to them, I'm not going to say it on their wall. If it's light woo, like the HCG diet or something similar, the same policy applies.
Here's a real shocker, perhaps, if they believe vaccines cause autism, I'm also not going to argue with them.
There's a time and a place for that, and facebook walls are not where I choose to engage. If a civil conversation can be had, I'm all for that, but I don't like pissing matches on facebook.
If I find language that's disturbing enough (like the use of disparaging language against minority groups), I'll quietly defriend the individual.
With it being an election year, the feed has gotten more polarized. The shooting in Aurora brought posts about gun rights and people's manifestos regarding that.
Lots of "defriend me now" went across my feed, all if you were in disagreement with the person. I never checked those threads to ever see if it got heated. I kept scrolling. I like to use facebook as news--I care about what's going on in my friends' lives, like to see what they are up to, enjoy the articles they share, their cute dog or cat pictures, the sarcastic sayings, all the various pages I like that give me updates on blog posts and news and how the various communities I feel I am a part of are doing.
Now the defriend me posts are about the guy with the chicken fast food chain and his comments about gays and gay marriage. Huffington Post informs me about what the company does with its profits, while some friends applaud supporting free speech by showing up at the restaurants today to eat fast food in solidarity, while other friends are wounded, and rightfully so, that people could be so threatened by the idea of gay marriage.
If the president of this company had made these comments about interracial marriage, would people be rallying at the restaurant to support his right to free speech? And what does spending six dollars for a combo meal have to do with supporting his free speech?
Here's an acceptance and support of free speech: each of my facebook friends has the right to express him or herself. It's a great right, freedom of speech, and one my husband and father both spent over two decades each serving to protect.
I won't be making those "defriend me now" statuses on facebook. You don't have to agree with me to be my friend. But you do have to respect my right to believe and express myself in the same way I respect yours.
We can certainly decide, if it becomes too burdensome, to no longer be facebook friends. If your beliefs are so narrow as to be threatened because I won't either high five yours or express my own, then that loss of your facebook friendship will not be a great loss to me.