Today I noticed an article making the rounds on facebook that asks to be de-friended on fb and un-followed on twitter by any friend or follower who plans to vote for Romney. The demand was accompanied by a passionate argument for why the writer wants this.
The item didn't cause me to do anything, aside from reading the "liked" blog post. I (practically) never mix it up with anyone on fb. I have, on occasion, hidden individual posts so I didn't have to see them again (pictures of hunting "takes" [yes, euphemism] come to mind); I've also hidden all game reports of the farmville variety, and all except important items from friends who post endless strings of jpeg cliches or only write rants that are offensive to me in some way.
But I've never considered demanding that someone de-friend me. It is so passive-aggressive. Why would the writer expect someone to take this action and reveal information that we have to right to keep private? And if the target audience is not keeping their political preferences secret, but instead posting items the writer finds offensive, why don't they do the de-friending, if they want to take a more extreme step than simply hiding objectionable material? I don't get it.
Due to my interest in toleration, I am always surprised when I encounter viewpoints that are absent respect for pluralism. I also wonder, is the "liker" also asking to be de-friended? Or is it just a thoughtless like, as mine are on a cute cat picture or new seasonal menu announcement from a favorite restaurant?
I'd never mix it up on fb, as I mentioned, but it is oh-so-tempting to do a de-friending, but not to signify voting intentions, including whether I plan to vote at all or write in Mickey Mouse, all of which are my business and no-one else's unless I feel like sharing. I am tempted to take such action just to add to the writer's palpable angst. Or maybe a better strategy would be to one-up the egotistical outrage and demand de-friending if the reader intends to remodeled an outdated kitchen or buy a new sofa or fly in an airplane for vacation, because those acts are wasting resources and conflict with my 100% pure and true anti-materialist value system.