Opinions ... share and share alike

I have a pretty diverse group of friends on Facebook. Some I have known since I was a little kid ... some I met a couple of weeks ago. I speak with some on a regular basis, others I haven’t seen since college. I have friends who back the Obama administration 100 percent. I have friends who believe Obama to be a “Muslim terrorist,” and have since 2007. Some folks are proud to serve or have served in our United States military. Others have never set foot on U.S. soil and like it that way. I know people who push for government agencies to do more to “make everyone equal,” while on the other hand I have friends who see no use for government. There are the friends who post photos of their children or pets non-stop, share what they eat for dinner each night, and let the world know when they’re at work, when they’re shopping, and when they’re sleeping. A lot of my friends like sports. They’re tall, short, gay, straight, black, white, orange (eww, stop tanning, please), homeless, privileged, sixteen, sixty ... you name it.

This is something I really embrace. Interestingly (for me, at least), a number of my friends like to “get political” on Facebook. Many folks will post links to news articles they feel passionate about. While I usually refrain from commenting on such posts, I’ll give them all a read. I like knowing where people stand on certain issues and the values they treasure.

That being said, enough with the George Zimmerman trial and verdict. Seventy seven percent of my friends instantaneously became legal experts when the verdict was returned. Too many succumb to sensationalism. I don’t want my brevity on the situation to be construed as a lack of compassion toward the Martin family, as that is not the case. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the matter. However, most of those expressing hate toward Zimmerman re-elected a president ordering drone strikes killing innocent children – 16-year-old Abdulrahman just to name one.

There’s a lot more going on than what Don Lemon or Anderson Cooper are told to report on CNN.

While the majority of social media outlets and new agencies have been focusing on the Zimmerman trial, other noteworthy events have been either placed on the back burner or ignored entirely.

The defense recently rested in the Bradley Manning court martial last Wednesday, and the prosecution will present a rebuttal this week. I have friends on Facebook who have called Manning some of the most deplorable names you could think of, and friends who are full supporters. Hey, per the Department of Homeland Security ... “If you see something, say something,” right? Well, Manning did. Holy smokes. If you think he deserves to rot in a cage for exposing what he did, you are entitled to that opinion. I wholeheartedly disagree, but we all come from different backgrounds.

Edward Snowden made a public appearance and statement last week from Russia. He’s been in a little bit of a pickle (to say the least). To my surprise, I have learned many of my friends on social media don’t really care what Snowden leaked.

“I’m not doing anything wrong, so I don’t care if they’re watching. I figured it all along anyway.”

Really? You’re that complacent? You’re okay having zero privacy? You truly believe it’s a national security issue?

It didn’t come as a surprise to me when he was charged. After all, he never completed his stint in a government-run educational institution. He didn’t last long in the military. He made a donation to the Ron Paul campaign in the past (oh boy!). He never received the “proper conditioning.” Silly Snowden thought for himself, saw something and said something. He’s a good egg in my book.

Also last week, while many Facebook addicts were incessantly updating their friends on the fact they love their significant other (for the fourth time that day), others were sharing a link to a video that is utterly disturbing, but something that every American - or person, for that matter - should be aware of. Yasiin Bey - also known as Mos Def - underwent the Standard Operating Procedure of force-feeding detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Mind you, “detainee” does not mean they did anything wrong - they’re just being held until “who knows when.” A large number of detainees are on a hunger strike, yet the government deems it appropriate to shackle the human beings down and force a tube up their nose to feed them. This process is absolutely inhumane and it is disheartening to learn about. This is - yet again - another action I cannot stand behind. As far as I can tell, the general consensus of those on social media sites who have seen this is that is an abhorrent act and in no way okay.

The Pentagon has recently decided to restrict the force-feeding to only nighttime, so it does not interfere with the detainees’ observation of Ramadan. This - in no way, shape or form - makes what the military is doing okay. Not one bit. Violently forcing a two-foot tube into the stomach of a human being who is strapped down when said human being is purposefully on a hunger strike ... never alright in my book.

I’ve grown up in a time where “I’ll find you on Facebook” comes after meeting someone new for the first time. With this comes a platform where I am exposed to hundreds of viewpoints on a daily basis, and I do enjoy how they vary. I also appreciate how passionate people are about certain things they value ... even if it is something like golf. I love reading posts about newsworthy things on television that the news won’t cover. I like knowing what music my friends are blasting that day, and I’ll even “like” some pictures of little kids. I don’t agree with the majority of my friends on a lot of issues, but I respect their stance and understand we all have different histories. I’m pretty sure the NSA is enjoying our posts too.

In one of my favorite spoken word pieces, Buddy Wakefield says, “I’ve got no more lemons, just my opinions, yours for a dime a dozen today and they’re always going to be on the table, but only some are going to set you free.”

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