Do You Reveal Your Politics? (Curious Monday)

Things are heating up in the presidential race and online.

And it’s getting nasty. One client asked me how I deal with reading about it all in my Facebook feed and I said, I don’t. I really don’t read my feed much. It’s too upsetting. I can connect with my students and clients through our private groups, where the energy is much more positive.

Roseate Spoonbills painting by Allison Richter

©Allison Richter, Chatter. Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches. Used with permission.

I am very political in my personal life and have even taken stands publicly on issues such as gay marriage.

But there’s a line I draw when posting so publicly about politics on social media.

I’m not saying I won’t come out publicly on one side or the other this year, but I’m hanging low for right now. (Still, I have my T-shirt and bumper sticker ordered.)

I’m much more likely to share positive things about my candidates rather than anything negative about others.

While everyone has a right to voice his or her opinions, I know that:

  • I don’t want to read it if it’s hateful or just mean.
  • Those opinions, especially when negative rather than positive, have the potential of alienating potential buyers.
  • Those same opinions, ironically, also have the potential of attracting ideal buyers.
  • At the end of the day, you have to do what’s right for you. Just as I do.

What’s right for you?

Do you take a stand publicly for your political opinions? (You don’t have to tell us what they are.)

Where do you draw the line? 

Do you find yourself getting trapped in political conversations on social media?

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70 comments to Do You Reveal Your Politics? (Curious Monday)

  • this political season has brought to light much of the bias of so many supposed ideals; folks who say they are accepting and supporting of all walks of life seem to be the most un-accepting of any opinion unless it explicitly agrees with their own; lots of unfriending on fb of people who have known a person for almost ten years

  • I prefer to keep my political views off social media. I have friends whose views cover the entire political spectrum, so anything I post is likely to provoke a debate that I just don’t have time for. And more and more, I’m hiding other people’s political stuff so that my news feed is less unpleasant.

  • Becki Hesedahl

    I have stepped back on social media. Not worth the high blood pressure. And, yes, I do have strong opinions on the issues but nothing i say on fb is going to change anyone’s mind or vote. My ultra conservative daughter has un friended me and cut me off from her family. Just not worth it.

  • Love this question.

    I am about as open with my views – on pretty much everything – as a person can get and my political views are no exception to that stance. I share my views freely and without malice – but not without a little sarcasm from time to time because I do have an edge and I enjoy putting it to work.

    I don’t want to change anybody’s mind, ever. You know what you know – or believe what you believe – and that is your business or your pleasure or your way of life. I may not agree with it, but unless you are causing actual harm, I’ll keep my assessment on that to myself… or, at least, I won’t share it with you.

    I do listen… and I mean ‘listen.’ I hear what people say and I often understand why they stand where they stand and I, flawed as I am, am no one to judge.

    I also don’t care if my political views offend anyone. You’re not going to buy my work – which apparently touched you deeply – because of my political stance? Your loss.

  • I don’t like to read political posts on FB. Like Elva I have friends and family all over the place in terms of political beliefs. I certainly don’t want alienate any of them.

    In real life, though, it seems every friendly gathering ends up in a political discussion ( sometimes, rant). I can’t remember any other election generating so much discussion. For me, I’ve been reading books about how our government was created by authors on both sides of the aisle. That has been great fun! It has also came in handy with my ESL student who is very puzzled by our political process. (Aren’t we all!)

    We had a standardized reading last week about the Constitution. She had a lot of questions and amazingly, because of the books I’d just read, I could answer them. Very satisfying.

  • Good question! Something I have considered almost everyday!

    I keep my Instagram and Facebook business page totally apolitical, but I will post politically on my personal page. I am aware that many of my “friends” don’t share my views, and I am a little cautious about alienating people.

    My political posts are mostly articles I share that seem insightful or important, or expose something outrageous. If it seems very outrageous I will check Snopes before I post, because I have been embarrassed by sharing an article that was satirical, and I thought it was real, and then that was pointed out to me.

    After I post something political I will very rarely respond to any negative comments. I’m just interested in putting the facts out there, not debating. I see that’s where it can turn ugly so fast. I like to project myself as calm, reasonable, and caring.

    I am also careful to mix up my posts and alternate political with art and cute animals and heart-warming stories about everyday people doing good in the world.

    • Wrote my comment before I read yours, Cynthia — I see we have a bit in common!

    • Absolutely agree with you.
      I love posting satire!

    • I do the same; that is, on my personal fb page, I post political stuff. If you don’t like it, unfriend me. Or if you troll, I’ll unfriend you. On my professional page, however, I post only art stuff. Same re Google+ and twitter.

    • Cynthia, I could have written your post exactly! I don’t post anything political or controversial on my Instagram or Facebook business page, and try to keep my personal page kind. But I sometimes post articles I find interesting or that expose outrageousness- but then don’t engage in any arguments afterwards. I just want to inform people who might not have read that particular info. Then I’m back to cat videos and funny photos.

      I draw the line at meanness, and I can’t stand being drawn into political arguments. Conversations, maybe, but usually not.

  • I guess I have it both ways: on my personal page, I post away with political stuff. I actual feel in danger from one of the candidates, so I can’t not post. Even on my personal page, though, I try to balance it with things of beauty. I usually warn people interested in my art that they probably don’t want to follow me personally, and I link them to my professional page. On my professional art page, that’s all I’ll share — things that are uplifting or bring joy.

  • I will sometimes post an informative (supporting a position) article on a local issue that is in the political arena, but never anything about parties or candidates, and I have been hiding people like mad to keep it out of my newsfeed. Plus I find I check and post much less frequently. I am not on instagram, but have wondered if it is not a good alternative to facebook right now.

  • I will share some things on my personal Facebook page but don’t share anything political really on my business page.

  • I rarely make any comments that could be regarded as political on Facebook, Pinterest or Google +. I reserve them for art and family posts.
    I do support campaigns for environmental issues and against animal abuse but I reserve Twitter for that. I regard these issues as political, but they are cross party issues. I don’t say anything that favours one political party over another online.
    I am a UK citizen so I keep right out of US politics.

  • Denise Bourgeois

    I choose to keep away from the subject of politics on social media. I do have strong opinions, but I prefer to share them with close family and friends and “in person” where a true “in real time” conversation can occur.

  • I’m a Canadian so not involved in US politics at all- but I don’t express my political views on Facebook, in my blog or in my Newsletter as they are all just about art. At lunch break on our pleinaire painting days, we certainly might talk about US politics – how can we not with all that is going on across the border? And we talked about Brexit too. Still, I basically go by what my parents’ generation followed – don’t discuss politics or religion or you can lose friends.

  • Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. The one I was rooting for did not even get a chance to run. Hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. As an artist I am immune to disappointments and curve balls. Bottom-Line: I refuse to loose my friendships and relationships if people have different political views than my own.

  • I used to post a lot of political stuff, but I use my online for biz so when I got
    pissed off at something and posted, I always deleted it because it was reactionary and not biz.

    But here is some past history… I vote issue and qualifications not party.
    Hope and change were not plans, other than get votes.
    My parents and whole family were GOP and dad was an elected judge.
    Except for a Confederate general who was later a senator and governor…
    no Dems at all. last time I voted for the candidate who was refused entry to the debate and taken away in a police car… who? Jill Stein!

    Are we approaching yet another bloodless coupe?
    It happens… way too often here! Yep we got em too!

    That’s my story and I am sticking to it!

  • As a Canadian I can ignore the whole south of the border political storm. I read some of it but I keep politics and religion out of my art business. I don’t paint social commentary so my clients are not looking for it.

  • Alyson…bravo❗🆓
    How salient!!!!
    You have such talent in touching upon what is top of mind.
    Thank you.
    I have to say…i align closely with Alyson and most of the commenters above.
    I rarely post anything personal to say nothing of political on either my biz or personal page.
    I just do not want to make those things public.
    There are other forums for that…and I do not use social media that way.
    I seek to share, inform, thought provoke and delight about specific matters including the arts, my and others’ work, entrepreneurship, teaching artistry and the like.
    Thank you all 4 the great comments👍✌💪🙌🙏👐👌🆒❗

  • I definitely have opinions about politics, but I find the vitriol which gets stirred up during political discussions quite upsetting, and a threat to my peace of mind. Therefore, other than a few issues that do not fall along party lines, such as being an advocate for animals, I prefer to keep my opinions on politics completely under wraps, to the point that I’d prefer that no one knows what they are.

    I have friends from every part of the political spectrum, but I don’t want to hear anyone else’s rants on these topics, so although they have every right to say what they want on their own social media feeds, I will unfollow people who clutter up my feed with political stuff, even if I agree with it. I just don’t want to put that kind of negativity into my brain if I don’t have to; I want peace in my life instead.

  • Yep. Guilty, or not, depending upon your take.
    I do try to keep it open, and never post political opinions on my studio page, blog, or newsletter. But my profile is my profile, even though I do have many clients that are also ‘friends’, it is still a personal profile, and therefore I feel I am entitled to express my personality and opinions.
    And like a few others have suggested, if they unfriend me or refuse to buy my artwork because of differing opinions, well they really weren’t my ideal customer anyway.
    what a great hot-button question!

  • In addition, I am sure Bernie capitulated when Obama gave him a presidential order to back off. Bernie would be conflicted by this being well what do you say too Mr President I mean really?
    He of course was ordered to side with Hillary, the Scorpio… YIKES that makes me shudder!

  • Steering clear of any political debate on social media. As others have stated, I too have friends on every side of the political spectrum.

    Anything I say would be a waste of time at this point. I’ve even posted that I won’t take sides and don’t like the mud-slinging. Then someone posted something inflammatory as a response. I deleted their response. Too many other things to focus on at this moment anyway.

  • I never never discuss politic on social media. This subject is really too sensitive here in Quebec.

  • Allyson I am with you on not reading my feed and directly communicating with my followers. I keep things in the positive and yes I am very political. I use my wallet to express my support either by donations, where I purchase and even more importantly where I Do Not shop.

  • Politics is such a polarizing topic that tends to bring out the worst in people. I don’t waste any of my time or energy debating politics with friends or family in real life, nor do I post anything about my political views on social media. I have unfollowed the feeds of friends on Facebook that are constantly posting about politics – particularly those who present their views by casting a negative light on the candidate they oppose. Ultimately, every individual has their own political beliefs and convictions and can exercise their right to vote accordingly on Election Day.

  • I don’t go there. I deal with confrontation but why provoke it? I need my peace and don’t have the time or the emotional bandwidth. I have political views just like everyone else but using my valuable time and limited emotional bandwidth expressing, defending and interacting with others in regards to them is low on my list of priorities. As many of you have stated it won’t change beliefs or votes so I choose to spend that time and emotional energy creating art or promoting my art business.

  • Alisha, I tend to agree with you. I have strong political opinions but I usually just share them with close friends. I spend very little time on social media and don’t use it to read political posts, just art-related stuff.

  • I am very political and post a LOT of articles, speeches, photos, etc…of where I am in my views. I only do it on my personal page.
    I can’t help it. I grew up in a very political family in Argentina. Since a very young age I had been to marches and protests. When we moved to the USA, I was taken to civil right marches and anti Vietnam protests by my parents and then went on my own as I got older.
    I don’t tolerate Injustices. I am very vocal if I see anyone being treated wrongly.
    This is a very crazy election. Trump is not a normal candidate. I feel like I need to post how crazy that man is. I hope to not be offending anyone but he is a fascist, racist, mysogynist and hater of anything different than him.
    I am Hispanic and I am a lesbian. Just the thought of a Trump presidency really scares me. I feel the need to put it out there. At least 2-3 Supreme Court justices will be up for nomination this next term. If Trump chooses anyone, we will be regressing 40 years or so.
    I love Obama, I love Hillary, always have. I know Hillary is for Human rights, I know she cares, I know she will make the right choices.
    I could go on and on, but actually, Alyson’s question is if we share or post our thoughts. Ian’s you can see, I do.

  • Yes, occasionally, but I’ve not done so much this time around.
    It’s just not worth the backlash.

  • Corinne McNamara

    I keep my opinions private, in both my personal life and my current work life. When I have a choice, I avoid spending time with people who rant, who indulge in unending arguments, and who verbally attack and criticize others. However, I don’t want to alienate relatives or to lose my job (private univ.) because my beliefs are not acceptable in their worldview. I ignore social media posts on politics, religion, and related causes and will continue to do so.

  • I do not post anything political on social media and I am doing my best to ignore those who do. I can always turn off notifications for certain very political folks until the election is over. I’d like my friends to still be my friends when the day is done.

  • Bug

    This is as close to social media as I get. So, no I don’t post and advocate.
    But, this time, where I draw the line seems important. I draw the line before narcissism, lack of cogent ideas that permit the development and implementation of policy, and both detailed and general international political ignorance. Interpret that as you will. My line has been drawn for some time. For me, this is a “vote against” election. (This election cycle has me feeling sour.)

  • I have such strong political views that I’m careful not to post my opinions. People’s minds are so fixed that posting my views isn’t going to change anything. I do appreciate though when friends post articles illuminating the confounding turns our country has taken politically in recent years, and I will comment briefly on these. Generally I stay away from politics on my personal page and I never engage in politics on my business page blog or newsletter.

  • Alyson, I too am political. However, all of the personal attacks on people who express their opinions causes me to keep my politics to myself or within close friends. It saddens me what people will do and say to each other behind the cover of social media. Could they stand in front of that person and say the same things? I’m afraid the nastiness will continue long after the election no matter which way it goes. So, my decision is to pray for this country …praying for peace.

  • Like so many others on here, I keep very quiet about anything political. I like to keep my business page completely apolitical, and don’t even share any funnies that could be alienating. It’s not worth driving potential sales away, I prefer to be above it all and not give in to the gossipy snipey type of post either. My feed is relatively benign as I surround myself with likeminded people who are generally, well, nice. I don’t tend to have many friends that like to share the nastier side of the internet, whether general bad news or political opinions. I keep abreast of current affairs, I just don’t feel the need to share them on social media.

  • I stay out of the fray on Facebook. I keep my blood pressure down by not going there and post most of my art on Instagram these days and sometimes share on fb. Art only, no politics. Having said that, I wrote a blog right after the Florida shootings and did mention my disappointment on the choice of one of the candidates not naming names. It was obvious who I was talking about. This was all written in the context of how l use my art to “get through the ugliness”.

  • I do not post anything political on my art page on Facebook. My personal page represents me as an artist to many people in my community, as much or even more so than my business page, so I rarely post political comments on my personal page. When I do, it’s most likely going to be something like come on you guys, can’t we all be friends? One of my comments was that maybe we should just post more pictures of our pets; when I really get frustrated I put up a picture of my cat. However I “like”many of my friends’ political comments and Memes, and sometimes those then appear in the general newsfeed, announcing that I liked them . I had people tell me they appreciate the political comments that I post, and it was then that I realized that my liking something was being announced. In my community the majority ideology is very conservative and I do want to be careful that I don’t offend.

  • I do post political ideas. Usually it’s about issues rather than humans. I’ve been having second thoughts about it lately. I had an Obama bumper sticker on my car for years and occasionally I would get nasty notes on my windshield and even a person yelling at me from his car. In general I’m peaceful and a peace-maker and don’t want to add to the already intense divisiveness in our country. I took the bumper sticker off and haven’t gotten one for Hillary for the above reason. But occasionally I can’t help myself and post on social media about an issue that is really important to me.

  • Leslie

    I have some strong political opinions, formed out of years of deep research, reflection on my values, and attempts at understanding history and humanity both psychologically and philosophically (though I do believe that the more I learn, the more I realize I do not know, i.e., there are rarely simple answers to the questions that politics brings forth!) However, I do not generally share my political opinions with anyone other than my husband.

    Part of the reason for this is that I am in higher education. I teach both undergraduate and graduate students, so I try to teach them the strategies and benefits of healthy political discussion and respectful debate. But I have found that keeping my political and religious views private has allowed me to have a much better rapport with students. My goal is to help them learn HOW to think, not WHAT to think.

    Over time, I find this just works well in general with most people. It doesn’t mean I won’t discuss politics, I just tend not to assert my opinion or judgment, especially publicly. That is not what I am particularly good at doing! Though, truth be told, I write a blog under a pen name that is quite political in its subject matter. I just don’t want to constantly field opinions about it in either my professional or personal life.

    What I have found on social media, FB in particular, is the recent tendency to just go on unsubstantiated rants that are not well-thought out, insulting to groups and individuals, and creating polarizations that are hard to get out of once someone wants to soften their position. I wish it didn’t affect me when someone I am following on FB does this, but I have to admit that it does. Just this morning, I found myself unfollowing a beautiful artist and poet whose work I admire because of her recent rants—vicious, unexpected, biased, and judgmental. Perhaps I don’t want to see the shadow side of some people, or maybe I am being too idealistic; of course, artists and poets are full-bodied, well-rounded people just like I am and they have a reason for believing what they do. But I guess presentation is everything, and when posts start seeming irrational, I just can’t go there with them.

    • I like your thoughtful reply. I retired from a university teaching position and it’s interesting some of the least tolerant responses I ever read or heard were from teachers in higher ed. Really? An important function of education is to do exactly what you do…help people learn how to think…not what to think. Good work!

      • Leslie

        Thank you, Honey! Yes, I am surprised how many faculty members preach their politics to their students unabashedly, and how students can sometimes feel marginalized in the classroom as a result. It doesn’t set up a healthy intellectual environment at all!

    • Leslie, I appreciate your thoughtful response about the context of teaching, too. As a former HS teacher (English), I also considered much of my job as teaching my students to understand and think critically about their reading and the world around them. I was appalled to learn that one of my colleagues (a social studies teacher) apparently would go on political rants (this was a couple of decades ago, not currently). One of my students mentioned it, with her eyes rolling.

      I guess it was a compliment when she asked me my political party, and guessed the wrong one…. I’d evidently been very good at hiding it.

      I apply the same to my artwork and art teaching, too, except when my artwork has had a specific environmental focus. Otherwise, I’m not painting or teaching politics, and I don’t want it to get in the way of an otherwise shared experience.

  • Oooh, Alyson, what an AWFUL question! I don’t post anything political on my art page. I keep that strictly for art. However, I find that a lot of people ask to be friends on my personal page, either because they don’t know I have an art page or because they just saw my art originally on a group page that won’t allow posts from anything but a personal page. And with Facebook only showing my business posts to a small percentage of page followers, I often share my business posts on my personal page to get more views of my art.

    I usually don’t post political things on my personal page but this election is beyond the pale and I actually feel guilty if I stay silent when I see entire groups being wrongly targeted. Since I have close friends (in real life) among those groups, I feel I am part of the problem if I fail to say something to call out the person saying them. This has caused some issues. Although some Facebook friends respond respectfully with disagreement, others feel free to name call and sling mud. Some have even posted their vitriol on my page (taken down immediately). A longtime friend’s mother sent me a private message telling me how wrong I was! How awful!

    Since then, I have decided no more. But as Joan noted, I can’t even “like” someone else’s political post without it showing up in others’ news feeds. It is just not right. I feel muzzled and guilty for muzzling myself.

  • To keep things simple, I don’t comment on anything political on Facebook. I sure don’t post anything on my blog. I rarely discuss politics with anybody except my BFF who is a political junkie. She and her spouse love to watch debates and the conventions just completed. We don’t talk about it. I know this upcoming election is going to be a tough one. I personally don’t like negative campaigns at all. We as a nation will be okay no matter who is elected. I have to believe this or I’d need to dig a home and build an earth ship to live in way off the grid.

    Good question and brave.

  • I consider that I’m running a small business, which happens to be about selling my Art. I paint gardens and flowers and spread beauty through my work. As a small business person I will do nothing to insult or alienate my current and potential clients and customers. I use social media to help spread the word about my beautiful Art work so why would I taint the message with controversial issues. Social media is for me free advertising. I wouldn’t buy an ad and put anything in it that might turn someone against wanting to purchase from me so why would I do that with Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest or Google+. It just doesn’t make sense.
    …mary ahern

  • You pose an interesting question, Alyson.

    I’ve always felt that politics or political affiliations don’t have a place on either my business or personal sites. I respect everyone’s right to party identity, sexual orientation, religion or not and dark over milk chocolate.

    My social media pages are for discovering joy and commonality through art. For a shot of political java, head for the nightly news because my posts will be sadly lacking of such!

  • As a general rule I don’t share my political or religious views on social media or my blog, although I did for a moment get sucked into this years fiasco. But only for a moment. I ignore most political posts that come across my news feed as the majority are negative and I prefer to focus on positive.

  • I’m with Alyson, I tend not to engage much on social media when it comes to politics – I try to stay on my mission and let that guide my posts. Now I have to admit this election has moved me to moments on my Twitter account but with my mission being “to empower through creativity” I feel my contributions were on point. When it comes to my artwork, all gloves are off, and I totally express it all in my artwork. If I did create a political piece (which I have not for this election….yet) then you bet I will post it all over my social media.
    To keep my presence on my social platforms but still focused on my studio tasks, I have a daily Social Media Calendar – I only post on & check the platforms I have scheduled for that day.

  • I learned the hard way to keep my politics to myself.

  • In general, I don’t really care about politics; however this years is different. I grew with family members who fought WWI and WWII, I remember their stories. I grew up with friends whose parents survived the holocaust. In 1994, I lost families and dear friend during the genocide in Rwanda, for a 200 days, I didn’t know if my mom was alive or not. I know the survivors, I live with the survivors guilt, everyday. I look for the ones we lost and never got a body to bury. I try not to engage and post anything personal on my social media, but sometimes it need to come out. This election no one can sit and wait hoping for the best; the best is not going to happen while we sit. I feel lucky because I have options, but what about the ones who don’t have options? Sometimes we have to stand up and say no more. I live in Louisiana, last week the KKK sent flyers asking people to join again. I am watching and waiting to see who is going to stand up. This week, I ended a business deal because the person was posting things that I am morally against. I think this question should ba asked again in December.

  • Technically it is Tuesday but I want to chime in. I have two FB pages. I announced that “anyone who wishes to leave my page” should do so now -about a week ago. Two people left, one ultra conservative stayed – I just hide her posts.

  • My goodness, it’s getting unpleasant out there, isn’t it?

    I try to follow the “bartender rules,” no politics, no religion. But I will also stand up for people’s rights and stand up for what I believe in, so I have been posting articles which clearly indicate a political leaning.

    I agree with you about FB though, Alyson. It’s pretty depressing over there lately.

  • Kate Stockman

    As the cartoon says (essentially), “Keeping up with current events is threatening my sanity” and I found that true for me. Up until about 2 weeks ago, I shared my political opinions on my private FB page — pro and con — but I’m really just done with it all! I have never posted political comments on my professional FB pages; for me, that’s an inappropriate outlet. While I definitely have political opinions, I have chosen to get out of the middle of all the mud slinging and listen to my heart… which longs for inner peace. So I have now chosen to only post things on my FB pages that are positive, that bring me peace, that I can stand FOR, not against. I think it is much stronger to stand FOR something than AGAINST anything. Here’s to positive change!

  • I don’t push my voting beliefs on anyone and don’t think that aggressive politics belong on social media as it alienates too many people and makes them uncomfortable. Angry debating doesn’t change anyone’s mind.
    That said, I will forward or repost a well written article that is factual and makes sense to me.

  • kate moon

    If my post can be interesting in itself, I will show my conscience. Today I read a story which inspired a creative idea for a FB post:
    November 2016, somewhere in the “Bible Belt”. A woman holds her baby behind the curtain at the polls… The soandso who left her used to say Shut that kid up!…
    Just like Trump
    She pulls the other lever.

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