According to a popular internet meme, a lot of Americans are going to give up “politics” during the Lenten season this year. Interestingly enough, the action seems to have become a trend among both conservative and liberal minds.
How the season is helping people let go of Facebook politics
During the season of Lent, it is common for the faithful to give up an indulgence that is meant to give them pleasure for forty days, excluding Sundays, starting on #Ash Wednesday and leading up to Easter Sunday. While the season is not really meant for bad habits, as people can return to their indulgences on Sundays and finally once the Lenten season has passed, people have adopted the practice of giving up various things for Lent for the sake of self-improvement in recent years.
This year, due to the influence of political unrest within the #United States, many people have proclaimed that they will give up politics for the season.
Staten Island lawyer and supporter of President Donald Trump, Bill Dertinger, gained prominence in the trend when he announced he would be leaving Facebook over political unrest, having written on social media that he hopes that other people may be influenced to “follow suit because life is way too short to engage in repetitive, senseless debates,” adding that such conflicts rarely cause people to rethink their positions. He had reportedly developed his Lenten epiphany to give up politics sometime around last month.
Libertarian and Wall Street banker, Tom Morrison, said he would give up politics as his first ever Lenten penance, saying that people should be focused on their pets and children instead of political turmoil..
Another lawyer, Greg McPolin, also gave up Facebook on Ash Wednesday, adding that he would return in 40 days. In a released statement, he added that sensible people know not to get into heated debates over politics and #Religion in real life, "but on Facebook those restrictions don’t apply." The action is said to be particularly hard for McPolin, as he owns Facebook stock.
The movement has support from at least one priest
Given the religious nature of Lent, there is still the question of how appropriate this is. Such actions have even been honored by at least one member of the Church. Father James Cuddy of St. Joseph’s Church in Greenwich Village publicly gave his support for the action. Highlighting how holidays often become a time for political turmoil, he said in a released statement that this can help people rebuild relationships..
Even those in the medical profession have found such an action to be potentially beneficial. Manhattan psychologist Tiffany Miller also said that the action was good for one’s mental health. For the more right-wing, it can be a way to find relief. For the more left-wing, it can help with the “bleeding out.”
Now for my two cents. Personally, I do see the good in this, as the political unrest that has racked the United States seems dangerous and plentiful. With each side writing off the other with everything they can, most notably writing off every piece of news story someone does not like as being "fake news," I think that it is fair to say that we have come to far with the delusion of thinking that writing a comment on someone's Facebook page is going to set the world on fire. While politics are something we shouldn't normally be made to feel ashamed of, I do think we've also reached a point where it is safe to say less is more. Finally, however, I do hope that people who celebrate the Lenten season do take it seriously, and remember the importance of penance.