I'm spending a lot of time right now trying not to get into politics-related fights on Facebook; I bet a lot of you are too. (Let's not rehash here!)
What's been especially striking to me, lately, is that people seem to fall into three major camps when it comes to public arguments about deeply-held beliefs:
1) the fighters, who start out argumentative and get feistier from there. Sometimes this means posting a link, pseudo-innocuously, to Slate or the New York Times or the National Review or the latest incendiary Newsweek cover story, and just letting the fireworks happen. Other times it means a deliberately confrontational status update, along the lines of "HOW can these bozos actually BELIEVE [whatever it is these bozos believe]".
2) The conflict-avoiders, who have their own cherished beliefs but find that their love for some of their friends and family is being eroded by too much information about said friends and family members' political preferences. This group would rather everyone made a pact not to talk about religion or politics on Facebook, please!
3) The popcorn-eaters, who may not want to participate in the drama but are enjoying the hell out of watching it unfold.
Which category are you in? I think this year I'm a #1, trying really hard to be a #2 but mostly settling for #3.
Which category are your characters in? What great fictional characters can you think of that are not #1s, or at least don't start that way?
I'll name one: Bilbo Baggins, in The Hobbit, starts out as a classic #2.
What do you think?