Christopher Famous

Debating policy via social media

  • Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him at WhatsApp on 599-0901 or e-mail at cfamous@plp.bm

ca•thar•sis

noun

1. the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions

Catharsis, yet another big word that some people use at will. Today, let’s take a look at what this term means on a day-to-day basis.

Social media is used for a wide range of issues. Things such as photographs of cats, dogs, family members and favourite sports teams. The list goes on.

Added to those non-confrontational issues, many people tend to use social media to facilitate social and political debate.

Oh, also to find out the identity of those who support Somerset in Cup Match. In essence, what one posts depends on one’s personality or personalities. All of us are unique.

As a Member of Parliament, it is important to not just be a bystander and watch the mood of the people; one must be willing to put themselves on the front lines to engage the public on the issues that affect them daily.

Often, these topics are initially uncomfortable and evoke wide-ranging emotions, generating opinions both for and against any given issue.

Today, it could be same-sex marriage.

Tomorrow, it could be immigration.

The next day, it could be food prices.

These are just some prime examples of the issues that we, as a country, as a region, must contend with to use to shape policy, legislation, daily standards and expectations to move our respective societies forward. Many people, too many people, across the world, tend to shy away from the difficult conversations.

Whether it be online, in life, around the water coolers, at family dinners, in the boardrooms, in the locker rooms and, yes, even in parliaments across the world.

To each their own, correct?

For many politicians around the world, they like to play it safe and never speak publicly on what could be deemed as “controversial” issues for fear of losing votes or their seat.

Then there are those who are not elected, who tend to dive into those murky waters of social catharsis.

Some just blurt out their own opinions, while others do their research and post factual arguments.

The latter form of conversation tends to be highly invigorating and informative. Whether people know it or not, many government policies over the decades have been borne out of the catharsis of hundreds of conversations. Many of these conversations now have their genesis via social-media debates.

I view it as the people who elected us, those depending on us to stand up for them. They are the ones facing different crossroads on a daily basis. They want and deserve to hear how we feel on important topics.

So it is important that their representatives engage in online conversation to not just hear other people’s views, but, as importantly, to put forth suggestions and introduce the merits of different policies and legislation or proposed amendments to legislation.

Essentially, they did not vote for people to be mute. In closing, even in disagreements, people tend to respect that a person is strong enough in their convictions to speak up publicly on any given topic.

No one is going to ever agree with someone else all the time. More often than not, we will have avid debate, discussions and, yes, disagreements.

However, you will not ever say that we will hide from these tough conversations. To those who always actively debate, we thank you for sharing your well-thought-out ideas and opinions. The catharsis truly helps us to mature as a country and as a region. Love always.

Yes, even Somerset supporters.

Christopher Famous is the MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). Contact him at WhatsApp on 599-0901 or e-mail at cfamous@plp.bm