One of the things I like to tell young people getting out of school and looking for jobs is not to fill their Facebook pages and other online get-to-know-how-awesome-I-am sites with things they wouldn’t want potential employers to see.

I know the first thing we potential employers do when a résumé comes in is head over to Facebook to check that person out. You want to get a gander and see if the would-be employee has pictures of himself smoking dope and beer bonging on his page or perhaps photos of herself in a thong contest. Not saying that thong contest photos are an automatic disqualifier, but they might suggest issues that may not be appropriate for certain professions.

So I’d tell those looking to enter the workforce to get rid of [email protected] as the email of choice and opt for the less provocative [email protected] Frankly, when someone sends a résumé from an email that suggests illegal activity, or applies for a job before dumping the Facebook photos from their latest night at the strip club, it’s not so much a judgment about what they’re doing as it is an overall feeling the person may be brain damaged that moves them into the “unhireable” pile.

There’s no doubt social media is a danger when you’re looking for a job. So many of us these days can’t stand the idea of everyone else not knowing what we ate for lunch, our thoughts on Miley Cyrus twerking or what cute thing our dog just did. But those little snapshots and half-formed thoughts can give people the wrong impression.

In Alabama, it now appears “Facestalking” even plays a role in whether someone can run for office on the Republican Party ticket. A couple of weeks ago the Baldwin County Republican Party managed to use Facebook posts as a reason to disqualify a local attorney from running for judge in he GOP primary. That’s right, they Facestalked her right off the ballot.

Attorney Ginger Poynter was bounced from running as a Republican in this year’s race for District Court in Baldwin County after the county’s party leaders peeled through her Facebook posts and found several things they felt proved she wasn’t Republican enough. These included posts in which she declared that Mitt Romney was not the country’s savior and lauded Texas Gov. Rick Perry for backing marijuana decriminalization, as well as several others supporting Bob Vance for Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice over Roy Moore. It was this last one that really seemed to seal the deal for the BaCo GOPers.

“Enclosed you will find copies of Facebook postings and a copy showing she contributed to a Democrat in the 2012 election. This evidence should be enough to deny her access to our primary,” John Stetzinger, vice chair of the Baldwin County Republican Party wrote to the state GOP office.

Maybe it is their right to determine who is or isn’t a Republican, but it all seems pretty Orwellian to me.

In the spirit of total disclosure, I know Ginger Poynter. She is the attorney who had the guts to help this newspaper fight to obtain public records illegally being withheld by the city of Mobile and the Mobile Police Department last year. She is someone who has demonstrated to me that she really cares about the law, truth and the people’s right to know — exactly the kinds of qualities we would want in a judge. But she didn’t ask me to write this, doesn’t know I’m writing it and I’d feel the same even if I didn’t think she has exactly the kind of mind and personality that would make her a great judge.

The Baldwin GOP heads have taken a half-witted approach to running their own primary by kicking her out because her posts weren’t conservative enough for their liking. In defending herself against her own Facebook posts, Poynter claimed years of voting for Republicans, working to get Republicans elected and involvement in conservative law groups. She also explained how she initially supported Moore’s efforts to keep the Ten Commandments monument in the courthouse, but felt he violated the law when he was ordered to remove them and wouldn’t. Simply put, she felt even if he disagreed with the law he should have followed it. What a crazy liberal she must be!

So now someone who has self-identified as a conservative and Republican her whole adult life can’t run for judge in Baldwin County as a Republican because small-minded people skulked through her Facebook page and found out she has brains enough not to just mindlessly vote for anyone stamped with the GOP label.

Something about this just strikes me as being so wrong. It happened in Mobile County as well when Matt Tew was booted off the ballot for sheriff because he’d run as a Democrat before. While the party chiefs claim they are just trying to protect the purity of their primaries, from my view it looks like all they’re doing is protecting incumbents and dumping on the democratic (small “d” guys, calm down!) process.

In areas as overwhelmingly Republican as Mobile and Baldwin counties, appearing in those primaries is probably an advantage, especially against a Republican incumbent. Kicking people off the ballot because their Facebook posts weren’t written by John Birch is petty politics at its worst.

Republicans always talk about believing in the law and the individual, but in these cases they are using the nanny-state intrusions they routinely accuse Democrats of to beat down would-be candidates. One would hope Republican leaders in Mobile and Baldwin think their voters are smart enough to figure out if Ginger Poynter or Matt Tew represent their views.

If Republican leaders at the county and state level just want blockheads who march lockstep with the party line no matter what, they’re only undermining everything they claim to stand for and lending credence to those who say the GOP is the “small tent” party.

It doesn’t seem very “American” to boot someone out of your primary because she doesn’t support one of the most polarizing characters in politics today, or because he was once a Democrat. Plenty of Republicans don’t support Roy Moore and certainly this state is filled with Democrats turned Republican.

One local Republican leader said this type of action is necessary to protect their dominance in statewide politics, but it seems the surest way to destroy their own majority is for Republicans to become the kind of party in which even Facebook posts must toe the line.