Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Thoughts On the Campaign

For the past month or so, I have been ruminating over the campaign vitriol. The thoughts keep going 'round and 'round, and when they do, I know it's time to get them out. So, while this blog is usually about running in some way, it's also about me and my life, and so here it is...

I'm sad.

I have read the posts and tweets of both Republican and Democratic Facebook friends over the past months with a growing sense of unease. Each side fights with the desperation of stray dogs attacking a grimy bone in a back-alley dumpster. The growling, snarking, and biting has gotten to be too much for me to bear. It breaks my heart. I don't want this in my life anymore.

I'm sad that "Hope and Change" turned into something else. I wanted it to work out, I really did. Frankly, what choice did I have? Even though Obama was not my candidate of choice, I was proud that our country had elected an African-American president. I hoped he would bring our country together. But I haven't seen this happen, and I grieve for America. Our country is more polarized now than right before the Civil War, in my opinion. I have seen civility fall by the wayside when discussing issues on social media. The bitterness and hate with which people speak make me heartsick.

When people post things like, "Thank God Jesus wasn't a conservative Republican," I despair. I feel like a little compassion and kindness have been sucked out of the world. I'm bleak inside. Is this really what we have stooped to now, daring to label Jesus as belonging to one party or the other? The Love that died for us ALL?  Is this what the campaign has done -- driven us against each other in the most fundamental of ways? What has happened to loving each other as ourselves? The greatest of these is love?

I read an article today that claimed if Obama is defeated, there will be riots all over the country. Really? Am I that naive?? It listed things we need to stockpile, including guns. Is this what our country has come to? That we can't have an election without people threatening each other -- or even worse -- killing each other?? I see and feel the hatred and bitterness every day on Facebook and Twitter, and I've got the feeling "someone"  is eating it up, and it ain't Jesus, friends.

When this election is over, one side will be victorious and the other defeated, but what we will be left with -- in the end -- is each other. If we are viewing someone as an "enemy" during the campaign just because of their political affiliation, once the election is over, how will we go back to being friends? How will we once again treat each other with respect and dignity? I have tried very hard to separate politics from my social media friendships -- I don't consider anyone "bad" because they belong to the "other" party. But I have been attacked numerous times, had my character questioned, was threatened with ending a friendship, have been called numerous names...and I try to forgive, but I will say, it is  hard to forget. I struggle with this. What drew us into the friendship in the first place? We saw something good in a person...and we built upon that...but what has happened now? I am the same person I was before the campaign, and so are you, and can't we remember that above all else?

Lest you think I have climbed on my high horse with my bayonet pointed at the other side, I have made posts about candidates or parties that in, retrospect, I'm not proud of, either. I went back shortly after posting and deleted some of them. Some things were unfair (based solely on opinions), and others -- while factworthy -- caused so much strife it wasn't worth it to me.

Which has had me thinking....

About a month or so ago, I made the decision that I would only post those statements based in fact. But today, I have decided:  I am not going to post any more political statuses, nor reply to any.  I know it's late in the game to come to this realization, but I subscribe to the "better late than never" maxim.  I try hard (not always succeeding, I confess) to live my life based on my beliefs, both religious and personal (to me they're the same), and one of the reasons I started up my blog and Facebook page was to try to be a light in the darkness of negativity out there. These political games play into negative forces, in my opinion, and I don't want to be contributing to anything like that. I hear the Godvoice telling me to stop, to leave all this political posting, and get out of it. I have to listen.

As we have said to each other on many occasions, we have our minds made up most of the time and we aren't going to change each others'. AND if you are still undecided at this late date, you should have a lot more on your mind to figure out than to read my posts.

I'm still sad. I think social media could be a wonderful forum to exchange ideas and opinions in a civil way. I love learning new concepts and broadening my finite brain. I love to hear WHY people have the opinions, likes and dislikes that they have. I love the repartee when spirited debates are rolling quickly and each side is on its toes, flinging facts at each other. That is fun. That is educational. That enlightens me. That is hope, to me, that we can hold different positions but still respect each other and in the end, deepen our friendship from a place that we couldn't have otherwise.

Since that's not happening, I am bowing out. 



9 comments:

  1. All I can say my dear Patsy is AMEN!!!!!!!

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  2. I give you a smile and a hug.

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  3. What a wonderful insight into a depressing situation. We need to build each other up not tear each other down. Thank you for the blog.

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  4. What a wonderful insight into a depressing situation. We need to build each other up not tear each other down. Thank you for the blog.

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  5. It has been pretty depressing. But I'm going to remember that most people have good hearts and they get lost in the moment and behind the keyboard...

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  6. someone posted this today and it made me giggle: let me change my political views because of something you posted on Facebook...said no one EVER!

    There are so many passionate posts about politics that I do think they forget feelings. Everyone has an opinion and usually there is a personal reason for the feelings. I stay far away from it. I know no one can change my view any more than my posting of facebook will change theirs.

    I wouldn't take it personally and think that you probably are taking the best approach...negativity is not worth the energy that it saps from you!!

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  7. That's so very true. The negativity has overwhelmed me and was changing how I viewed some people, and I don't want that. It's not worth it to me.

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  8. I am not so sure that we are more polarized now than ever before. All the major wars brought about some pretty strong civil unrest, but we just didn't see it immediately in our living rooms until Viet Nam. I think politics is, almost exclusively, an effort in self-interest hidden under the title "public service." The difference now perhaps is that we are so much more closely connected through personal media. We have a national water cooler that people use to bitch and moan, and we somehow assume that we are more informed simply because we type our mistaken assumptions into a computer rather than yelling them over the back yard fence. I simply could not watch the debates. Why would I? Just like in the Carter days you can look around and see that the country is heading in the wrong direction. Why not give the next stuffed shirt a chance? But no, we have our party affiliations and our self-flattering personal assumptions that "we" are right and "they" are wrong. The cycle continues. I don't think I have ever posted a political comment that was not in reply to someones else's (to me) goofy opinion. I probably will not post anything else politically related. Why bother? The cartoons are on anyway.

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  9. You've given me something to think about. Since I am so immersed in social media, perhaps I just hear the "worst of the worst" and that leads me to think that we're polarized. I'm concerned about that there's so much emphasis on class and race instead of being Americans who are united. And I wish there were some way to break the cycle. These are the best choices in the entire country? It shouldn't be about who has the most money to campaign -- it should be about who is the best person for the job. Ugh.

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