Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Can't We All Just Try to Be Nice?

November 7, 2012

This election season, all the negativity being spouted on Facebook was really getting me down.  As an educator, I don't really feel it's my place to throw all of my opinions out there in the public view, so I really try to refrain from getting involved in any of the discussion threads on the candidates and the issues.  Seeing several people I know and love and respect making derogatory comments and sweeping generalizations about people whose views differed from their own finally prompted me to make my own political stance clear. 

My first post was the day before the election:

Here's my political post: Educate yourself before you go to the polls tomorrow. Don't rely on what someone else has told you about the propositions; go read the texts yourself--the ACTUAL ones, not someone's summary. Don't let someone else make up your mind as to what the 'right' choice is. Read it, think about it, and then vote your conscience and your heart. Your vote is your choice and your right, but goodness gracious, some folks play far too casually with the he-said she-said of political advertisements. (He-said she-said is even worse with the Presidential and Congressional candidates, but sifting through and trying to find objectivity there is especially tricky, at best. My advice there? Try to remember that nothing is quite as black and white as most folks would like it to be. We tend to merely find what we're looking for.) I'm not looking for a debate or affirmation, name-calling or negativity, and it's not my business who or what you vote for. Just vote with care and do the work and reading that it takes to be informed, rather than a mere follower.

My second post was on election night, as the results were being reported and I watched my newsfeed fill up with reactions to the various races and issues we went to the polls to decide.

My friends are my friends because they are caring, intelligent, giving, loving, and interesting people, NOT because they agree with me on all the issues. As it turns out, some of those folks are Republicans, some of them are Democrats, and some of them are Independents. Some of them are Christian, some of them are atheists. Some of them are gay, and some of them are straight. Some of them are business owners, some of them are teachers, some of them are stay-at-home moms, some of them are out of work. Some are tall, some are short, some like chocolate, some can't stand it....on and on and on. My friends aren't my friends because they're ME. I liked them before they voted, and I like them after they voted (and even if they didn't vote at all), because my relationships with my friends aren't predicated on whether or not they voted just like me, and I don't suddenly think my friends are 'idiots' because they have a different viewpoint than mine.

Here's to hoping we can move away from the polarization that has kept us from moving forward.  We're all in this together, folks--perhaps we should begin acting like it.

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