We are about a week away from election day. Early voting has started and I hope to vote tomorrow before work. I think I am not alone in being happy that this election season is almost done. Unfortunately, I think the division and anger we have seen will continue on. Many people blame the candidates. I agree that this election is the epitome of the lesser of two evils and we all know the lesser of two evils is still evil.. I disagree that the candidates are the only problem. We are all part of the problem.
There is no such things as civil discourse in regards to politics these days. I scan Facebook and I see posts calling people idiots, morons or worse because they plan to vote for the “wrong” candidate. I’ve been called stupid for saying I would be OK with refugees in my town. It was also implied that they hoped refugees raped and murdered my daughter so I would see how stupid I am.This is Facebook. These are people we know in real life in some form.. We are calling family, friends, classmates and coworkers these things. Then there’s this photo from Adam Goldberg where someone tells him they will “save him a seat in the oven” because as bad as we are when speaking to people we know, we are much worse on Twitter talking to strangers. People are threatened, reporter’s families are stalked, revolution is threatened. We’ve all gone crazy.
There was a time when we were able to disagree politically and still be friends We might disagree on the issues, bur we got past it and moved on. We learned to just avoid the topic. We didn’t insult each other. We didn’t threaten each other. We didn’t end friendships or refuse to talk to family members because they voted for the “wrong” candidate. Actually, as I typed that last part, I started thinking that maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I just didn’t notice it because it wasn’t plastered all over Facebook. Maybe I was just naive before and people really did hate each other because of their politics.I hope not.
So, how do we stop being part of the problem? The obvious: stop calling people idiots and morons if they don’t agree with you. Maybe actually have a civil discussion with them about the candidates where you each calmly state why you are supporting your candidate. Another one that should be easy for rational people: don’t threaten people, don’t wish them dead or raped, don’t tell Jewish people you are saving them a spot in the oven. Seems easy, but some people obviously have trouble with it. For the keyboard warrior out there: stop and think about the fact that these are real people on the other side of the Twitter feed. If you realize this and still want them dead – seek therapy and medication. Also, vet your news sources. A lot of the more extreme rhetoric I see is accompanied by news sources that are skewed extremely left or right. Before getting angry and sharing that article so some research. A lot of what is making us angry is not even true. Before discussing politics in person or online take a deep breath and think before you post/speak or, perhaps, just don’t.