Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Many Faces of Ugly

From Cafe Press
Okay, I've commented a few times on how ugly the Presidential race is this year, but here I go again because it's really starting to just piss me off.  A major political race is never an exercise in extreme politeness, there is too much at stake, and people are too strongly opinionated (and by people, I include myself) to be completely gentile when debating the topic.  This is likely why the mantra in the past was always, "Never discuss religion or politics."  But, I love a good political debate, and I'm not opposed to a spirited religious one (pun intended), so I've spent my entire life avoiding that good advice.  Nonetheless, all of that was before social media where I went crazy for a while, liberally sharing my opinions (again, pun intended) until enough friends starting posting general "enough is enough" messages on Facebook designed to catch the attention of both extremes.  Then I took a step back and considered it and decided they were right.  As I've told you before, I am proud of the fact that I have friends who cross the aisle politically.  Some are lifelong social conservatives.  Some are so far to the left, they are off the chart.  Most of them are somewhere in the middle, making their decisions on whom to vote for with each election depending upon what seems like the best choice for them at the time.  Ideally, that's how you should do it.  I respect that, even though that's not how I am wired.

I tend to be a loyalist and once I fall in love with a candidate, I am all in and tend toward blind loyalty.  However, this go round, the concepts of loyalty and measured choice intersect for me and the decision is simple for me personally, coming down to this:  once upon a time I could not get insurance for Marissa because she was deemed to have a "pre-existing" condition.  Now she has insurance.  My candidate bought and paid for my loyalty right there. Anything else he does, like order the strike that killed Osama Bin Laden and saving the auto industry, is mere icing on the cake.  If that upsets you, then stop reading right here and now.  That's my choice.  You make yours.  If your reasons are in any way more thought-provoking than, "I'm not voting for the black guy", I will respect your right to make it even if I disagree with it.  If it is "I'm not voting for the black guy", then just stop reading right here and now.

Maybe because we live in the age of social media where it is all too easy to spout off whatever pops into your head, no matter how ill-considered it is (don't I know it - having done it on more than one occasion), or because The Other Guy's party has some celebrity talking heads like Rush Limbaugh who think spewing hate-speak is cool, so others think it must be okay too, or because we're just all becoming mean and jaded as a society, but this race is exhausting, ugly and hurtful.  Enough is indeed enough.  When exactly did it become okay to tell me I'm stupid because I am going to vote for a particular candidate?  Seriously.  When did it?  I somehow missed the memo.  Or maybe I'm just too stupid to read it.

What has me so worked up?  The photo of someone's yard sign making its way around Facebook from the Tea Party, "Stop Drinking Obamas Koolaid Its Making You Really Stupid", which was shared by a fairly close friend of mine this morning.    Really?

Now before you get all bent out of shape, I know that it wasn't directed at me.  I know that she's conservative and for The Other Guy and just thought it was funny, so she liked it and it showed up on her wall.  I know that I go on and on about free speech and exercise it liberally here and in other media.      I know that not everyone always agrees with everything I say.  I also will tell you, in the interest of full disclosure, that we have a little magnet that we've had for years that is not very flattering to the younger President Bush.  It resides with all my other little joke magnets on a metal cabinet in my laundry room.  But perhaps I ought to be ashamed of that.  Maybe it's time to step back and ask ourselves exactly what it is we're doing because I think we've taken it too far.  Somehow we've jumped a pretty big shark here, people.  We are the United States of America.  That doesn't mean we have to all agree, but we all love our country.  All of us.  Me too - even when I'm voting for the black guy.  I am sick and tired of being disparaged for it.  Somewhere out there are good people who feel the same way about planning on casting their vote for Romney.  I want to put up my yard sign and not worry that it's going to get damaged, stolen or invite vandalism to my property.  We couldn't put any up four years ago for that fear.  That seems ridiculous, doesn't it?  But it's true.  I got heckled as I drove around my neighborhood in Texas for my Obama bumper sticker.  Is that why our ancestors (well, your ancestors - who knows who my ancestors actually even are) fought and maybe died in a bloody revolution?  So that we're afraid to put up yard signs because some narrow minded bigot is going to vandalize our stuff?  I shouldn't have to worry about it.  Romney supporters shouldn't either.  Let's debate the issues.  Let's not belittle the process by calling one another stupid.

You know what?  That's just stupid.

1 comment:

  1. I think that's just stupid, too. It should never be about these dumb little games and insults, yet so often that's what it boils down to and that's depressing.