Okay, let’s take a time out for a second. This was the strangest election we’ve ever seen. After all, these are strange times. Now, I could give you a run-down of the facts and figures. I could put down a pretty good argument with my viewpoint for your pleasure or discomfort. Frankly, nobody cares what I think. I’m aware. I won’t be sparking a debate by telling you who I voted for, today. If I did that, you might not read what comes next. Yes, some people are that closed-minded. You know the people I’m talking about. You’ve met them.
I will say that I didn’t vote for my first choice. I had a hard decision to make. Frankly, I don’t think there’s one single candidate that I agreed with 100%, ever. Not for any office or election. Even in the primaries where my choices were much more variable, none of them had everything I was looking for in a president. Think about your best friend. Do you agree with them on absolutely everything? I would guess not. I’m sure they agree with you on the big things. Maybe that’s why you’re friends. But, on little stuff? Do you have the same favorite food? Are you looking for the same kind of man? I hope not. If you did agree on everything, you’d end up with the very same man. That’s not very good for a friendship, is it?
So, okay, can we stop making agreeing on everything a condition of friendship? My Facebook page is littered with statements such as the following…
“If you voted for [Insert candidate name here}, unfriend me now. We can’t be friends.”
Really? If you’re truly my friend, we’ve probably talked politics before. We probably had a healthy debate. We’re still friends. I like you anyway, and you still are fond of me. There’s so much more to me than my politics, and I feel the same way about you. So, why now does this election matter so much? I can be friends with you if you didn’t vote the same as I did. I can’t be friends with you if we can’t have a conversation. A conversation is an exchange of ideas, opinions and a few select facts. It is not a dictation. It is not a demand. It is not an ultimatum. Don’t make one of me, and I won’t make one of you.
Okay, I get it. America has changed. Americans are angry. We all have darn good reasons to be angry. However, there is a proper way to deal with anger. Then, there’s an improper way. Just turn on your news for examples.
- A woman curled up in a ball on a floor in the fetal position at the possibility of her candidate losing. I wouldn’t do that in the privacy of my own home, and I certainly wouldn’t do that in public.
- People protesting in the streets because their candidate didn’t win. I mean… Have we seen that, ever? Now, we have. Are they protesting the other officials elected on Tuesday on the local and state levels? No. They’re protesting against one part of the checks and balances system forgetting about everything else that is equally important.
- Protesters in the streets are getting violent and beating up people for disagreeing politically. Then, they rifle through belongings in their car and steal their stuff! Are you kidding me?!
- Angry mobs are trashing entire city blocks. Are they trying to get heard? I have news for you. They’re not really saying anything. The very neighborhoods they’re trashing are on the side of the rioters politically. They didn’t vote for Trump. Who do they think they’re punishing? It’s violence for the sake of violence as far as I’m concerned. Or, maybe they’re really more angry at their like-minded fellow citizens that didn’t show up at the polls.
- People are calling each other names and treating others in a petty manner to try to get their way. This isn’t accomplishing anything except drawing more ire.
- People aren’t talking to each other. They’re talking over one another. Every single one of you had a teacher at one point that has said, “If you’re talking, you’re not listening.” It’s true. Studies have shown that multitasking is an illusion. Technically, the brain is not capable of doing two or more things at once. The brain switches on and off, but never does both tasks at once. Therefore, neither task is accomplished with any efficiency or accuracy. That’s why we can’t text and drive. Can we please stop talking (no… yelling.) over one another? We’re getting nowhere, here, and we’re not convincing anyone of our viewpoints. Nobody is listening.
So, we’re all totally disrespecting each other. Let’s stop doing that, shall we? Sure, let’s open up a dialog. Let’s talk. But, please, can we all give each other some respect? You’re not my friend or ally if you steamroll all over my words. Sorry, but that’s what we’re doing to each other. Just… Stop! The person you’re talking to is a human being. They are a grown person (usually) with their own right to free thought, speech, etc, etc, etc.
For that matter, when any friend of mine has a conversation with me, it’s an actual conversation. That means we have a certain back and forth of ideas. I talk, they talk. They get a turn again, and so on. Right now, Americans aren’t observing this etiquette. If you don’t have enough respect for me to hear my words, I don’t need you talking to me at all. I will not be dictated to.
I didn’t want to mention the hypocrisy of it all. While one side is screaming racism and wanting peace from one side of their mouths, they’re spewing hatred out of the other. But, there it is, and here’s where I take a step back.
Both sides are guilty of some pretty hateful words throughout this whole saga that will go down in the history books. I sat back through the whole thing and rarely gave my opinion in any venue. My Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram followers don’t know how I voted. Few people do. My husband, child, and parents know. It’s nobody else’s business. It’s a secret ballot for a reason. If I told you who I voted for, it means I trust you. I told one other person other than family. I trust more folks than that, but the subject just hasn’t come up, and I don’t talk politics often. Politics don’t always make for polite conversation. The one person I told was floored.
They asked me what I thought I was teaching my kids by voting the way I did. I’ll tell you what I attempted to tell them. Life is hard, and it’s full of tough choices. One way or the other, I would have to compromise my values with my vote. I had to decide what was most important to me and my family. Both of the major candidates have a history of being disrespectful to their fellow man. Both have questionable histories. Both have skeletons in their closets. It’s just that for me, one closet was overflowing. I weighed the sins of each candidate and decided that there are some sins I can’t live with. Not only that, some sins this country can’t afford to live with. I didn’t just vote for what I didn’t like about my candidate’s opponent. I chose to look at the true issues at hand that affect our country and the rest of the world. I didn’t get one small part of the big picture get in the way of all of the positive things that could be. I’m tired of negativity. I’d rather affect positive change. That’s what I told my son.
By the way, you don’t get to tell me what I’m thinking or feeling, either. Don’t tell me that by voting for a candidate, I’m in support of some of their more questionable behavior. More than likely, we don’t have a psychic connection, so you probably shouldn’t assume anything that might be going through my mind. Just because a minor issue to me isn’t high on my list of priorities doesn’t mean it’s not a priority at all. It just means I want to help fix what I can right now. The rest can be tackled later when the dust clears. If my house was flooded by a raging river, I’m not going to paint my walls before replacing the drywall. I’m going to replace the wall and insulation first. I’ll do all of that AFTER the flood waters go down.
According to my friend, I’ve given up on my values. I haven’t, I can assure you. I had a tough choice to make. It was an ugly choice. I hated that I had to make it. I didn’t take my responsibility lightly. Any friend of mine would know I don’t make rash or uneducated decisions. Any friend of mine respects my opinion even if it differs from theirs.
The fact is, I made the mistake of talking politics with someone who doesn’t really know me very well. I rarely do that, and I probably should have changed the subject. It was an error in judgement on my part, but that’s okay. We learn our best lessons in our mistakes. It made me look at the world around us and realize more than ever that this country needs more change than the decor in the oval office. We have a lot to work on. America needs to heal.
We’ll get nothing done in this country if we don’t start trusting each other with respect, manners, and doing what’s right… such as respecting laws that have been in existence since before our constitution was even written. Looting stores and beating people up will get you nowhere and influences nobody. Treating your friends like nobodies will leave you with no friends. Asking for respect… No… demanding respect isn’t going to happen when you don’t treat others as you would want to be treated.
My friend was right about one thing. Our children are watching us. My son stood by me as I made my choice. He often sits behind me as I watch the news. He sees the violence. He sees how the pundits disrespect each other as they discuss the issues for each side on TV. He’s often in the room when my husband and I discuss the events of the day. He sees it all.
So, you see? America needs to grow up. We need to learn some manners and treat each other with higher esteem. Period. What’s wrong with these people? Be the change you want to see in this world. You can’t force it on anyone else. YOU do what you think is right. Just leave me out of it and let me live my life in peace. And, if the way I voted is going to affect our friendship, I’ll show you the door. Nobody needs friends like that. That’s the same kind of thing as not liking someone because of what time they put their kids to bed. Yeah, I didn’t need those friends either. I hope the door didn’t hit them on the back swing. I wouldn’t know. I didn’t look back.