If you’re a member of one of my Facebook groups, a fan of my writing, or someone I know personally, you already know I avoid talking politics like the plague. Not because I don’t have political opinions… but because there simply doesn’t seem to be anyone left who wishes to discuss ideas. I truly believe that people of good conscience *can* have opposing views they hold dearly – views based on their sincere vision for what it takes to make the world a better place. I also know that there are many people in this world who lack a sense of charity and morality in their heart of hearts, and sadly, many of those people are the loudest voices today in politics. Many hold themselves out to be virtuous while gleefully labeling those who disagree with them as less than human, or worse. We, as a society, have become increasingly complicit in perpetuating the bloodsport that politics has become, we are worse off for it, and I simply see no benefit in contributing to the noise.
That said: I will vote Tuesday. You should, too. I will not use my platform to tell you who to vote for… but I will use it to ask something else of you, because it is not what happens Tuesday that worries me. It’s what happens Wednesday.
So, here’s my humble request: if you win, win with humility… and if you lose, lose with grace.
We have to get back to talking about ideas. We absolutely must stop the partisan war that is threatening to tear our country and our world apart. Don’t we all want the same things? A secure future for our families? A safer world? A healthier world? A kinder world?
Yes, there are those who enjoy the bloodsport, those who are filled with hate, those who would call you names and mock you for what you believe. Ignore these noisemakers! Do not engage them. Don’t even bother to argue with them. I promise, your vitriolic post is not going to make them see the error of their ways, and for every person out there who “likes” your frothing retort on social media, there is another person who will silently steel themselves in opposition to your ideas, and you will have won nothing.
I don’t care which party you support. I don’t care which party you hate. I *do* care what ideas you stand for. What are they? I don’t care who or what you are against… what are you for? And why? And why should I join you? It’s time we put a premium on conversation again. It’s time to summarily ignore the hatemongerers. It’s time to seek out those who truly wish to engage. Talk about what you think, why you think it, and how you can work with your friends and neighbors – even those who disagree with you – to make the world a better place. And – I know this sounds crazy – listen to their ideas, too. Do you believe every single thing you once believed? No, of course not. At some point, someone came along with a better idea, and you learned something. Are you done learning? Do you now know all the things about all the things? I sure as hell don’t. I’m still learning, every day. Or at least I’m trying to.
No matter what happens Tuesday, it’s time to elevate the conversation in America. Our democracy cannot survive much more of the hatred and division being foisted on us by TV talking heads and ratings-seeking sociopaths. We have to reject that crap.
Please, exercise your responsibility to vote. Speak your mind. Use your voice. Support those things that matter to you. But before you click “send” on that rage-post on Facebook Wednesday morning, please remember this: you can’t fix a heart with a hammer.
P.S. If you’re prepping a reply to straighten me out about whose fault it is that we are in this mess, you completely missed the point.