To Everyone I Know During This Election

by Ginger on August 30, 2012

in Becoming Myself

Dear Friends, Family, Co-workers, and Anyone Else I Know;

As we all know, there is a rather major election happening this year. I know, no matter how loud or quiet you are, you probably (definitely) have opinions. You probably lean more toward one political party than the other, more toward one candidate than the other, more toward one side than the other, just as I do. You have strongly held beliefs about certain issues, just as I do. One of the great things about living in this country is our ability–and right–to hold and VOTE our political conscience, for the things and people we believe in.

That being said.

As the election gets nearer, and the tempers get shorter, and the mud gets fling-ier, I want you to remember some things, please:

When you post on Facebook that someone is “Too stupid to breathe…” if they vote for X candidate–you could be talking about me.

When you write in your email that someone who votes for Y candidate is “UnAmerican”you could be talking about me.

When you say that someone who believes that Z candidate has better policies should “be taken out back and shot”you could be talking about me.

When you say that you hope everyone who votes for XYZ candidate “is rounded up” before the election–you could be talking about ME.

When you say/post/share ugly words, thoughts or pictures about people on the other side to support your political position–you could be talking about ME.

About ME, or someone like me that you know. Not just a random “them.” But someone you like, or love. Someone you may have known your whole life. Someone you may think is intelligent, articulate, well-spoken. Someone you may think is caring, kind, giving.

There is a PERSON behind the things you are saying. When you say that all liberals, or all conservatives…when you say that all Democrats or all Republicans…when you say that ALL of any group is/says/does/thinks/behaves/believes/hates/loves/etc., you are saying that about real people.  Honest to goodness, flesh and blood people. Not just ideologies. Not just platforms. Not just issues. Not just politicians. Your friends. Your family. Your neighbors. Your coworkers.

Please, by all means, believe what you believe. Vote the way you want to vote. Engage in civil discussion about issues and platforms, if you want to. Advocate strongly for why you think what you think. Use reason to explain your position. These things? These make us better citizens, make us a better part of the political process. But when you start throwing those ugly words out, when you start sharing those ugly graphics, and those hateful quotes, and you point your finger at “THOSE PEOPLE” just remember…you could be talking about me. Someone you know. Someone you call friend, family, coworker.

And maybe that doesn’t matter to you. Maybe it doesn’t matter that you’re saying I’m stupid, unAmerican, deserve to be kicked out of the country, deserve to die, don’t have any compassion, don’t care about my fellow citizens, or am a moron. Maybe it doesn’t bother you because you believe SO strongly that ALL people who believe opposite of you are SO wrong that you’re willing to forget the people behind those beliefs, that they are more than just their political opinions, more than just where they fall on an issue or what candidate they want to vote for.

But to me it does. Because when this political season is over, and the races have been decided, the non-stop political nonsense will die back down to a low boil. But you and I? We’ll still know each other. And I’ll know what you really think…of me.

And how can that not change how I think of you?

Note:Comments have been turned off because there were too many nasty arguments between commenters happening. I want to thank everyone who remained civil, whether you agree or disagree, as you proved that you can still debate and disagree without resorting to name calling.

The Inevitable Follow Up Post

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Jim S. September 2, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Thank you for the reminder that we enjoy freedoms that so many have made & continue to make the ultimate sacrifice so we can continue to enjoy those freedoms that many if not all of us from time to time take for granted. To engage in the kinds of activities outlined in this piece dishonors those sacrifices.

I have my opinions and beliefs but I choose not to tear down others for having different ones. A long time ago I was taught something that has never lost its power to shape lives in a positive way.

While it has a religious origin and some may dismiss it, which is a freedom that is theirs to enjoy, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is still not a bad way to live life. It harms no one and honors those who made those sacrifices I mentioned so we all have the freedom to hold opposing views and beliefs without fear of retribution from which there is no return.

I claim no higher ground or moral superiority, I just prefer civility and to seek common ground.

Robin September 3, 2012 at 5:52 am

Jim, your response is dead-on. It’s sad to see how, in the comments to this brilliant, civility-promoting piece, the conversation quickly took a turn toward the ugly.

Robin September 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Thanks for this, sort of, because now I have to scrap my plans for posting on the same subject on MY blog tomorrow! May I post a link to this on mine? It was perfect.

Iris Dayoub September 3, 2012 at 2:56 am

You do not have to scrap your plans. Just say the same thing in your own words. The more people who get this message the better. Go for it!

Lori September 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Thank you, that is exactly how I feel.

Kate September 2, 2012 at 7:19 pm

I wish I could take a poll of those commenting to this post. Are the majority Republicans or Democrats? The responses, for the most part, are thoughtful, respectful, and genuine. Most are also in agreement with the statement. I will dissent, somewhat, while agreeing with the basic idea that an argument, any argument, should be as respectful as possible and argue the point, not the person. As a HS English teacher, I spent long hours explaining that an argument or persuasion paper should never reduce to name-calling and should focus primarily on the ideas under discussion. If your goal is to change the opinions of the readers, calling them stupid will certainly not open their minds to your point of view. In fact, it will produce the opposite effect and any discussion that follows is probably better-suited to a middle-school playground. However, I have discovered in this highly polarized political playground we find ourselves now, a reasonable, respectful discussion is almost impossible. Please understand that I am not speaking of or to ALL people on the other side. I am aware that there must be many people who disagree with some parts of their own party’s platform, yet feel strongly enough about other parts to vote for that party’s candidates. Yet, when I watch any of the shows on television where political pundits are speaking, one party, in particular, recites the same rhetoric that all the others on the same side rely on, regardless of fact, truth, reason, reality, sense or logic. If you have not figured it out yet, I’m speaking of the candidates and representatives of the Republican Party. It does not matter if I am watching Meet the Press, Face the Nation, the McLaughlin Group, Hardball, or even Bill Maher, they categorically reject any fact that does not support their set of opinions, refuse to respond directly to any statement of fact that supports or defends any of the president’s actions or policies and make claims that are clearly and obviously incorrect to the point of being out and out lies. I know there are moderate Republicans in the population and some remain in congress, although there will be very few returning to Congress in 2013. They can’t get the financial backing the more extreme candidates are getting. Those that remain are staying silent, afraid to disagree with the super conservatives who have, in a sense, hijacked the party. So, if someone posts a question or comment on Facebook that might open up a discussion or dialogue about which presidential candidate would serve us better, it is impossible to have that dialogue because those on the Republican side willing to speak up simply repeat the same rhetoric they heard from their leadership. I realize that when we admire a political leader, we assume they are speaking the truth, but that appears not to be the case these days, especially among the Republican leaders. I know some of you are now saying, but what about the Democrats? They are not without fault or blame, absolutely. There are plenty of Democratic leaders who do their own fair share of lying. But, that may be the biggest difference between Republican and Democratic constituents. We are willing to see some of the problems in our own party and are quite frustrated by some of our leaders. But, when the discussion is about something like global warming, for instance, Republican leaders will not admit that there is such a thing, refuse to accept the huge mounds of scientific fact that support the existence of global warming, and go so far as to accuse the entire scientific community of falsifying data and lying. Paul Ryan, who has had millions in contributions from the Koch Bros., is one of the biggest opponents of global warming or any other environmental issue, claims that the existence of snow is enough to shoot down the facts. He even voted to eliminated the light bulb efficiency standards that have reduced energy waste, saved people money and helped a sagging industry to add jobs rather than close factories. So, those who speak on the political talk shows refuse to address all the studies that say global warming is a fact, not an opinion, by saying that they simply disagree with the findings. They are not scientists and won’t discuss it any further. How do you have a reasonable dialogue with people who refuse to hear the facts, have no evidence on their side, and simply believe their political leaders. The politicians have a reason for disagreeing with the facts. They are getting lots of money from guys like the Koch Bros., who really want the $40 billion in tax credits that are part of Ryan’s proposed 2013 budget resolution. But, when the average Republican voter agrees with him without knowing why, it’s hard not to describe them as lemmings, willingly following the leader into the sea and total self-destruction. And, unfortunately, taking the rest of us with them. Believe me, I’m sorry if that hurts the feelings of my Republican friends, of which I have many. But, what of my feelings? Should I just let it go or should I simply leave out the part that forces them to wonder if they, too, are following without thinking? Jonathan Swift wrote many, many straightforward articles trying to convince his Irish friends to take a stand and boycott English goods, thus forcing the British Gov’t to face up to their abuses of the Irish people. It wasn’t until he wrote a little essay called “A Modest Proposal” before people paid attention to that terrible travesty. I would love to be able to have a reasonable discussion with Republicans, but few have been willing to do anything but call me much worse than a lemming. When one of my close friends has posted a pro-Romney statement, I have sent a private message to share the facts of the claim mentioned. I may do a little begging, but never name-calling and they know that I still respect them and love them, even though I disagree strongly with their political choice. I also always include the source of my facts and claims, as I will here. You may google Paul Ryan’s voting record on environmental issues and read any number of periodicals sharing those facts. So, this is why I have to take some exception to the writer’s call for a kinder, gentler discourse on today’s political differences. I won’t ever call you stupid, but if you appear as though you don’t know the facts yet repeat the incorrect rhetoric of the Republican leadership without questioning it, I may suggest you are ignorant of the facts and suggest some sources for reading. My hope is that you will learn.

donald September 2, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Hey thanks so much for shooting yourself in the foot.I can see that you are probably a socialist democrat,who believes in spreading the wealth around.Which includes reaching into my pocket after I have earned my money;and giving it to someone who won’t or doesn’t want to work.I am glad I am a independent,glad I read the congressional record and also look into how folks voted.I suggest you look into Obama’s record as a senator.Please do not suggest that I am ignorant of facts;because that only shows me how you only want to look a one side of the coin.I worked as a custodian in a school district for 28 years,while I did this, my wife and I raised a daughter.She went to college ;earned two BA degree’s in four years,came home an earned a masters degree in secondary education while working as a 7 & 8th grade teacher.I am very proud of her! I only hope this time she makes a educated choice and does not vote for Barack Hussein Obama.Who is leading this nation to social upheavel and quite possibly a internal war which will tear us apart as a nation.You need to look at the current admin(all of them) and see how they are slowly eroding individual rights.You are the person ,who needs to take stock into actually how the present government is destroyong the American Dream

KH September 3, 2012 at 5:00 am

And Donald, thank YOU for revealing your true colors by including the President’s full name. Unless someone uses it purposefully, most of us do not refer to people by their first, middle and last name. I imagine you don’t refer to Mitt Romney by his full name, do you? So why include Hussein? to imply that he is muslim or otherwise somehow un-American. So, your whole argument based on your personal life and not national policies was moving along fine until you outed yourself as a racist. Congrats. I wish we could have a debate without racebaiting. That’s what I wish.

Scott September 3, 2012 at 9:56 am

So using a person’s full name is racist … I need to call my mom and let her know, I can’t tell you how many times she used my full name when she was mad at me. Racist, racist mom.

Edward September 3, 2012 at 11:25 am

She did NOT say using a person’s full name was racist. You might want to re-read that, or work on your reading comprehension.

Eric Pearson September 3, 2012 at 5:16 am

So you’re an independent and “Barack Hussein Obama” (your hatred is evident), is a socialist who is trying to destroy the American Dream? You have not managed to fool anyone. You’re no independent. You’re a right wing, republican who only thinks he’s informed. You’ve mistaken radical propaganda for news. That’s not being informed. That’s being indoctrinated.
I’m happy for your daughter and your family. You must be very proud of her, but I’m a bit curious. Did you and your daughter pay for every penny of her education, or was there a nickel or two thrown her way by our socialist government? I’m betting on the latter in which case you may just qualify as a hypocrite. I don’t know the facts and I don’t know you, so I could be wrong, and if I am, I apologize. But my years of experience watching American politics makes me feel pretty damn comfortable with my assessment.
There are many, many people out there, people you may know, people who through no fault of their own, actually need government assisstance. It’s barely possible that you’re mistaking won’t work with can’t work. Is this what will “tear us apart”? I think maybe greed and dishonesty will be the culprit, in which case it is YOU who is the villan, not President Obama.

ExJQ September 3, 2012 at 8:09 am

Donald,

If you return all the taxpayer money that were invested into your daughter’s college and her education since kindergarten, and stop using all services funded by taxpayer funds (i.e. highways, airports, rail, ferries, electricy, the internet and, depending on where you live, water and sewer), then I promise I will give your comments some consideration.

kevin September 3, 2012 at 9:57 am

ExJQ,

Don’t you think Donald paid a very large price to have his daughter educated in the public sector, he could’ve put her in a private school and be done paying for it instead of paying property taxes until his death? Wonder what the diffence in total cost would be?

As for the other tax payer funded services I do believe the government has reached well into Donald and ALL Americans pockets for far too much money. Donald and all of we Americans have paid a huge sum for all of these roads, airports, ect.

tessa September 3, 2012 at 10:18 am

None of these are funded by the government. The government creates no wealth. They are managed by the money the government confiscated from the people. YOU DID BUILD THAT.

chucksmom September 3, 2012 at 11:47 am

If your daughter has invested all that time, effort, and money in getting a degree that allows her to teach in public middle schools, she would be a fool to vote for anyone but Obama. And without knowing all the facts, if she received a dime in government money while getting that education, she would be a hypocrite too. Like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who rode the affirmative action horse all the way to the Supreme Court and now wants to shoot it dead, or Dr Ron Paul, who was raised on Social Security and now sees no need for the program, anyone who works in education or used anything but private loans and self-pay to finance his education, would be “ignorant of the facts” to vote for anyone other than our current POTUS.

Kelly J September 3, 2012 at 5:35 am

In high school english, do you teach your students to use paragraphs? It would make your rant so much easier to read….

Educated American September 3, 2012 at 8:09 am

Do you realize that you referred to Bill Maher and Chris Matthews on Hardball as Republicans? But I guess as a conservative I’m just ignoring the fact that they are secretly Republicans. Or maybe I’m ignoring just about every statistic concerning our economy that speaks volumes about this current administration’s economic policies? You claim that Republicans can’t face facts and quite frankly I just find this statement to be factually incorrect. A significant percentage of liberals argue with their emotions and on many occasions turn to attacking conservatives on a personal level (the same can be said for many conservatives but I’ve seen a much greater deal of this from liberals). Emotion should never be involved in a political discussion as this country’s future should be determined by objective talks concerning the economy, followed by social policies because in all honesty the discussion of abortion or gay rights should not determine how you vote. I’d rather live in a country where we all have jobs and can go from there to discuss abortion or gay rights, rather than live in a country with continuing unemployment where these social policies are at the forefront of political discussion.

Sandra Orrick September 3, 2012 at 9:15 am

She does not refer to Maher and Matthews as
Republicans. If Educated American will apply his or her education, he or she will recognize that Kate was referring to guests appearing from time to time on their shows.

Joyce Danglade September 3, 2012 at 8:43 am

Thank you Kate for your serious and direct message. I understand that Romney insists on reviewing any questions before they are asked of him including the debate. Why? Can’t he just answer? I think we need a bit of levity also. I think Moses must have been a Democrat because he saw the burning Bush. lol
Joyce

The Cowboy September 3, 2012 at 10:27 am

Joyce… did a Democrat tell you that? Romney came to my hometown and was asked some tough questions by the press that was there. He respectfully answered them all. I didn’t care for some of the responses but he didn’t dodge the questions. To say that Romney “insists” on reviewing the questions before hand is simply NOT TRUE. It would be helpful to the debate if people would stick to the truth and not spread falsehoods that they happen to hear from someone whoes second cousins step-mother’s uncle thought he heard from the gas station attendants girlfriend.

Sandra Orrick September 3, 2012 at 8:53 am

There are reasons why some people are willing to discuss issues reasonably and to consider opposing viewpoints, and those reasons are informed by values such as tolerance and liberality. Unfortunately, tolerance and liberality often are not valued but instead are mistaken for weakness by those of a more dogmatic persuasion. I believe it is time for clarity and firmness in expressing our opinions based on facts. Narrow minded bigots merely repeating talking points need to be reminded that they are entitled to their own opinions; they are not entitled to their own facts. Reiterating blatant lies does not make them so, even if the speaker is someone we love and otherwise respect.

Shannon September 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Bleh.
This is not the time for nicey-nice “don’t wag your finger at me” kumbaya crap. Our freedoms and liberties are at stake and if don’t realize this, stay home and bake cookies and potty-learn your kids and keep out of grow up conversations.
This isn’t a kindergarten class. This is the real world and it’s not always fair or nice. Get over it.

georgine kratzer September 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm

ditto

Roberta Metalious September 2, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Ditto from me as well!

Jesse September 3, 2012 at 4:59 am

People don’t care what you know until you show that you care. Do you think name calling is going to make somebody listen? Yes debate and argue but the point of this piece is to be sensible about it. Is “too stupid to breathe” a logical reason to not vote for someone? Maybe but I doubt it.

Carol Mason September 2, 2012 at 8:24 pm

I would add only one thing: when you make a blanket statement about any group, e.g. Democrats, Republicans, blacks, whites, etc.,you’re automatically wrong because there is diversity within each group of people.

Kennie September 2, 2012 at 8:36 pm
ExJQ September 3, 2012 at 8:10 am

Wow, the Truth is found on youtube? I’ve been looking in all the wrong places!

Sue September 2, 2012 at 11:30 pm

You are so right!!! I have unfriended my step son and his wife on FB because of all the negative cruel things that he has posted about people who think and believe exactly the way his father and I do. If you wouldn’t say it to a person you are supposed to care about then why would you post it on FB?

jason hanford September 3, 2012 at 12:40 am

So the maker of this site willingly censors what he/she finds finds offensive? Get a job with the nsa. I believe in none of the above gang rhetoric bred by each (gang) or excuse me, partyline. If you are truly american…read and know the constitution.

knoxgrad September 3, 2012 at 6:54 am

I assume that when you speak of “the constitution” here, you are referring to the amendment which guarantees freedom of speech. That amendment says that the GOVERNMENT will not impede one’s freedom of speaking. It does not say that individuals cannot ask and enforce rules about name-calling within their own spaces. If you want a space to call names, start one. Clearly this space is one that Ginger wishes to keep at a certain level of civility, and that is well within her rights.

Read and know the constitution yourself.

seth parker September 3, 2012 at 7:00 am

Freedom of speech protects our right to say what we want. It doesn’t mean we should always say everything we want. With great power comes great responsibility, right? This post is about becoming tempered people of intelligence and understanding; people who don’t resort to violently spouting offensive or violent language without first considering the consequences.

I think things that may be offensive are EXACTLY the sort of things we should reconsider letting leave our mouths. Offensive dialogue only alienates and angers. It doesn’t promote healthy conversation. If the content of a message, any message, is worth listening to, it can transmitted without resorting to bullying tactics.

And for what it’s worth, I think sensationalism and jargon-ism are doing much more damage to this country than any party’s platform. Being passionate about your beliefs is something to be admired, but passion without a strong foundation of thought gets you nowhere.

joseph barlow September 3, 2012 at 12:44 am

Idont need any Democratic or Republican or anyone party or no party to tell me how to VOTE!!!

Liz Koch September 3, 2012 at 12:54 am

I agree with Carol Mason in that every political party has diverse people and opinions within each party. To cover all with the same blanket is a disservice to voters in general. We each have strong feelings and like yourself , many have done extensive research into the background and voting records of the nominees. We are human and want our choice to be the ONE and are so set on that goal only that we tend to overlook what might be in the best interest of the country. So what if Romney is rich, so is obama. So what if Romney was a successful businessman, it proves he has at least a smattering of how to run a company, business or hoipefully country. Vote your choice in November, study the issues, be open to learning something and stop denying others the right to voice their opinions as well. If you cannot have an open,non-violent conversation, simply walk away and learn nothing and impart no knowledge either.

RachelJL September 3, 2012 at 3:04 am

Thanks so much for posting this! I’m surprised people still think that by taking out extreme threats (I’m going to kill you, etc.) that means we’d be playing “nicey-nice.” Do people really think you can change minds, or help explain your viewpoint, by being a jerk? And Karen the teacher: I am a Democrat but I most definitely don’t agree with you. Of course BOTH major parties reuse the same phrases over and over again. Its possible that Republicans are doing it more than Dems right now because they’re desperately trying to get back into office. Does politics require a lot of disagreement? Of course. But WHAT is the point of calling people stupid??? A good portion of my family friends have advanced degrees, went to top tier schools, run companies, etc. And yet, they belong to at least four different political parties. Is this because they’re stupid? No. Do we all take turns being wrong? YES. Is calling someone else names going to help your case? Heck no. Learn to debate without turning into jerks, people. Learn that there are people all over the world who will disagree with you from time to time but who are good, kind people, and give them respect as such. Should we be passionate about our beliefs? Yes. But turn into raging ogres or people who can’t make genuine friends on both sides of the aisle? There really is absolutely no point. It is possible to stand up for what one believes in, passionately, without turning into a jerk.

aosby September 3, 2012 at 7:52 am

Well said Rachel

TomVet September 3, 2012 at 3:48 am

We as a nation are slowly destroying ourselves from the inside. When a Service Connected Combat Veteran can’t afford to pay their mortgage, but a one term Senator or President gets paid their salary for the rest of their lives… something is wrong. When our elected officials can sit on the hill and vote for a pay raise for themselves, then refuse to work for the next six months… something is wrong. When a person who has publicly acknowledged that they don’t believe in the Constitution can be given a life-time job in our highest court that has the sole responsibility to uphold the Constitution… something is wrong. When a person cannot get elected because they don’t belong to a certain political party or organization… something is wrong. When Washington is allowed to be lobbied with money and gifts and not on the merit of a bill… something is wrong. When one bill can be piggy-backed along with another just to get it passed through… something is wrong. When any one personal vote doesn’t count in an election (be it yours or mine)… something is wrong. Until we have accountability from those who are supposed to serve us, and have the ability to fire them for not doing their job… the system is wrong.

michelle September 3, 2012 at 5:09 am

Agreed. Thanks TomVet

trr September 3, 2012 at 7:52 am

YES! And, this goes for both parties. I personally am tired of career politians, ALL career politians.

Xavier BRASSENS September 3, 2012 at 4:13 am

Mike,
Hello from Xavier from France…
How right you are !
We do have the same problem of attitude in France during presidential elections. Although to a lesser extent, inasmuch as campaign budgets are much lower, and it is not possible to “advertise” on TV undecent calomnies about “the opposite camp”. Hope this trend of TV boadcasted insults will not cross the ocean some day…

Elaine September 3, 2012 at 4:42 am

I am happy to see people carry on the political debate here as opposed to FaceBook. I do not believe FaceBook is the appropriate forum for political debate. Why? Because once you post in FB, your friends, whether they agree with you or not, are forced to read your posts. Yes, you can unfriend them or block them I suppose, in some way, but if we’d all just accept the fact that while you can change someone’s mind with your words, as words are more powerful than the gun or sword, you will hardly sway them to your opinion when it comes to politics. Once we accept that, politics will not be a subject anyone will breach on FB, and we will all be happier for it. Peace.

Vicky Smith September 3, 2012 at 5:10 am

You couldn’t have stated the siuation better. I actually have lost friends due to political beliefs. It is a sad situation when we forget that there are real people on the other side receiving the nasty comments. Thanks for your ramblings. I will repost.

zanne September 3, 2012 at 5:55 am

hahahaha….the usa is going to shit…great dedication to arguements on facebook, so where is everyone at the polls! WE THE PEOPLE.. remember.

Linda Gluis September 3, 2012 at 6:27 am

I appreciate your words…have been thinking the same thing…the old saying that when you point a finger at someone, you have three pointing back.

Nicky September 3, 2012 at 6:30 am

“the democrat/republican system and media are propaganda set up so that the country is divided and everyone is warring against each other so very few will realize that the real problem is the government itself and special interest groups that control it.neither party wants to reduce the size of government because then we would not be their slaves anymore.”

Ditto to what Anon. said. This isn’t about party vs. party, it’s about those with the power vs. those without. Those with the power control everything we see, read, do…we are acting exactly how they want us to act.

We’ve watched neighbors helping others during natural disasters, strangers giving aid to other strangers during tragedies, etc. and not once does a person think to ask about party affiliation prior to lending a helping hand to another. We remain at war with one another because we are trained to take sides. It’s the easiest way to control an entire population.

Clint Eastwood was acting a little nutty and off the cuff but he was right to say that WE own this country and THEY (the politicians) simply work for us. How did the direct report become the manager overnight? Some people took offense to his use of “we” but I understood what he was trying to say.

This country is controlled by the minority and we are all puppets. Welcome to the real matrix. :)

Signed,
A Black, female moderate who grew up in “socialist” Europe

Harriss September 3, 2012 at 6:57 am

To those talking about how important this election is etc.. She is not saying to stop debating, only to debate civilly, are you really opposed to that? Why? There is simply no need to say “You’re stupid because you believe X.” It’s not going to get your point across, and it makes YOU look bad.
I would add that perhaps face book isn’t the place for a political debate in the first place, which is what this article really addresses.

Fred September 3, 2012 at 7:06 am

As I read through many of the comments by people who disagree with the original post, I see one thing in common – media. Google this, read this link, listen to this political talk show etc. The internet is not the best source for actual fact. While you can find the truth about nearly any subject on the internet, the majority of what you will find is an individual’s interpretation of the “facts.” I won’t even start in on how anything you hear on a political talk show is biased toward the views of the company that owns the rights to that talk show.

This may sound cold, but look at all the research on cancer. Today’s study reported by the media says this causes cancer. Tomorrow’s study reported by the same media says that same thing protects you from cancer. A stat is a stat, but all stats are up for personal interpretation. Political “fact” is no different. The republicans look at a stat and say it should make us do this and the democrats look at a stat and use that to say it should make us do the opposite.

All I and the person who wrote this article ask is that you do not publicly call me stupid for believing what I believe. I promise I will do the same. Most people who get really fired up about politics obviously will strongly believe one way or the other. For the majority of the country who are in the political middle, we are not posting political things, but we are reading and listening. When you call us dumb for not agreeing with you, it doesn’t make us want to agree with you.

The Cowboy September 3, 2012 at 10:39 am

Well put Fred! Your statement seems to be more clearly “independent” than most I see claiming the same. I claim to be conservative and my writings show that pretty clearly. I also would like to think that I am somewhat open-minded and do not automatically accept something just because “my guy” said it. Best of luck to you sifting through all of the garbage being thrown around during this election cycle.

Joe Eder September 3, 2012 at 7:30 am

It is unfortunate that civil discourse is so rare in politics.

Suzanne Eder September 3, 2012 at 9:07 am

My mother used to say people who used bad language were too ignorant to know a better, more descriptive word. I would amend that to say people who use ugly rhetoric are too ignorant to give a more reasoned explanation.

lisa September 3, 2012 at 9:09 am

You can vote all you want.
But if the guy THEY want in the House isn’t winning,
they’ll make sure THEIR guy will win.
Like the case of BUSH vs GORE.
Get it?
Do you understand who THEY are?
Find out. Try to find out. THEY didn’t care for JFK
either so you know what happened to him . . .
or RFK . . or JFK Jr . . .

d.m.h. September 3, 2012 at 9:12 am

i am a libertarian and after listening and reading to and about people’s opinions i can’t help but imagine that people who enjoy hate and rage really dislike people like i am. i vote on the character of the candidate first and the issues second. issues change constantly but the characteristics that count are the ones we find in character- honesty, courage, integrity, and kindness. i want these in my political leaders and in the few people i discuss them with. i am starting to believe that what people are saying so hatefully is not about the issues, but it is about the anger and contempt for others they feel inside. some people just like hate, they like to spread it around and politics is a good excuse for them. avoid them like the plague. character is what counts in friends, leaders and everyone we spend time with. but it is most important in those that we give power over ourselves and our families.

Tonya September 3, 2012 at 9:24 am

One other thought to throw out there: I think it’s altogether possible for people to do the research and come to different conclusions. Just because I have a different opinion/belief, it’s wrong-headed to assume it’s because I’m ignorant of the facts.

Charlene McClure September 3, 2012 at 9:25 am

Thank you for your wise comments on this years presidential election. If the citizens of the US
would have the courtesy of listening to someone else’s opinion on politics before counter
attacking, both sides would gain more knowledge and understanding as to why a person has
certain thoughts and opinions on particular issues.

???”IF YOU HAVEN’T SELF RESPECT FOR YOURSELF
YOU CANNOT HAVE IT FOR OTHERS????

David Lott September 3, 2012 at 9:26 am

We all practice a visceral rebellion against the right wing caricatures of left wing opinions that are usually combined with the right’s lies about the lives of people and groups I care about. The repetition of the “big lie” has served oppressions well. But this has lead me to closely examine the left’s occasional generalizations about views that differ from ours, not for the same end, but having some of the same invalidating and dehumanizing qualities that characterize the right’s attacks on us. I have to remind myself that many of these differences are life and death struggles and the niceties of parlor talk do not apply. But I also have to operate with a vision of change and the hope that there are human beings who have the capacity of transforming their world view.
7 minutes ago · Like

kevin September 3, 2012 at 10:33 am

What is the Left, what is the Right? On the left side of the of the column we have communisum, socialism, progressives and liberals, is this not right? On the right side of the column we have anarchy and libertarianism, in the middle somewhere is conservatism.

Both the left side and the middle want control over some or all of your life, whatever part that may be. As someone who is as far to the right as one can get without anarchy, which was our government when founded, may I ask, please people to the left of me, stay out of my pocket. It’s my money what little there is, do you know why the “left ” is disliked so much, you steal my money through every tax imaginable, I always hear “it’s a woman’s right to choose, it’s her body” . If that’s true should it not apply to all people. It’s my body, my time, my sweat – should I not have the RIGHT to choose what to do with what I have? No, says the “left”, we know better (we are smarter).

Yes we do need some taxes for roads, defense, and courts but little else. Can we not be adults and pay for the sevices we need or want?

Michael Carson September 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm

AMEN!

lori thomas September 3, 2012 at 10:42 am

I agree with your point, completely. The problem I have with it is that not everyone understands the pure, unadulterated truth. At the bottom, or the core, all the politicians in America have become essentially identical. The differences really only matter to us, the common people. The work a day folks. The VOTERS! The idea is that we will lean one way or the other because of the “ideas” or the “platform” they are running on. And generally, we do. But, if we pay close attention, really follow things, not just listen to the “one we like”, we start to realize that all the rhetoric is essentially the same. Whether it comes out of the mouth of a “D” or an “R”, it is basically the same, with a few minor details switched to make it go down smooth for the current audience. You might have guessed, I am very unimpressed with the state of politics in America. I want someone who will just tell the truth, no matter how bleak it might be. I don’t need someone to speak a pretty speech, or tell me how wonderful his business skills are. What I need is the truth. Sadly, that is the one thing I won’t get this election year. It has been my privilege to vote in 7 presidential elections and many state and local elections. Each time, I have done so with an immense sense of pride and patriotism! I love this country and I appreciate my rights! What I have noticed is that every election year, we are barraged with promises, guarantees, ideas, and plans. Every candidate pledges to make our lives better and yet, our lives stay essentially the same. Maybe with a few minor changes to the tax code. Perhaps a few environmental law changes. Perhaps a few attempts at new gun legislation, or not. But what has actually changed? Not much over my voting career. Not many promises kept. Not many guarantees honored. Not many ideas come to fruition. And certainly not many plans followed through on. All of the hype is only so someone can be elected. So someone can claim the title. And so we, the work a days, can be placated for 4 more years. Yes, I am very disillusioned. I want the truth, and I want a man who is brave enough to tell it and deal with the consequences. I have ceased to care whether he is a “D” or an “R” or even an “I”. Just an honest man, with an honest plan.

Linda September 3, 2012 at 11:10 am

Just keep it out of churches. Or keep churches out of Politics! How ’bout both?!?!

Sherra September 3, 2012 at 11:19 am

Thank you Ginger!

Coleman Poag September 3, 2012 at 11:19 am

I loved the original blog post! It was right on the money. So many people forget in on-line communications that they are often talking to actual people when they type. I suppose that the safety factor of knowing that comments in this forum won’t start a literal bar fight is enough license for some to say things that they would never say in person. Unfortunately, there’s not really an effective way to get people to retract such statements. Most will consider any attempt to do so as a personal attack and the situation will just escalate.

This is not a new phenomenon – IETF RFC 1855 contains the following advice:
– Don’t get involved in flame wars. Neither post nor respond
to incendiary material.
And that was published in 1995 under the title “Netiquette Guidelines”.

The unique problem we have with the USA presidential election is that too many voters think of it like they think of the NFL Super Bowl or the MLB World Series – they want their “team” to win. They don’t particularly remember why they chose to be a fan of that team (or perhaps they just aren’t capable of articulating that decision process) because it is so much less important than whether or not the team is going to win the championship. These voters tend to behave like fans (fanatically) and some of them just can’t understand why anybody would consider rooting for the other team.

The rest of us will be happier if we don’t take it personally when one of these fans encounters us rooting for the “wrong” team.

Michael Carson September 3, 2012 at 11:35 am

OK.. I’ve read through a couple dozen posts and believe I’ll feel better somehow by tossing in my two cents.
When I’m voting for the President of my highschool class, I get it. Nothing offensive; play like good little boys and girls; hold hands; sing “kumbaya.”
When I believe in my heart of hearts that this just may be the most important presidential race of my lifetime, all bets are off. I say “ignorant” because I believe someone is either misinformed or simply doesn’t know. I believe if we as a nation keep doing what we’ve been doing, the cliff’s edge is nearing. If I scream, “Idiot” in the process, sorry. Desperate times. Desperate measures. This for REAL boys and girls.

Taylor September 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Really, it’s just grown-up bullying, isn’t it? What a glorious message we are sharing with our children about how we really feel about those who are different from us. And we wonder why are children don’t seem to be listening when we tell them to be kind to others, to respect differences, to be tolerant. They’re just doing what we’ve taught them. It’s time we stop talking the talk and start walking the walk. I love your post. Very well said.

Ginger September 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm

A note from the management:

The comments section is starting to turn into exactly what I didn’t want, which is a variety of arguments about the various political positions, along with exactly the name calling I don’t want to see. The majority of people have maintained civility, however things have been disintegrating all day and I can see that it’s on the tipping point of an all out screaming match between commenters.

I’m turning comments off at this point, as I refuse to have this kind of cage match happen on my blog.

Thank you to everyone who managed to maintain a civil discourse even when disagreeing. You were the epitome of what I’m calling for–civility even when discussing opposing positions you believe strongly in.

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