Okay folks, let’s break this whole thing down as succinctly as possible without offending anyone since that seems to be the criteria for friendship these days.
In case you haven’t heard, we had a Presidential Election over here in the good old US of A. It’s something we do every 4 years and it comes with a 2 term limit. (In my opinion, every political position should have term limits but that’s for another day or, perhaps, never)
We The People cast our ballot then we cross our fingers hoping “our” candidate wins. There is a peaceful transfer of power on Inauguration Day and then we all go on with our lives.
Nah. I’m only kidding because it doesn’t work that way anymore.
Now it’s a free-for-all regardless of the outcome. I’ve lived through quite a few Presidential elections, I was a baby when John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated but I have a memory of crying adults and a sense of unity, then again, to my mini-brain, it was the exact day my cousin was born so I felt only happiness and love.
Until a few terms ago, I never paid attention to politics, it was something the adults talked about in quiet tones while my older brother and I would play “The Six O’clock News”, where we’d take turns making believe we were newscasters by coming up with our own news stories. It was one of the few times we’d take advantage and use the bed as a stage to stand on when it was our turn to announce the news of the day. Of course it always turned into an excuse to jump up and down on the bed, a children’s game I never understood but took full advantage of until I jumped so high I banged my head on the ceiling but again, another story for another day.
We The People are now tearing each other apart in the name of politics and it is breaking my heart. I look at the usual suspects of social media, Facebook, Twitter,and just about every comment section in nearly every site that allows comments. Not only is it scary, it’s a bloody blood-filled bloodbath everywhere I turn.
Lifelong friendships are being reduced to rubble, families are falling apart, and I’d wager the “unfollow” button has never been used as much as it has these days, all a result of this latest election.
I am not here to talk about who won, who lost, which Party has power, which Party is right on whatever the issue of the day is, although I believe these things are important to discuss.
What concerns me now is We The People and how we are treating each other.
And how we are treating each other right now is, dare I say, deplorable.
Personally, I have gone out of my way to keep my opinions to myself. I remember a time when who you voted for was pretty much a private thing, much like your religious beliefs. We were lulled into a deceptive sense of free speech meaning just that, freedom to say what you want short of yelling “fire” in a public place when there is no fire.
This is no longer the case in my opinion. Now we must first weigh our options, think about what we want to say, think it over again, and, at least in my case, wind up saying nothing.
Believe me, there isn’t much I love more than a good debate backed up by facts. I even enjoy playing “devil’s advocate” because I want to know all sides of whatever it is we’re talking about. I always thought it was a good thing to discuss different issues because usually, I learn something new I wasn’t previously aware of.
Now? As the kids say, NFW. No f***ing way.
I have good friends on both sides of the aisle. I don’t judge anyone by their vote as I believe we all have our own personal reasons for who we vote for. There is a reason we are given privacy when we cast our ballot. We have an obligation and a right to vote our conscience. There aren’t that many countries afforded the freedoms we have/had. We are lucky to be living here and yes, nearly every single one of us have ancestors who came through Ellis Island seeking a better life. I know mine did, most left Ireland and were greeted with signs that said “Irish need not apply” as well as other things too hostile to say. But that was the way of the world, so they did what they could to feed their family, inevitably working in the bowels of the earth coal mining. Black Lung disease took out quite a few of my people back then. But that was my experience, we all have our own stories.
Every single one of us is different, and every single one of us have different reasons for who we may or may not support.
What I don’t understand is this new test of friendship, if you voted for X then you are a racist bigot. If you voted for Y then you are a racist bigot. If you voted for X then you don’t know what you’re talking about and you are directly responsible for this, that, and the other thing. If you voted for Y then you don’t know what you’re talking about and you are directly responsible for this, that, and the other thing. If you voted for X you are “unfriended”. If you voted for Y then you are “unfriended”.
I’ve been watching silently as friends and family are giving up people they claim to love, but that love is not unconditional, that love is contingent, subject to change at the snap of a finger, that love now comes with a questionnaire that requires 100% agreement or you’re an evil racist bigot and that applies to both sides.
Think about it, imagine you were in a life threatening situation and needed a blood transfusion, or perhaps an organ donor.
Would you thank whoever that someone is willing to donate whatever it is you need to survive, or would you first ask their political affiliation and if it wasn’t the same as yours, would you turn down their offer to help save your life?
If your next door neighbor fell down in front of you, perhaps suffering a heart attack or a stroke, would you help them only if they voted the same way as you or would you step over their body and leave them to possibly die because they voted for Y when you voted for X?
What has become of us? When did we allow personal points of view to transform us into this mob mentality?
There is nothing in this world that 100% of people agree on. We are all different, we all have different needs and different ideas. The world is burning and We The People are being controlled, not by politicians as much as by the media.
The media is stirring up as much turmoil as they can in the name of money, going so far as to intentionally lie to further their own agenda, and their own agenda sure as hell isn’t We The People.
Celebrities, being paid obscene amounts of money are lecturing us, chiding us, encouraging civil discourse and who is suffering the most for this? We The People are, innocent Mom and Pop stores being set on fire, looted, destroyed just because people are riled up and taking their anger out on whatever is nearest to them, both sides of the aisle rumbling like they’re acting out West Side Story, not caring that this is real life being destroyed. Not seeing that we all bleed the same color. Not caring that we are being used, distracted by a media who no longer report facts without bias, and somehow all media outlets use the exact same buzzwords, the exact same phrases because they believe they are all knowing. They are the ones sitting in their expensive towers looking down at us, patting each other on the back because they’re stirring the pot so much we are reverting to primates, beating people to a bloody pulp on nothing more than an assumption that if you love your country you are a racist bigot.
Let’s face it, for the most part, people in power do not care about us. We The People have been reduced to voting blocks to further the agenda of the powers that be.
They don’t care that we are fighting amongst ourselves, in my opinion they are happy, the more discord, the more “news” they can report, leading to more discord, more fighting, more separation, more hatred and I’m sorry, but this is not who we are. They are controlling us and we are letting them get away with it.
Do you want to be politically involved? If so, it begins at the bottom. It begins with your local government. I live in a town where we have had the same Mayor for 16 years. Sure, he cares for the people so much he is driven around in a limousine everywhere he goes. He has bought up more than half the town, owning a good portion of local businesses but you have to dig deep to find out this information. We can’t just wake up every four years for the Presidential election, we should be involved from the bottom up if we truly care about the political system.
But most importantly, we need to stop the hostility towards each other. It’s ugly and accomplishes nothing but more division, more hatred and zero tolerance.
We The People need to realize we are one family. Yes, we can disagree, yes we can get frustrated, but I see nothing good coming out of the behavior I see grown adults engaging in, what kind of example are we setting for our children?
School age kids are fighting each other over politics because that is what they are seeing around them. Parents, teachers, neighbors being nasty to each other, these are some of the examples being set for young minds unable to completely understand the complexity involved in making that decision we make when we enter a voting booth.
They will have a lifetime of worry ahead of them, but we are taking away some of the pleasures of childhood and frankly, scaring the hell out of some of these innocent young minds.
When did we become so unaccepting of other points of view?
Are we going to continue down this path until we kill each other because we may disagree on one issue?
I used to believe we were a tolerant, accepting people. I used to believe we could have vigorous debates without being blacklisted, discarded, unfriended, ridiculed by people we thought were friends.
You may have noticed I have not stated who I voted for. Why? Because I am not here to endorse anyone, I am here to express my disappointment in We The People. You may think you know who I voted for, but you may be wrong.
You see, I personally don’t care who you voted for, you voted your conscience, you voted in your best interest as it should be. I will never judge you for who you vote for.
All I ask is that we all try to do the same.
My name is Joanne Best and I approve this message.