Monday, September 8, 2008

I hate politics.

Seriously. I've come to hate the whole process, and the way entire groups of people become completely unhinged. Towns, cities, states and our country somehow lose what limited civility they have left, and turn into snarling, vitriolic shadows of their former selves. It doesn't matter if the election is for the local school board or president, the process as it exists results in ugliness.

Today, it invaded my safest of safe places. My happy place on the internet, a private little corner of the web where just a few other moms and I go to help each other through the hard days and cheer for each other when things are going great. The political process crept its nasty little fingers in among my friends, and they briefly turned into people I didn't recognize. I was pretty bummed.

I'm not apolitical. I have a great interest in the results of this year's presidential election, have chosen the candidate I will vote for, and I am naturally appalled at the possibility of the other candidate ending up in the White House. I educate myself on the issues. I frequently want to tell people to pull their heads out of whatever crevice they've stuck them in, because the choices they're making politically are not what this country needs.

But I don't.

I don't tell people they're wrong, I don't try to educate them, and I certainly don't try to push my political beliefs on them. Does this make me a wuss? Does it mean I'm not committed to my beliefs, or my causes? Absolutely not. I don't do this when it comes to religion, either. Nothing pisses me off faster than somebody telling me I'm going to hell because I don't believe that Christ died on the cross so I could be forgiven for my sins. Unless it's somebody telling me that my pro-choice, pro-gay rights, socialist leanings are the reason this country is going to hell in a handbasket. Bullshit.

My ideals and beliefs are MINE. I have come to them over many, many years of searching. I have had incredible conversations with people whose thoughts were the polar opposite of mine, and come away with my own beliefs strengthened. I read, and I listen, and I try to learn even when I don't agree.

Your ideals and beliefs are YOURS. Your religion is none of my damn business, and neither are your political leanings. If I want to know, I will ask you - politely and respectfully. I have no doubt that your life experiences and what you have learned have led you to your belief system. I respect you enough to believe that if you are truly concerned about the issues, you will educate yourself on them before you choose a political candidate. But if you come down on the other side from me, that doesn't mean you're wrong. It simply means your vision is very different from mine. We disagree, big freaking deal. Adults do it all the time. Unfortunately, not so many of them are skilled at doing it respectfully.

I think the internet has played a big part in this lack of respect. Not only does it allow people to comment anonymously, it removes the some of the most important parts of true communication. We've lost facial expressions and tone of voice. We've lost the ability to control ourselves because another human being is standing before us. Unless we find a way to get that back into these interactions, the whole political process will just get nastier and nastier.

I don't think I want to be here for that. I'm going to go find a rock to hide under until November. Somebody come drag me out when it's all over.

4 comments:

Laura said...

Many ((((hugs)))) my friend. I KNOW, that SUCKED today! Who would have thunk it?!
This too shall pass ~

Oh, and I am loving that picture of Emma! :)

Tara Marie said...

....nodding my head,,,yes, yes, yes!

Also, sitting here with a heavy heart, as I also feel like my very special place has sprung a leak and I don't know who is going to put their finger in the dyke to fix it [Holland reference intended]

We are all ripples of a circle in the water of life....and I feel bad that one ripple is missing.

I love that picture of your sweet girl.

All 4 My Gals said...

Amy I agree about the limitations of online communication. But I differ from you in that if we are friends I am VERY much interested in your beliefs, your history that makes you who you are, what makes you tick, what you are passionate about. I want to learn from you, even if I don't always agree with you.

Our differences are what makes you interesting to me, what makes me want to engage in conversation with you. Not because I want to push my beliefs on you, but because I want to share with you. It stretches me, teaches me and intrigues me to be with those who hold different views, histories and beliefs.

If I am going to spend my days chatting with people I want intimacy with them, I want openness, I want to be able to share my heart, my passions, my ideas. And when I do I want them to be read with the knowledge of who I am by friends who I have shared 7+ years with. I would think that knowing me would enable my words to be read with fairness and neutrality.

In this particular situation I was so overly careful to be fair so as not to offend that I was floored when it was construed to be offensive. KWIM?

I'm muddling through the seeming lack of authenticity in online relationships right now trying to figure out if my time needs to be spent in other areas. For exactly the limitations you speak of make me wonder if they can truly be overcome.

mum2brady said...

I'm with you - politics and religion are sticky online situations, and this political race is a hot one.

Sending lots of hugs your way!!!

Hope things are looking up from the sickies.....

Hugs!

 

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