Saturday, September 27, 2008

Why I Hate Politics

I really debated whether I should post this. I wrote it a while ago, for myself, as a way to vent when I had reached my boiling point over all things political. I welcome your comments, but please don't yell.

I can’t wait for this stupid election to be over. And, no, it’s not so they’ll stop interrupting my favorite prime time TV shows.

I could sum this up in one sentence: I hate politics because people are nasty about it. People who I (usually) like and respect, some who I enjoy seeing and spending time with, become completely nasty over politics—just because we don’t agree. Would someone be this nasty over something like beef or pork? Paper or plastic? Cloth or disposable? (Diapers, for those of you who aren’t mommies.)

The nastiness offends me on a personal level. Maybe it’s just because I’ve always done my best to adhere to the “if you can’t say anything nice” rule or because I feel for the person who has something mean said about them. And yes, I know that people in the public arena have to be ready for personal attacks, but that doesn’t mean that we (those of us NOT in the public arena) have to make those attacks publicly or on a personal level. Say what you will about voting record or foreign policy or proposed tax changes, but leave the personal attacks out. How would you feel if someone was insinuating that your father/mother/brother/sister/child/friend was stupid/slow/ugly/cruel or any number of other things, some of which are not suitable for a family friendly blog? Maybe it wouldn’t bother you, but I’ve never been a fan of unkindness.

Did I mention that I tend toward the sensitive side? (It’s that melancholy artistic temperament.) It’s especially distressing when someone I know decides to slam me for having an opinion that differs from theirs. I know that if I said something like, “I really like Brittany Spears and I think she’s a great role model for young girls,” the response I would generate with that would be much more…friendly than if I made a political statement. Why is this? If I found out that a friend had decided to terminate her pregnancy, would I “re-educate” her with my “perfect” opinion on abortion? (After all, my views are the only ones that count, right?) If my grandmother wonders how I could possibly vote for that guy when blah, blah, blah…would I “inform” her with “the facts” and all the reasons she’s wrong? (Because I’m the only one who could possibly be right?) No to both examples, in case you’re wondering. I will not judge you or speak poorly of you because you make what I think is a poor choice. I will do the best I can to encourage you and continue to love. Why should the subject of politics be any different?

The worst is when the disagreement stretches into the comparative: “I’m voting for liar candidate #1 because I care about the environment.” Or, “I’m voting for liar candidate #2 because I care about ending the war.” (Feel free to fill in the blank with whatever issue fits.) All of which insinuates that you don’t care about those things or you would vote for so-and-so, too.

What good does this do us, especially as Christ-followers? What does it accomplish, other than strife and division? We should be loving one another rather than tearing each other down! Strong language, raising your voice, or belittling my viewpoint is not encouragement for me to change my thinking, but just the opposite. Yes, I believe in absolute truth. Yes, I believe some things are right and some are wrong. But I also believe that some things are neither and other things rest in areas of gray. I cannot always be right (though it might be nice). I recognize that there are often two sides to every story and you don’t always get to hear both of them.

If I don’t share my political/social/religious opinions with you, it’s not because I don’t have strong opinions or beliefs or convictions. It’s because I don’t like to hear you yell.

1 comment:

Jana Swartwood said...

I totally agree. Some people are like that with football, too. Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State. Michigan vs. Ohio State. UCLA vs. USC. It's like, supporting a team is an invitation to a fight. I thinkn that's crazy. We should be allowed to support a team without having people mad at us or making us feel bad, just as we should be allowed to support a candidate without having people mad at us or making us feel bad.