Was I ever surprised when I got his reply the next day! He (correctly) assumed I was voting for Obama, "our nemesis." Then he went on to say he was tired of paying the bills for someone else's bad judgment, unwillingness to help themselves, and inability to assume responsibility for their own lives. Yes, he believed in donating to the church and to charity to help feed the needy and homeless, but he drew the line when his money was used to pay for druggies and able-bodied persons who refuse to take a job when it's offered.
Imagine what a shock it was for me to discover that I supported all those things! I just wanted to say "WHAAAAT?" This is not the first incident, nor will it be the last (I'm sure) in which otherwise well-mannered, average Americans transform into rabid dogs on the subject of political candidates and issues. It happens about every four years: the Whole Freakin' Country goes berserk! Just this afternoon I ran into my sister-in-law at the beauty shop. As she was leaving, she came up to me and out of the blue said, "I can't believe you all are voting the way you are!" Geez. The feeling is mutual. (Really, I do love my sister-in-law....)
These are a just a few examples of what I've seen over the last few weeks. There are millions more out there. Cautionary, urgent, incendiary, pleading and just plain stupid emails get forwarded and re-forwarded in some perverse variation of a World Wide Web infinite loop. Bloggers and forum posters are indignant, rude, enraged, scandalous and downright offensive (using terms like "OBabyKiller for Obama and McBombs Vietnam Orphanages for McCain). We attack each other and hurl insults with abandon using terms like "idiot", "kool-aid drinker" and much worse. It's really easy to be especially nasty on the internet, isn't it?
Let's just stop all this nonsense, can we? To the best of my knowledge, I haven't signed a pact with The Devil because I'm voting the way I am. Some of my family and best friends are (GASP!) Republicans, yet I'm fairly certain they haven't sold their souls, either. They love their country just as much as I do, and I'll bet you some serious money that Barack Obama and John McCain do, too.
From where I stand, these behaviors reveal, among other things, the deep division in our country. The last decade has brought about some tremendous yet controversial changes and challenges---much of this directly due to our government. Maybe this is why we can't seem to stop insulting each other long enough to focus on the real work that must be done together to help restore our country. Maybe we won't stop this until November 5 arrives, but for now, before we insult someone, stop and think about whether we would say that to a family member. When we're tempted to pass along some snide remark about a candidate, first think about what's really the issue and if it's something worthy of our time and attention right now. Shouldn't we (civilly) be discussing "the real issues"?
And after the election, what if we all took that passion and feeling and actually did something positive with it? What if we all agreed that America needs all of us --- this huge conglomeration of sexes, religions, races, attitudes, ideologies and dreams -- in order to make this country great? and most importantly, can we possibly find a way to discuss and resolves issues without allowing them to further separate and divide us?
If we cannot do this for our country, how can Barack Obama or John MCain possibly do it? Let's stop this "uncivil war" right now.