Article by Wendy McCance
I have had a hard time biting my tongue about the presidential election. I have seen so much ugliness present itself (mainly on Facebook) between friends and family as the election has gained steam. I have to admit, it’s gotten bad enough that I have unfriended a few people along the way.
I have thought long and hard about my own views and how right or wrong it is to judge people based on their own feelings about the election. The conclusion I came to is basically the same conclusion I have used for all other areas of my life. I choose to be around people who have the same moral character as I do.
At first, I simply ignored people who flashed their view of who to vote for openly on Facebook. Great, all the more power to you that you have an opinion and care about being an active participant in this election. I felt this way even when things began to turn and some of the ugliness of the candidates actions came to the forefront. I stuck in there as one by one candidates dropped out until two remained. Then, I began to feel as though I had finally had enough
You see, I am glad people have opinions that are different from my own. This is what makes the world so great. We learn from each other, whether it be that we gain knowledge from a different point of view or we gain another level of tolerance, we are all different and must coexist peacefully with each other.
Yet, this is where things have broken down for me. I don’t see a peaceful willingness to disagree. I see violence and name-calling and threats and bullying. I am seeing our world crumble before my very eyes as people pick sides and treat each other horribly.
So, I choose the side of peace. I choose to surround myself with people who might not be on the same page, but respect each others opinion. I choose the side that is open for discussion without any low blows being thrown. If not, well, you are the people I have decided to discard.
I understand that at the core of people’s choices, much has to do with being fed up with our fractured government. I understand that there is a weariness to where the country currently stands and that all people are looking for is a positive change. Every last one of us is looking for the same thing, a positive outcome! But, people are writing posts that divide our nation further from each other. These are the people who don’t understand why others might unfriend them. It’s because they feel caught up in a toxic wave of rhetoric, Communication has unequivocally come to a halt.
Last night I watched the second town hall meeting. It was the second time I didn’t call in the kids to watch it with me. I have been torn. On the one hand, I want the kids to see history in the making. I don’t want to shield them from the bad in our country and I want them to be as knowledgeable as possible about what is going on around us.
I have kept the lines of communication open in our home and the family often has discussions about what is going on in this country, who we might vote for and why. These are good open conversations where ideas are challenged, people are heard and respected for their thoughts and opinions, and problem solving is taking place.
At the same time, as I watched the debate last night, I was regretfully overcome with relief at not encouraging the kids to sit down and watch what I saw unfold. I honestly felt like I was watching a Jerry Springer episode. There was bullying of all sorts, threats, name-calling and harassment in all forms. My g-d, I even saw dirty looks and a look of entitlement while getting in another person’s space. It was disturbing to watch. The worst part was hearing the audience hoot and holler when one of the candidates would say something incredibly childish and offensive.
What has become of our society that the people representing our country are acting worse than the trash seen on a popular TV show that encourages outrageous and inappropriate behavior? This is not what I want my kids to see representing our country, but more importantly, this is not what I want them to believe is appropriate behavior.
So, overall, this has been a huge learning opportunity for my family. A chance to review what we feel is important in our lives, how we should be treating others and how we should respond when we see others bullying each other. Yes, there have been many good discussions in our home. The kids are gaining a lot of wisdom from seeing grown adults act in such a childish fashion. They have a better understanding of what their own values are and what type of person they want to represent them as their president. At least something positive has come out of the presidential election this year!
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