I think people are afraid and angry these days. Maybe more so than I’ve ever seen them in my lifetime. Here in the United States, our sense of safety changed fifteen years ago. On 9/11/2001, my husband was an active-duty military member. I was afraid and angry that day and I was afraid and angry every time my husband deployed, which was often in the years following 9/11. I was afraid, watching every moment of news, trying to decipher what was happening to our world. I’m not sure I ever got over that fear and anger. I think the media banks on that being the case. I was grateful every time he returned safely and I was grateful that he retired.
It seems that every day, we are bombarded with something new to be afraid or angry about. These days, the upcoming election is the main hot button. I tend to keep my political leanings to myself, there was a time where it was considered gauche to discuss sex, religion or politics in an open forum. On one hand, I find it interesting to discuss political views with close friends whom I trust. I want to learn about their opposing viewpoints and expand my perception, learn better how to view things from others’ perspective. I like to learn about the hopes they’ve hung on their chosen candidate. On the other, I still think it’s a bit gauche to discuss. But I also think it’s wonderful that people who did not have a voice before, have a forum where thoughts, feelings and ideas can be broadcast.
This election seems different to me. Discussions regarding this election have become personal. (The weird comic in me is hearing a voice-over guy announcing “Decision 2016- This time it’s personal.” I digress… )
These days I have seen posted on social media, not only pros and cons for a particular party, or candidate, but also pointed attacks and snark aimed at people who follow one party line or another. I think it’s awful and it makes me sad. I try my best to treat people in my life with respect, regardless of whether or not I know where they stand on a given topic. I’m not always successful, (read my previous post regarding the missteps I tend to make with people here) but my heart is truly always in the right place.
I’m asking something of you folks reading this. When you post your memes, your opinions, your viewpoints regarding the upcoming election, ask yourself if you are sharing something that is about the party and the candidates or about the people who might vote for them. There is a distinct difference in the two. Taking a jab at Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump (or Gary Johnson for my Libertarian friends, or Dr. Jill Stein for my Green Party friends) is distinctly different than taking a jab at my friend, Lionel who might vote for one of them. Please be mindful, state your opinions about the candidates, the issues and the things you’re frustrated with, afraid of and angry about. Please try not to confuse those issues with the people who are on social media sharing pictures of their grandchildren, excitement over a new car, a new job, a new opportunity. I log on to social media to share experience with friends and family. I want to see pictures of children and grandchildren, birthday celebrations, school celebrations and know what music you’re listening to. I want to now what movies you’re enjoying and what sports you’re mastering. Photos of vacations and videos of silly things. Cats. I still love cat videos. I want to see your prayers, whether it’s to Jesus, the Earth Mother or the Buddha. I want know what the current countdown to Christmas is. Sadly, I’ve stopped following many friends, not because they share a different political point of view, but because they had gotten so ugly about how they express it. When the election is over I truly hope to once again see their photos of children, grandchildren, vacation photos…
It’s very easy to forget the we are humans and friends sitting on the other end of this vast expanse of internet. But here we are, being human and trying to be friends.
RWLinder (Robert Linder) http://www.rgbstock.com/user/RWLinder
http://www.rgbstock.com/user/weirdvis – Lynne Lancaster
-http://www.rgbstock.com/user/lusi Sanja Gjenero