I try to make a point to avoid big political debates on social media. On occasion I cannot help myself, but for the most part I get frustrated by the impersonal style of communication which so easily leads to misunderstandings and arguments.
After this current election I found myself very saddened by the vast conclusions about parties, and bitter personal attacks made on facebook. I have found myself guilty of this in the past, but more recently have tried to stick to support for the party I agree with rather than slander of the party I don’t. If I have felt that something absolutely must be said about the opposite party I try to share facts rather than opinions and trust that people are smart enough to draw their own conclusions.
The biggest attack I saw, from people of all political persuasions, was that which assumed both stupidity and lack of compassion from those of differing opinion. Over time this began to irk me more and more, and it didn’t stop after the election.
Don’t get me wrong, there are times I too wondered how someone could vote differently than I did if they knew anything about history, or allowed themselves to think through the moral repercussions of a default position; however, as a general rule of thumb I understand. I believe that many voters on both sides of the aisle truly have logically and morally derived positions, and they couldn’t feel comfortable with themselves voting any other way.
For example, for every person who cried with joy over the opportunity to marry the one they love in their own state there is an individual who wept over the “legal” in-utero death of many children.
For every person who rejoiced over extended benefits to those who have felt disenfranchised their whole life, there is an individual who sadly is forced to close the doors to their self-built business due to expanded governmental standards or tax increases.
For every young adult who cries out for an opportunity to break the legal barriers keeping him from becoming a citizen of a country based in freedom, there is a soldier who cries out for a removal of the red tape that keeps him from performing his job in the field to the best of his abilities.
I could go on and on. I could go over every topic and give a logical or moral reason for almost any political stance.
My purpose here is not to imply that there isn’t a right or best option. It isn’t to say you shouldn’t mourn when politicians seemingly ignore what you see to be the most obvious correct response. And, I don’t imply that there is no political corruption or that there aren’t loonies on every part of the spectrum. But, I ask you to watch the words that come out of your mouth, or the text that is posted on your facebook or blog.
Slander does not convince anyone of your position, and hurts others more than you might know. Continue pursuing what you feel is right, and allow yourself to consider other positions. Look at multiple information sources because even if your position is not changed, your perspective might be. Manipulation may convince others in the short term, but they will be ripe for manipulation by someone else. Share facts, share examples, but above all demonstrate respect. Whether your candidate won or lost, be a graceful winner or loser and allow yourself a chance to learn.