Two specific political memes on Facebook this week caught my eye and rumbled around in my head all week, demanding I address what this meant to me. One implied half of the country and I are too stupid because we disagree with one party’s assertions. I don’t agree with you; therefore, I’m stupid! The second claimed that it’s their candidate versus Satan which would include me because I support that person. I am a Christian and appalled at that supposition. Does the person posting this type of political memes ever think by saying, “(Fill the party name) is stupid or satanic,” they might be talking about his/her hairdresser, cousin, or best friend?
The logic behind these vicious memes escapes me, and I’m offended by these statements. I don’t comment on Facebook with everything I disagree with because I don’t feel it’s my place to argue with someone’s post. Maybe that person doesn’t realize how divisive and ugly this kind of political campaigning is, so I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, talk about my feelings about this issue and offer a possible solution!
Recently, the month or so before an election, many people choose to stop participating on Facebook because of this sort of rhetoric! She innocently posts something political and positive then gets attacked by the other side, with dear friends throwing insults and verbiage she can’t imagine. So, the solution is to walk away and take a break, hoping all is healed after the election. I understand that tactic; however, I propose a positive alternative.
I love this quote from Bob Ehrlich, “Thoughtful people of different political philosophies can disagree, but in a very agreeable manner.”
Here’s more information about Bob:
So, can we disagree in an agreeable manner? That’s the question. Yes, I understand this election seems larger than life with both sides saying it’s the election of a lifetime, but can we dial back the accusatory posts?
People have noted that the current division in our country has torn families apart in a way like no other election. Personally, I abhor arguing politics because my Dad and I often screamed nose-to-nose, red-faced and veins popping, clearing a room anytime the topic came up. Neither of us won! Neither of us changed the other’s mind—wasted energy and wounded spirits!
The last big fight we had we were driving down in our canyon after the election, a beautiful fall morning. His candidate didn’t win. Up until this point, we enjoyed a light jovial conversation, then Dad stopped the pick-up in the middle of the road, glared at me and repeated this question, “Are you one of them?” (A member of the opposite party).
When I replied, “No, I really don’t like either party. I’m an independent,” that wasn’t a satisfactory answer. Then he wagged his finger in my face as if I were a little girl and hurled, “Did you vote for him?” (The opposite candidate)
I pulled myself up in my seat to my full height of five foot three inches and declared, “Yes, I did!” He lost it then with every insult he could think of! Did he really think that behavior would change my mind? After that I avoided any political battles with him. Often, he tried to lure me in, but I refused!
So, why did I tell you that? Today I do believe that we can “agree to disagree” in a respectful manner. I have witnessed intelligent conversations where opposing beliefs were shared, listened to and honored, and everyone walked away the better off for having participated. I believe in the two-party system of our country. We need both parties and their ideals to balance each other. Neither are Satanic or stupid. I believe in energetic and passionate involvement, but I also believe we have to be kind and loving, more than anything. On November 4, 2020, I want to retain friendships with those who disagree with my politics. I want no relationship fatalities!
So, I present my Facebook challenge, starting today over the next thirty days—a halt to the ugly propaganda-style posts hurling insults at the “other” candidate. I encourage thoughtfulness instead. How about a post about the positive characteristics of your candidate? Celebrate your nominee with his attributes, his successful track record and his accomplishments.
I know that some of you are shaking your heads at me and saying, “This is pie-in-the-sky, Polly Anna mentality.” That’s okay.
To support your pessimistic stance, before an election several years ago, a friend of mine tried to have a positive forum on her Facebook page asking people to only share positive traits of their candidate, no bashing of the opponent. It lasted a short time before someone got on his/her soapbox lambasting the other opponent. Okay, I get it—that’s the easy way out!
But what I offer here might be difficult and unusual in these times, but I believe doable! It’s called a challenge because of its difficulty! I dare you to dig deep and think of me when you’re posting something questionable.
So, will you take the challenge? I commend you if you do. Maybe we can make the Facebook world a kinder, gentler world over these coming weeks and be proud of our effort.
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