Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I have words.

I think the real reason our country has been so viciously divided this election is the inclusion of social media - mostly Facebook - into the equation. 
There is a certain anonymity that comes with posting online, (this is especially true for people who use message boards) and even though our faces and names are attached to what we say over Facebook, we feel more empowered to type our ideas, opinions, and (most dangerously) beliefs into a little magic box.

We do this not with the express intent to upset or offend people who are ostensibly our "friends" (or so we'd hope!), but to show how good and valid our ideas, opinions, and beliefs are as they relate to the current trending topic.

This c
an be quite rude on its own when that topic is divisive. It is possible for several groups of intelligent and well-informed people of good moral character to reach very different conclusions about the most moral and intelligent way to look at something. Touting your unsolicited opinion in mixed company when you know that there are probably people present who strongly disagree is simply in bad taste, and certainly not something most of us would normally do. 
But it doesn't stop there. There is no faster way to escalate something than to put it on the internet. There are always extremists and pundits willing to put energy and money into cranking out hateful propaganda. Somebody makes a funny picture poking at the other guy, who makes a picture he thinks is funny to poke back, but actually sort of pisses guy A off, so he finds a picture that is all about calling guy B stupid, or bigoted, or (gag. hurk.) ignorant.

That word has been forever ruined for me. . 
Now instead of just looking for ass-pats about how good their ideas, opinions, and beliefs are, they've moved on to saying that people who disagree must be unable or unwilling to think properly; and all the while they themselves are unable or unwilling to see the vulgar arrogance they've have fallen into. 
I remember people being private about their votes.  Then if and when things didn't go their way, they were able to shrug it off. They could go have a coke with the people whose candidate had carried the day, because there was a great chance that neither had ever gotten angry with the other in the first place.

Now I see good people from both sides who belong to Facebook groups that encourage and feed off of vile, racist, hateful rhetoric. Romney supporters have sour grapes, and Obama supporters are smug. I expected as much, given how nasty things had gotten. But I was not ready for "I can't believe how absolutely retarded people who voted that piece of human trash back into office are!" or "Cry more white man. Your tears are delicious and Romney is an evil corporate predator,".


I ended up hiding so many feeds from so many really cool people, and I plan to get busy un-hiding soon. I hope we'll all consider, though, that there is absolutely no reason it ever needs to go this way again. We don't need to spread the ready-made vitriol that small, angry people like to circulate. We should never insult the intelligence or integrity of our friends by condescending or pontificating to them. 

To everyone who voted for Mitt Romney, hey. It was a good try, and an extremely close race despite what the electoral college would have you believe. The sun rose today and it'll be here tomorrow, and even the people that disagreed with you won't stand for seeing actual harm come to you or your loved ones - so what's really so awful?

To everyone who voted for President Obama, congratulations. He's got a hell of a challenge ahead of him, and since he's your guy you'll probably feel a sense of responsibility for decisions he makes over the next four years. Be sure to help him by bridging some of the  gaps that formed during all the electoral fervor.

To everyone who voted for Gary Johnson, congratulations. The fact that people know his name in this two-party system of ours is exciting, and a victory in itself. We might be ready for a third, fourth, and fifth perspective before too many more elections!

To absolutely everyone - If I said or did anything upsetting during the past few months (as it pertains to politics, at least), I am sincerely sorry. I try not to show my hand too often, and intend to show it even less next time around. I hope you'll consider joining me when that time comes. =)

God bless.

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