A minor political rant….
Not your usual blog post from me
No, this is pretty atypical, as I usually try to stay away from all things political, but in the wake of “The election that never ends” I just have to wade in. This MAY tick some folks off, and that’s OK, because, hey…social discourse and all.
Trigger Warning: Potential unpopular opinion here!
If you are easily offended, you MAY want to stop reading here, as what follows could be considered less than popular. If you are an adventurous sort, please join me below.
Why do politics cause us to hate each other?
I mean, really!?
Let’s talk about Bob. Who is Bob you might ask? Well, Bob is your fictional next-door neighbor. (Your ACTUAL neighbor may or may NOT be named Bob). You and Bob have been friends for years. Your wives are friends, and your kids go to school and play together. You and Bob like to sit out in each other’s back yards on a Friday evening by the fire, share adult beverages and maybe smoke a cigar. You are both in a group that gets together once a month for a friendly poker game, and Bob coaches your son’s little league team. You really like Bob.
Enter the 2020 Presidential election (and actually, this is not the first hotly contested election, but it IS 2020 so, humor me). You and Bob each put signs in your yard for your favorite candidate. Uh-Oh…it seems there is ONE thing at least you disagree on…Bob is for “The Other Guy!”.
So how do you respond? You steal Bob’s yard sign (and he steals yours), you trash talk him to the other neighbors and call him “stupid”, “uninformed” and “unpatriotic”. No more backyard fires, no more family dinners, you pull your son from little league. Maybe you stand in front of his house and loudly proclaim all the evil things Bob stand for.
What has really changed about Bob?
The simple answer is: Nothing. Bob is the same guy who, three months ago, you considered one of your best friends. But now suddenly you hate him. You see, BOB hasn’t changed, YOU have.
Another case study.
Now let’s talk about Rick. Who is Rick? Rick is yet another fictional character in your life, but this time you know him through social media (let’s just say Face Book, although it could easily be any other social media site). Like Bob, you liked Rick, enjoyed the memes he posts and frequently exchange messages with Rick on Face Book. You were planning a family vacation to a city near where Rick lives (before COVID of course) and had started planning to get together for a beer with Rick and his wife.
And then…(Cue dramatic music) Da Da Da!, Rick posts a meme that indicates that, like Bob, he supports “The Other Guy!”.
Your response: Similar to Bob. You begin to respond in a very aggressive, negative way to everything Rick posts to his timeline. You denigrate him publicly, call him names, threaten to unfriend him and generally become a PITA toward him online.
And again, what has really changed about Rick? Nothing.
We really have to stop this
Look, I get it…you feel passionately about “Your Guy!” and his position/policies; so do Bob and Rick.
Here’s the rub though: You are damaging or severing relationships over the resume of a couple guys who are applying for a job. A BIG job, to be sure, and one that can have an effect on the nation and your life. But really, how MUCH of an effect? Enough to trash friendships and (potentially) business relationships? Is it enough of an effect to react in a way that raises your blood pressure and puts you under a lot of stress? I, for one, say no.
What I’ve learned in 60 years on this planet
Here is the thing: Politicians come and go. Administrations come and go. Congressional representatives and Senators come and go (although much more slowly than Presidents). And at the end of the day, what REALLY changes?
Not much. All of them have a desire to control your life in some way.
Politicians are like buttholes, everyone has them, and they all stink. (Yeah, I know, that’s supposed to be about excuses).
Sure, taxes sometimes go up, sometimes go down, sometimes remain the same. Regulations change (and later change back again). The economy gets better, the economy gets worse. Inflation rises…well, inflation ALWAYS rises, so maybe that’s not a good example.
The point is: It doesn’t really matter who gets elected IN THE LONG RUN. They are eventually going to be replaced, probably by someone you actually agree with. Over the course of your lifetime, they are going to change-out politicians over, and over, and over again.
One other thing I’ve noticed
No one, and I mean NO ONE, is purely either R or D (or L I suppose). Everyone is somewhat of a mix of ideologies, and there are as many different mixes as there are people to represent them. Yes, even those great people you are voting for are not purely one or the other (or the other). They just associate with what most closely represents how they think and feel about a RANGE of topics. Think about the administrations you have lived through. Do you agree with EVERYTHING that happened during their administration, or every policy they supported? Probably not.
Believe me, no matter who it is, or who they support in any given election, there are things they believe that (SHOCKING!) you actually AGREE on!
At the end of the day…
None of these politicians are worth losing friendships over. It’s OK to agree to disagree. It’s OK to have a passionate discussion about how you feel about a given topic, but remember nobody is “binary” or even solely about a single topic.
Remember, these guys are saying the things they think you want to hear so they get elected. This is nothing more than a job interview on a national level with a HUGE interview panel.
It kills me to see the level of angst and anger between people during this election cycle. It kills me to see families breaking apart over politics. It kills me to see business relationships dissolve over an election. Next year at this time, when the political ads are over, and all the yard signs are gone, we still need friends, families and business associates. We still need to keep moving forward in our lives. Don’t let politics damage these relationships.
Don’t lose friendships (or business relationships) over men and women who don’t even know your names. It’s OK to have different political views and still be OK with each other. Bob is still Bob, the same guy you liked a couple months ago. Rick is still Rick and will start posting funny memes you enjoy again soon. Just don’t be a Dick, because THAT guy…well…
If you agree with this, great. If you don’t…also great…I still like you. I’d still like to be able to work together. If you are my family (I HOPE they read these!) I still love you. I’m happy to debate you about things if you’d like, happy to hear your opinion (even if I don’t agree).
PLEASE, Let’s all STOP hating on one another!
We now return you to your regular blog programming.
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