When Politics Turn Pernicious

It’s an election year. And you know what that means.

An opportunity for people to make rude, accusatory, even vicious political comments via social media. Facebook and twitter have given us the guts to be disrespectful and downright mean. All without having to look anyone in the eye.

“All democrats are tree-hugging socialists who want you to turn against God!”

“All republicans are selfish rich bigots who hate diversity!”

Hmm…don’t think so. You’ve heard what happens when you make assumptions and apply stereotypes. You make an ASS out of U and ME.

Something incredible happens during an election year. We forget to treat each other with respect. If you’re an American, you probably have friends with opposing political views to your own. And that’s a good thing. Healthy, in fact.

If you only hang around with people who think like you, congratulations on creating a close-minded island of boredom and ignorance. Enjoy.

Many of my closest friends and I sit on opposite sides of the political aisle. We have strong opinions. Deep beliefs. Causes. But what’s more important is our sensibility. Our kindness. Here are three ways we interact with each other when it comes to politics:

  1. Assume good intentions. Though we come from different points of view, the aim of our ideas is not malicious toward others or any particular group of people.
  2. Focus on common ground. We know that despite our differences, we ultimately love others and want to help people. The main issues come in the form of how to go about doing it.
  3. Listen with an open mind. Instead of etching our opinions in stone, we actually think when our friends speak. Digest the ideas. Stay open to other ways of looking at things. Our views may not necessarily change, but we hear what the other person has to say.

I’m not asking you to care less. Or waive your opinions. Or decrease your stance. Those things are important.

Just pause. Don’t let the impersonal stroke of the keyboard turn you into an ogre. Consider respectful discourse.

Because guess what? Neither party is right about everything. And neither party is always wrong.

Our country needs us. Needs YOU. To be open minded and discerning and NICE.

Who’s in?

And while we’re here, I need to address my biggest concern to come out of both conventions:

Shoulder pads are back in?

Source: Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America

Surely this is something we can come together on! Let’s start a new movement called “Americans against shoulder pads.”

And if that doesn’t gain traction, let’s focus on being Americans first, partisans second.

 
 
  • Jaleh Bisharat

    Great post.

  • I’ll raise a Texas margarita to that, Tracy. My grandma said, “if you can’t be nice – be quiet.” I like that, at least in political high season. This fall I say let’s leave our hard hits and low blows where they belong – with our shoulder pads – on the football field.

  • Georgi

    Good job Tracy, we all need to play nice in the sandbox. Shoulder pads coming back? Me thinks the red dress was a pricey little number she just couldn’t give away 😉