People or Politics

Well I couldn’t let this election cycle go by without just a few words.  Anyone who knows me knows how hard it is for me to keep my mouth shut about things that I’m passionate about and politics is one of them, but this one has worn me out.  I think it’s worn most of the country out and we can’t wait until the whole thing is over on Tuesday. At this point most have either already voted or know who they are voting for. I’ve been very vocal at times and I’m definitely passionate about the candidates that I feel align the most closely with my views but I’m not writing to influence anyone one way or the other today, I’m writing because this particular election has in my humble opinion, re-defined so many things all the way from the top and all of the extremism down to very basic fundamental things like family and friendships.

People keep saying we’ve never been so divided but I wonder if we haven’t always been this divided. What this election has done is make it more visible.  It used to be rude to ask anyone who they were voting for. Your voting preferences were personal and kept to yourself and if someone asked you it was considered off hand, not polite and while I wouldn’t want to go back to those days quite honestly, I do think that any respect for the opposite opinion has gone by the wayside.  We don’t have to agree on a subject for both sides to be able to discuss and offer our opinions without turning it into an all out brawl but I think what is missing is simply the ability to listen.  Really listen to what the other person is saying.  Listen to hear and not just to respond. I am just as guilty as anyone else of interrupting or over talking someone but for the last year I’ve been really making an honest effort to listen, even if I don’t agree.  It’s not easy for me because I’m very opinionated, but I  have been giving it my all in this respect in the hope that whoever I am talking to will give me the same consideration and that even though we may not agree, we can try to understand each other.  Now the truth is, there are some things I just can’t understand regarding this election but it’s not my place to make someone else feel “less” just because they don’t see things the way I do.

I’ve had conversations where we agree to disagree and I’ve had conversations where afterward, we don’t speak for weeks. Feelings are hurt no matter how you try to explain your side of things and it’s sad to me. I have family with whom I can’t be friends on Facebook because we are on opposite ends of the spectrum politically and it’s just better that way. I love them and I refuse to let politics divide us. People have literally re-defined friendships and family connections, put them in categories, sliced and diced them, judged and convicted people they love because they don’t agree politically and simply don’t take the time to listen. Whatever happened to listening, accepting, forgiving?  Whatever happened to supporting the person you love even if you don’t support their beliefs or convictions?

I think that a lot of this happens because of social media of course. Nothing is private anymore, absolutely nothing.  Again, I am as guilty as anyone else of posting what I’m cooking for dinner, but I do wonder if people aren’t just looking to be validated.  They aren’t being heard in some area of their life so they take to social media to express themselves in the hope that someone is listening. Where politics are concerned, even if they get an argument out of it, at least they know someone in the world heard them. I love social media. I love that we are more informed than we’ve ever been. What I hate about social media is that we are also more vulnerable to bad information and most people won’t take the time to research anything, even with the capability being at the touch of a hand.  They take it all at face value and accept it as truth. This is true for the media in general as well. They can report anything they want to for the most part and we suck it up like sponges and in some cases spew it right back out as truth when in fact, there are several sides to every story or even no truth at all in what they read or heard.

This election cycle has brought out the best in people but it’s also brought out the worst of the worst. I’m looking forward to the election itself being over on Tuesday but as a friend of mine and I were saying yesterday, we fear the backlash regardless of what happens. Some people feed on hatred and anger and I refuse to be one of them but the monster has risen once again in our history and it feels like it’s only just begun. It will permeate our society until we take action to stop it both on a personal level and a social one.  When it’s all said and done it’s not the politicians that will change the country or the world, it’s us. Each and every one of us. Your vote makes a difference but if you really want to see change, get involved. Actively work toward the change you want to see because it’s the only way to get results. Looking back in history it wasn’t the politicians who made the changes. It was only when the people worked together to affect the change they wanted that anything was realized.

Think about the relationships you’ve cultivated over the years and whether or not they are worth tossing because of the divide in politics right now.  These times will pass and at the end of the day it’s going to be the people that mean the most to you that will be there and if the relationship, whether it be friend or family, means more to you than who they voted for this coming Tuesday do yourself a favor and let the politics go.

Love and light,

Joanna

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