Sunday, October 14, 2012

The rudeness is getting worse. Stop it, please.

Two nights ago, I attended an event at which President Bill Clinton appeared. I returned home and posted some pictures of the president on Facebook.  One friend, a Republican, left a post on my wall that read: "So happy for you that you were able to see him. I'm sure you had a great time."

I'm beginning to think that person needs to be elected queen of the world. Because she's one of the few people I've encountered the past several weeks who is able to keep her wits about her when communicating with a friend who has opposing political ideologies.

Yes, I know this is my third blog on this topic. Yes, I know everyone is sick and tired of the campaign. Perhaps Joe Biden -- whom I support; shoot me -- has gotten me all fired up. But I agree that so much of what's being said is a bunch of malarkey, and I'm beyond irritated at all the rudeness.

This is what set me off tonight: A post that involved a photo of a piece of toast and the words "Barack Obama, November 6, 2012" superimposed on top of it.  Now, I like toast.  And I guess you could say the graphic involves a clever turn of phrase.

But it's rude. It would be every bit as rude if it were about Gov. Romney, and there's no way I'd post it. No one knows how the election will turn out; it's a horse race. But elections are hard work. Both men deserve respect. Neither will be "toast," no matter how things turn out.

I'm tired of "clever" graphics. I'm tired of "clever" innuendo and "clever" rhetoric. I'm tired of the apparent license to lose control of one's mental faculties and repost such trash as a photo supposedly taken at a Romney rally of a supporter wearing a t-shirt reading, "Put the 'white' back in the White House."

I'm tired of both sides re-posting dreck from bottom-feeders who say they wish Ryan's kids had been aborted or that one of Romney's sons is gay.  (That one made the rounds today, from a fellow Obama supporter, and I almost went apoplectic -- if the guy is gay, first of all, WHO CARES?  And second, where's your compassion, email forwarder? If anything, I feel for the guy. What a fishbowl he must live in, and one filled with some pretty unfriendly, choppy waters.)

I am tired of being challenged to defend my political views. Guess what, friends: I don't owe you any explanations. It's all pretty easy to figure out: I'm a Democrat because I believe in that party's platform. If you're a Republican, I can safely assume you believe in the tenets of that party. Neither one of us is wrong. Neither one of us is bad.

I'll tell you what else I'm tired of: comments such as, "How can you, as a woman, support Bill Clinton? Don't you remember what he did to Hillary?"  Well, of course I remember.  And I didn't like it.  But, my God, he is  a brilliant, compassionate man who, in my opinion, was a terrific leader. He screwed up once. Twice. Maybe a few times. But how about this, fellow Christians?  In the New International version of the Bible, Jesus defends a "wayward" woman with these words:

"When they kept on questioning Him, he straightened up and said to them, 'Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.'"

I don't know about you, but I won't be throwing rocks at Bill Clinton, or anyone else, anytime soon.

Anyway ... I deeply, profoundly hope that President Obama will be re-elected. But guess what. If he's not, I won't move to Canada. And guess what else I'll do?  Because I was raised to be gracious in defeat, I'll congratulate those of you who worked to elect Gov. Romney. And I'll keep supporting the candidates and policies and platforms I believe in -- without trashing yours in the process.

Another friend posted a quote today that I absolutely love. Perhaps you've seen it:

"Speaking mindfully is as simple as cultivating the habit of first asking, 'Is it true?' 'Is it kind?' and 'Is it necessary?'"

In this election season, how many of you can consistently respond with a trio of yeses?  I've tried to. I'll continue to try to. In the meantime, I am asking some of you, with all due respect, to do this:

Support your candidate. Support him wholly and often.  Support him with well-thought-out words and examples and, if you prefer, graphics. Support him, most importantly, with statements that are true. 

Please don't do this:

Call the other candidate names. Offer the opinion that his wife is ugly and looks like a monkey.  Present the "facts" that he is a socialist and a Muslim and a secret Al Qaeda operative, and that his birth certificate isn't authentic. That he wants to "take this country down."  That he has a gay son and wears magic Mormon undergarments. And on. And on. And on and on and on and on and on.

No matter whom you support; consider this: Please stop behaving badly. It doesn't become your candidate, and it doesn't become you. And on Nov. 7, we won't be moving to Canada or impeaching anyone. We'll still be here, together, dusting off the scrapes and moving on to the next thing.


  1. Hi there - I stumbled across this post and wanted to comment. Hope I don't rattle on too long.

    I am of two minds on the sentiments you express here.

    Like you, I abhor the utterly mean, nasty, fact-free bent in our political discourse, and the havoc it wreaks upon our society and our personal relationships.

    But my abhorrence is tempered with anger - at the idea that some of the things being propagated ARE wrong, and ARE demonstrably lies. There are some who profit - financially and politically - by such lies being spread.

    People are making their decisions - not just in politics, but in life - based on those lies. If people want to screw up their own lives, that's their business, but screwing up the country and society is a different matter.

    I feel it's incumbent upon people of good faith - whatever their politics - to combat this nonsense. Not to disabuse the people spreading said nonsense of their falsely held ideas - rather, it must be done as an attempt to prevent *others* from taking those ideas seriously.

    I also feel it's morally required to combat nonsense in a civil and intellectually honest way.

    I don't believe this to just be true of politics, but of any area of discussion - science, education, whatever.

  2. I'm glad you stumbled upon the blog, and I truly appreciate that you took the time to respond. I wrestled with the issue that you lay out here, and I appreciate your bringing it up. I don't know what the solution is, as the lies ARE maddening. I wish it all could be dealt with more civilly, but that clearly doesn't seem to be on the horizon anytime soon.