Monday, November 05, 2012

Gah, Politics

I will be so happy when tomorrow is over and life can stop revolving around political signs, political posts, incredibly annoying and invasive political phone calls, the even more irritating political door-to-doors, political debates, political flyers, political commercials, political...well, you get the idea.

I think the thing that annoys me the most about all of politics is that apparently people absolutely CANNOT discuss the matter with an opponent without degrading into mudslinging and name-calling. The word 'ignorant' gets thrown about with abandon. Ordinarily rational people froth at the mouth with the need to bash people over the head with their opinion, which of course is not an opinion but a FACT, and anyone with -any- intelligence whatsoever would clearly see that, you uncouth savage.

I have observed entirely too many "conversations" (and oh, I use that word with the most tenuous of connections to the actual definition) that almost immediately become a trade of insults.

Please tell me, when in your life have you ever seen this happen:

"Oh, I'm an ignorant pathetic blind moron who has no concept of what's really going on in the world? Yes, by all means, let me become exactly like YOU and vote your way! You have me convinced!" Followed by rainbows and sunshine and beautiful theme music.

Um, that would be never.

A few helpful hints, if you absolutely MUST discuss your political OPINION:

* Don't call the other candidate by a name that is a derogatory pun. It's not funny, it reflects poorly on you, and you have shut off the other person before you have even finished your first sentence.

* Don't call other people names, period. Do not insult their intelligence. Do not insult them at all.

* If you cannot defend your opinion in calm, rational terms, shut the everloving hell up. Raising another person's hackles is never going to be a way to let them look objectively at what you are trying to say. You are not helping yourself, or your position, or your candidate.

* Always, ALWAYS respect that everyone is entitled to an opinion, and that it does NOT need to be the same as yours.

* Accept that someone with a differing opinion is extremely unlikely to change it just because you want them to.

* Learn how to walk away. ESPECIALLY if someone says to change the subject, or that they don't want to talk about it anymore. Stop immediately. Immediately. Do NOT give in to the desire to cram in the last word. Agree to disagree.

* Remember who you are talking to. Is it really worth losing a friend or alienating a family member or coworker over this? The day after the election, some of the debris being cleared, besides the leftover political signs, could very well be the shreds of a relationship that mattered.

Generally speaking, I don't discuss politics. I utterly and totally hate the weeks leading up to a major election, when I watch the screaming and yelling around me reaching a fever pitch, even as people stopper their own ears to any other voices. I hate seeing people using mass forms of communication (email, Facebook, a usually benign humor blog) to spew forth unsolicited commercials for their favored party or candidate.

Today, in fact, I received an email from someone in my community who has been sending out fairly regular emails regarding local events, the historical society, information about the volunteer firefighter fundraisers, that sort of thing. This time, he was using this email list (which I had never signed up for, by the way...he got local people's email addresses from some other source) to state his own opinions about candidates and issues, telling people how he is voting. I replied and asked him to remove me from his email list. He sent back an email saying that he didn't know how he got my email in the first place (um, if you don't know who you're sending email to, do NOT send political crap, please), that he "usually doesn't go overboard like this."  Uh huh. Sure. Whatever. Just get my name off your contact list, guy.

I'll be voting tomorrow. A very few of my friends and family know what I'll be voting on and what my vote will be. A lot of them don't know, but could probably guess, based on what and how much they know about me. And some have no idea at all.

And that's the way I like it. ~mk


Anonymous said...

Hi mk - "...shut the everloving hell up..."; that was great! I love that line! I tried using it on the wife; it didn't go over too well!! Couldn't agree with you more; it was an awful couple of weeks before the election.

Now, by the time you read this, you have either observed (or were a part of) Black Friday. Please tell me that you saw some of the animalistic ways people were acting on the news! Did you partake yourself? I actually feel sad for this country, because these people really don't understand what Christmas is all about. I guess, to them, it's all about the 'goods'. Whaddya think?

PS - Hope your Thanksgiving was very, very PEACEFUL!


markira said...

omg Paul, that's hilarious that you tried that on your wife. Took me a few minutes to stop laughing so I could respond!

I participate in Black Friday every year, including waiting outside the store for two or three hours before it opens. Fortunately, where I live people are actually pretty well-behaved. It -is- unbelievably crowded, but it's not a 'mob' like they show on TV.

I actually don't watch TV for the most part, and never the news, so I didn't see any of the clips of the crazy people other places this year. I've seen and heard about it other years, though, and it does make me shake my head at how some people totally lose their grip on civility.

My Thanksgiving was very quiet, the rest of the weekend was super busy but very nice. I hope your holiday went well!! :) ~mk