Four years ago I thought the political environment couldn’t get any worse. The two parties were in constant disagreement, same-party candidates were in-fighting, political opponents were at each other’s throats, the TV ads were negative, and it all started about two years before the presidential election was to take place.
Sadly, it went downhill from there.
Forget that nearly ALL political ads are negative. Forget that the candidates genuinely hate each other. And for a moment, forget that Washington is getting nothing accomplished.Now we’ve got we the people taking things to the next level by spewing venom, bashing candidates, and being far more confrontational than the politicians have ever been. Friends are at odds, family members aren’t talking, and co-workers avoid any political issue like the plague.
It’s embarrassing how childish people are acting this election year and the lack of respect shown to one another is truly shameful. The elections, perhaps even the political process in general, are turning us against one another. The we-versus-them mindset is trumping the united-we-stand idea.
First, there are the attacks – not just on the candidates, but their supporters. No one should have to be berated for wanting to vote for Romney. No one should be shunned if they feel Obama is the better choice. Some people are spending far too much of their waking moments trying to force others to think as they do.
Secondly, there’s the ignorance factor. Many of us simply don’t know which candidate is right or wrong. At best we think we do based on stuff we read on Twitter, Facebook, blogging sites and 10-second sound bites. Both candidates lie through their teeth – or at the very least have a warped version of reality – and few people take the time to seek out the truth.
Read some of those “Fact Checks” on various things the candidates say. You might be actually be surprised to see that the other guy’s policies and vision match up closer to yours than originally thought.
Next: stubbornness. Once someone makes up their mind, it seems closed forever. Perhaps it’s an unhealthy by-product of the 2-party system or maybe just how our brains are wired. Yet the middle-of-the-road, so-called independent or undecided, voters seem to have the ability to decide based on looking at the ‘big picture’; by considering all the issues. And you know what? They’re the ones with all the power right now.
Think about that for a moment: the independent/undecided voters are the ones holding all the power right now. They have the votes that both Obama and Romney desperately need to win.
We the people, vote these guys into office. We give them the capacity to make decisions on our behalf. Yet we also help, unwittingly perhaps, in their overall strategy by being hateful and uninformed. This needs to end before our democracy does.