Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Can't We All Just Get Along

Red and I landed in Beijing on Sept 27th and there has been plenty of drawbacks and advantages to living in China rather than the States for the last six weeks. It sucks that it is so much colder here, but it is great that I no longer have a car payment. It sucks that we have no control over the temperature of our apartment (the government decides when to turn on the heat), but it's great that we can just step right outside to buy great and cheap food.

But I think the best part of not being in the States for the entire month of October has to be living on the other side of the world in the month leading up to the presidential election. All the political stuff came to a screeching halt as soon as we left the country and I cannot begin to express how freeing that was.

All the hatred and vitriolic content was still on Facebook, but that is very very easy to shut off. I just avoid those posts or walk away from the computer. Quite easy to do and there was no stress involved. The nice part was that outside of my computer, this election almost ceased to exist.

The only discussions of politics that I have had since coming to China has been on the rare occasion that I've run into another English speaker. I've talked American politics with an Irishman, an Australian and a Moroccan. Luckily, they were all civil conversations despite having very different ideas about what is best for America. Something that is hard to come by in the States if you are not in a room full of like-minded individuals.


I really don't understand the venomous attitude toward our fellow man that seems to go hand in hand with politics. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. That is a key belief for living in a free society. Another key part of that is the freedom that any of us have to tell someone that we disagree with them. Believe it or not, both of these freedoms are supposed to be good things. They are good things.

However, for some reason, as soon as that difference in opinion concerns politics, everyone assumes that the person who disagrees with them does so because of extreme stupidity, close-mindedness or lack of morals. Almost everyone agrees that a child should grow up to be his own person who thinks for himself until that same free-thinking child has a political opinion that does not align to their own.

Almost everyone agrees that a political candidate who utilizes mud-slinging as a tactic should be looked down upon, but that same person is usually happy to use those same dirty tactics when arguing their political view. To make it worse, quite often the person who is defending their candidate isn't just slinging venom at their candidate's opponent, but also at the person they are debating with. In many cases, it is a friend, coworker or family member. What switches off in their brain to make them not notice how they are talking to this person?

I completely understand that there is a lot at stake in this election. I also understand that there are some fundamentally different beliefs about how most of our nation's issues should be addressed. I especially understand that we have an exceptionally angry electorate for this political season. What I do not understand is how that anger is directed at the guy across the street who has the wrong political sign in his front yard.

I definitely have my political opinions. And I am more than willing to share them if I feel that I am in a safe environment to do so. I am also willing to openly disagree with someone and allow someone to disagree with me. I will even go as far as to say that I greatly enjoy a good debate and I am thrilled when I encounter a person who feels the same way. Especially when they disagree with me. However, it is rare that I encounter those people.

I know that it is almost over, but everyone has the opportunity to be nicer to people today as they head to the polls. The ads will stop in the next day, but politics will still exist. Can we just respect each other now?

4 comments:

  1. Well said. I think some of it is our "Yankee" heritage and natural outspokenness. But the mud slinging is disgusting.

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    Replies
    1. I've never seen it this bad...and it only got worse after the election.

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  2. But MY candidate is the best, and yours is terrible, no matter how much research you did! I did my own research, through additional media outlets that also still favor the candidate I had decided is right. I know I'm right, so considering sources from outside my viewpoint is idiotic.

    Excuse me while I go unfriend everyone who disagrees with me.

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    Replies
    1. I need more friends who will never disagree with me.

      Delete

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