A political rant: Demonizing “the other” side

We have two weeks and one day until the election and I can pretty well say most of us are sick of it.  Sick of it.  I can’t listen to another debate, see another political ad from any candidate in any election, or read another Facebook post/rant/status about it.  I wish this was November 7th already and the outcomes of all the elections were known so I could go back to my regularly scheduled life.  I don’t want to rant about politics and this isn’t about politics per se, but about people thinking their political beliefs are so important that anyone who doesn’t agree must be stupid/evil/the reincarnation of Hitler.

Recently a friend of some of my mutual friends made headlines in her town, Nacodoches, Texas, when the Democratic Party of Nacodoches County asked if they could put up some Obama signs on her fences because her house is at the corner of a major intersection.  Being Obama supporters they agreed and quickly the signs were stolen by an immature person(s) with unknown motivations, other than to be total buttmunches.  Heather and her family invited people to come over this last Friday night for a sign party where people could hang homemade signs.  The truly shocking thing was when the local paper ran this story, there were comments in the comments section that actually threatened violence against her family.  Violence!  Because she and her husband aren’t voting for their guy.  I’m sorry, but this is the most unAmerican piece of bull crap I have ever heard.  It doesn’t matter who her family is supporting, she doesn’t deserve to be “target practice” like some comments said.  There are two bright spots in this story.  One is that Heather’s community came together on Friday, mostly made up of people she had never met, to make signs and hang them together.  The next day, according to Heather’s facebook status, the official signs were stolen and the homemade signs were ripped to pieces creating a large mess in her yard.  The second bright spot  is what Heather wrote on Facebook about a family who came to help clean up:

“So grateful.  Ardent Romney supporters (husband, wife, teenage son) just stopped to ask what they could do to help us. They offered to clean up today’s mess or be part of a round-the-clock neighborhood watch to keep this from happening again.  Brent (Heather’s husband) said they were welcome to put up a Romney sign. He said he wasn’t interested in hanging a Romney sign; he was only interested in helping us protect our right to support the candidate we want.  Score (another) one for protecting the political process!”

In one week Heather has witnessed the worst her community has to offer and the best.  Three cheers for the pro-Romney family for doing the American thing, the right thing, and putting politics aside to help out Heather’s family and state that they had the right to hang signs on their own property supporting their candidate of choice.  (You can find Heather’s story here).

Seriously people, have we become so divided, so effed in the head that we actually think that anyone who doesn’t agree with us is therefore against us and deserves to be harassed, have their private property destroyed, and threatened with violence online?  Seriously, who are we?  How is this acceptable?  And spare me the stories of people who have had Romney signs stolen.  I know this happens on both sides and I’m only using Heather’s story as an anecdote to prove a point, and because she is someone I sort of know.  She could be a Romney supporter and this story would still piss me off.

In these times of 24 hour “news” channels, instant access to information on the internet, and the ability to filter out any opinion that does not match our own, we have become a people who have chosen sides against each other instead of with each other.  We are all still Americans no matter who is in the White House, no matter how many seats belong to which side in Congress, no matter who your mayor is, and no matter what yard sign currently occupies your neighbor’s lawn – WE ARE ALL CITIZENS OF THE SAME COUNTRY!  That is the fundamental truth.  We don’t have to agree!  We don’t have to believe that only our side has the right answers!  But we have to get along.  But we have to respect each other as actual human beings with thoughts, and feelings, and lives, and experiences that might not match our own but inform the opinions of others.  I’m sick, sick, sick of all this bipartisanship!  It doesn’t matter who I cast my vote for when I enter into that voting booth (and thank goodness we live in a country with secret ballots).  What matters is that I’m your neighbor no matter what I don’t deserve to DIE because I didn’t choose the same candidate you did.

Not to mention, there are more than two freaking sides in this country.  We have gotten lost in this ridiculous two party system and it’s a major flaw of our political system.  There are actually more than just Democrats and Republicans and a huge diversity of thought among our citizenship.  I’d like to see a debate with ALL the candidates running for President.  Until then, it gives the impression there are only two teams and if you’re not on our team your wrong, wrong, wrong!   And the constant bickering over who is right, who is wrong, who said what, what word was used,  is driving me nuts.

Knowing that who I vote for for President doesn’t matter because I live in Utah and it’s obvious the electorate is going to go for Romney, I’m actually thinking of voting for a third party candidate this year.  Not because I’m against Romney (I am) and not because I’m for Obama (I am), but I’m more against this bull crap of teams, choosing sides, you’re an idiot if you didn’t choose mine.  If you want to see a list of ALL the candidates running for President you can check out this list.   I’m actually considering supporting the Stein/Honkala ticket because their values/positions/beliefs are more in line with mine.  And isn’t this what we all should do?  Support the candidates who actually reflect our opinions/values/beliefs instead of holding our nose and voting for the candidate who doesn’t piss us off the most?  And having more than one political party with actual political clout would cut down on all this two-sided nonsense that only seeks to divide us as citizens of this country.  It actually makes us look bad to people outside of the country who see political pundits and candidates quibble, yell, and pick at the semantics of words and argue over who is the more evil.  Seriously, this the example we want to set for the rest of the world?

I have plenty of political opinions of my own, but I never thought that my opinions somehow impacted someone else’s life.  I don’t care who you vote for…why the hell do you care so much about who I do?  What’s it to you?  When I go into the voting booth it’s just me, myself, and my conscious and the only person I have to answer to is myself.   The same goes for you.  So lay off me if you don’t like political beliefs.  I don’t give a crap, why should you?

I promise you, all those of you who hate the other guy, it doesn’t matter who wins the Presidential election on November 6th…the world will still go on.  If your guy doesn’t win, it doesn’t mean the end of civilization as we know it and if you think that, you’re seriously jaded.  The most important elections are the local ones anyway because those are the ones that have the most direct impact on your actual life.

Stop demonizing the other guy.  Especially if the other guy is your neighbor.  Stop saying a vote for the other guy is like digging up Hitler and making him President.   Stop saying that the world will suddenly come to an end and everything bad that can and will happen if you don’t vote for the guy on my team.  Stop freaking stealing yard signs just because you don’t want that person to win.  Please, please, please be like the Romney supporting family in Heather’s community who put politics aside to help their neighbor.  These people get it.  It doesn’t matter who your neighbor is voting for, it’s about how you treat that neighbor.

I know Martin Luther King, Jr. was talking about segregation and civil rights when he said this, but I find it particularly poignant now that we as a public are at each other’s throats over the “other guy.”

“We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.”

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9 thoughts on “A political rant: Demonizing “the other” side

  1. My feelings exactly. The fear mongering that often exists in political debates is ridiculous. The world will not end if The Other Guy wins. It hasn’t yet and it certainly won’t happen this time around either.

  2. I promise you if Obama wins, within a week the banks will be closed, all government offices will shut down, and soldiers will be marching in the streets.

    Old joke. Veteran’s Day. 😉

      1. It did happen 4 years ago. Veteran’s Day (on which day all government offices and banks are closed and military parades are common) is celebrated the Monday after election day every year. And so it was in 2008, and will be again in 2012. The real beauty is that the same can be said if Romney is elected.

  3. Fantastic, Risa. Heather’s story has made me so angry. Are you friends with Stephanie on Facebook, too? The one whose car (with all its liberal bumper stickers) got vandalized? It happened right around the same time Heather’s thing did. They threw a pumpkin through the back windshield – it actually bounced up to the front windshield and cracked that from the inside, too. So ridiculous. And yet people call you un-American if you don’t vote for the candidate they want.

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