Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dah-bates

I have no recollection of my mother and father discussing politics except for the one-liner my father would trot out each presidential election year.  He would say mom cancelled out his vote. You see, he would vote Republican, and she would vote Democrat. He would joke they could save the trip to the polling place, as soon as they were done choosing, one ballot negated the other.   

Still they voted in every election.

The only time Mom voted as a Republican was when she voted in a primary against Richard Nixon who she "just did not want to be president."  When Hubert Humphrey died, my father mourned.  Even though my dad never voted for him, he had great respect for the man.  I remember them both reading Harry Truman's autobiography.

My father and mother respected people in public service, even when they didn't agree with their politics.  Perhaps around others my dad was more vehement, but he never assaulted the politicians' character that I recall.

I endeavor to do the same.


This week, the last big debate was aired.  I did not watch it.  I am not on the fence, I know for whom I will vote.  I would tag these moderated exchanges as informational programs for those who are undecided.  However, I understand folks watch them for all sorts of reasons.  I understand there are people who study the science of politics.  What I don't understand or appreciate are those who are steadfast in their opinion of their candidate yet, or maybe because of this passion, are driven to watch with the goal of dissecting behaviors exhibited and words chosen to use to mock the opponent.  That is not political commentary, that is just unkind and disrespectful.

In overheard conversations, tweets, facebook status updates, and on blogs, I've read all sorts of cruel  comments about the men themselves.  I don't mean criticisms of their stands, I mean criticism of the way they stand, look, act, sound.  I've read attacks on their character.  I've read name calling.

As a nation of media junkies, we claim we hate how the media shrinks speeches into soundbites, yet we create and perpetuate such soundbites--or wordbites--via social media (Big Bird and notebooks come to mind).  We claim we hate attack ads, yet we attack.   Such behaviors are divisive in ways we cannot measure.

President Obama and Governor Romney are two men of great intelligence and achievement.  The pressures they both face are those we cannot imagine.  Though guided by advisory panels, when they stand in front of those cameras, they stand alone as they work to encapsulate how they hope to restructure this country in short, timed presentations.  They seek to be understood.

Are either one of them all bad?  There is no hero, and there is no villain.   When Election Day has passed, when Inaugural Day approaches, history will continue to be made no matter which man is chosen.  Perhaps if we, the citizens, stand behind our President, pray for our President, and truly are patriotic, there will be more peace among us and commonalities would be valued more than disagreements.





15 comments:

  1. I won't deny that I am one of the very political(I volunteer several times a week and belong to several political organizations locally) and that I post more political statuses every day than you care to see, but I do try to avoid the snarky stuff (most of the time, I'm not perfect and usually when I indulge it's humor not pure meanness). I was also raised to respect the president whether or not I agree with him. I don't think that means we can't protest him/her.

    *I respectfully disagree about our present president's virtues.

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    1. I never said true protest was wrong. I believe in the First Amendment, of course.

      Virtues? I mentioned intelligence and achievements.

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  2. Just vote for me as prez, you won't be disappointed..lol

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  3. Well said! Neither candidate is perfect, but then neither are any of us.

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  4. I cant help it - I'm distracted by physical things - Obama's delicate hands & Romney's eye brows... I'm shallow :) Honestly, its because I zone out to what they're saying... & feel like its all a lie anyways. I honestly dont know why I watch in the first place.

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  5. Very nicely said. I wish I could be a little more polite in writing about politics. I do know that it's very easy to vilify the other side and reduce them to stereotypes. We should all try to avoid this, no matter who we're voting for. I have many friends and family members, many loved ones, who are on the other side of the political fence. I cannot see them as the bad guy. There's a bit of an indictment of our society in how quick we are these days to write off those who disagree with us.

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  6. Oops, sorry that was me, Scott W.

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  7. I guess there are some people whose families all vote the same way, but mine is not that way--mostly because of me. I don't bring it up with them, because I love them and I don't want to spend our precious time together arguing.

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  8. I have avoided commenting on most political posts, mainly because that is not why I Facebook or blog. This is my social time.

    But I will say, I do agree with your last paragraph whole-heartedly. I voted early, and now I am done. May each person vote with a pure heart & comment the same.

    Sadly, I doubt (either of) my wishes will be honored...

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I'd like to be humble and say I only blog to record the doings of my life, but really, I blog for conversation, and I would love to hear from you. It's okay if you don't agree with me, that's what makes life interesting.