Flag at Visitor's Center in Zion National Park--July

Flag at Visitor Center in Zion National Park--July 2008

When I first started blogging, I said that I would likely not enter my words into the political arena. I have kept true to that, I think. (Although I have left a comment here or there on political posts.) But today these things are nagging me, and I just have to say them.

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But FIRST…

SO much more important than any amount of politics, it is my cousin’s 40th birthday! As is tradition for our family, I have not sent her gift yet (part of it is done and did not require my creating a package, so that was easy), even though it was my full intention to send something exciting and ON TIME since it was her 40th. Maybe if you all go say Happy Birthday on her blog, it will be as good as something big I could have sent. (I even knew what I wanted to do, but now it is too late.)

(I was going to insert a picture here, but I thought an unauthorized one might get me in REALLY big trouble!)

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OK, back to the politics.

Jeri at In the Gutter said something to this tune a few days ago and has earlier said it on her blog–where she basically banned political discussions.

Why do people have to be so NASTY about it? Can people not just express and opinion and not be judged as a person because of it?

I rarely voice my political opinions. For one thing they are complicated. I would call myself an Independent, but there are not a lot of good choices from that category; I cannot fully embrace either of the major parties in our country. A lot of people who know me would naturally assume I would be of one political persuasion because of my lifestyle. Others think the exact opposite because of the things certain opinions of which they are aware. But truthfully, I am a mix of everything–and nothing.

A bigger reason my political opinions are not worn on my sleeve is because of the reactions of people who disagree. This is completely annoying to me because if they disagree with me, I obviously disagree with them, but I take extra pains to not treat those people as lesser human beings because they disagree with me. Those people usually do not go to the same pains on my behalf. (I am tough and can handle it, but it irritates me.)

Yesterday evening, I was walking with my daughters to take one of their friends home. The parents had a campaign sign in their yard. I asked if I could have it tonight so I could use it for a base when I need to put out signs at school. (For our Fall Festival, I made signs and put them on real estate signs that cost me $15 each. One was stolen the first day. I am now trying to collect less expensive signs.) They had an extra and told me they would be happy to let me have all (and they knew where to find some that had been thrown in the street), but they jokingly said I had to put the sign in my yard until the election was over. That was about 26 hours, so I decided I would. I guess I should not be surprised, but the sign was gone this morning. Why would someone want to steal it?

When I was riding my bike to school this morning, I there was a sign that had been twisted and thrown into my path for the candidate opposite of what was in my yard. Why would someone do that?

Why would people put opinions on their blogs that go beyond opinions on policies and platforms, but instead disparage the people who might disagree with them? Do people think there is only one way to look at things (their own)?  Do people think that it is just fine to say all who disagree are idiots, for lack of a better word? Call me crazy, but I think that people of all persuasions come to my blog and most others. I know I would not throw vile comments about those who disagree with me in any way out on my blog. From looking around, I know there are a lot of people who disagree with me, but I like those people anyway. I have met so many wonderful, interesting and considerate people through blogging. Some have political opinions similar to mine, some do not. Some, I have no idea. It does not matter; it is not important to me.

An interesting side note to this is something I have learned from my first grade daughter. Apparently there is quite a lot of political discussion at school. She has asked both Prince Charming and I who we are voting for (although we share common ideals, we do not necessarily vote the same on every single office/issue). We have told her, and she immediately says that is who SHE supports. We have tried to make her understand that she should not support anyone just because we do, or because her friends do, or because of ANYONE but instead to base her support on what she believes. And she is too  young to research and have a belief system that would pick a candidate, but we do not want to cram our opinions down her throat. (I wonder why any parent would.) Anyway, we told her that at school, she does not need to tell everyone who “she” supports because she does not understand enough to know who she supports. I guess she has kept that to herself, but she has reported back who others support. I found it hilarious because I teach these kids once a week. There is a clear division of political preferences. The children who cause trouble in class, refuse to follow directions, do not bring assigned materials to class, etc. are of the same political persuasion. (Or I should say, apparently their parents are. Obviously being 6 and 7 years old, I hesistate to say they have true political persuasions other than those instilled by their parents.) The kids who follow directions, listen in class and clean up after themselves are of the opposite political persuasion.

This was NOT a scientific study, just an observation. It did not include every child I teach. It made me laugh because I would have never predicted such a thing. If only I had the time to pursue a doctorate… I have so many discertation topics rolling around in my head.

I have gotten a bit side-tracked here, but have one more point to make. The BIGGEST reason I do not voice my political opinions is because when I encounter people who do, they usually do it loudly and annoyingly and often obnoxiously. (I am not saying that this is always the case. There have been a few blogs I have read that voiced their opinions in a rational, tolerant manner.) Someday I am sure I will write a post about “negative role models,” but for now I will say that sometimes what I do, or do not do, is because I do not want to be like someone else. My keeping my politics to myself is largely because I do not want to be like many of the people who do not.

So tomorrow, can everyone be nice again? Most everyone is nice most of the time, but then it gets to politics, and it all falls apart. I know I am tired of all of it. I do not even watch television so do not get that bombardment, and I am STILL tired of it.  It bothers me so much that we exert such energy into criticizing one another for our own beliefs and opinions. I believe that energy could be better spent for worthwhile endeavors.

I promise to be nice tomorrow (but I am pretty sure I have been nice in the past) and to almost NEVER post about politics!

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