This recent election cycle was...a doozy.
I think that the constant, daily bombardment of negative political ads, depressing NPR/MSNBC political analysis, and pull-your-hair-out-scream-at-the-tv-I-can't-believe-that-idiot-just-said-that-out-loud-in-front-of-cameras has taken it's toll. It has really, really messed with my psyche. I blame Fox News, a couple of crazy ladies from Alaska and Minnesota, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, a windbag with the worst comb over in televised history who really needs to be FIRED from NBC, and Ted Nugent. Oh, and let's not forget Chuck Norris, who has shared that he and his trophy wife are really, really, really afraid for the future of this nation. Why don't you hop down into a bomb shelter, Chuck, and wait until after the end times, when it is safe to come out? I hear that Dec. 22nd is a good day to do that. Then you can have the mean streets of America all to your scared little self.
Facebook hasn't been a very friendly place to wander lately, either. It feels like a physical slap in the face whenever someone posts a thought that is contrary to your own.
" Wait a minute.... she actually LIKED the Mitt Romney page??"
" Paul Ryan is hot?" WTF???
It feels even worse when you post a picture of your own car's bumper sticker vandalism and the inlaws clog up your newsfeed for the rest of the evening with Romney "likes". Nice.
I need a break. I need a break from all things judgmental. I'm tired of the urge to judge others and of being judged myself. Social media is always quick to step in with some new group that you can look down upon. Right now I look down on men who proudly march around with a bayonet in one hand, and a binder in the other. That will be subject to change though, I'm sure. Um, no. No it won't. I think I will always look down on them. Men who walk around with a taser and an iPad are *much* cooler.
See, here's the thing. If the Republican party is to survive (which I certainly hope it does not, in it's current form), it needs to heed the message it received on election night that we are ALL citizens of this nation, regardless of our ethnicity, gender or spiritual beliefs - and we all count. If this nation does happen to fall from grace on the worldwide stage, it will be because half of our citizenry's refusal to adapt to a changing climate and culture, not because a rape victim gets an abortion, or two men get married, or because we invest in alternative energies. I am tired of the GOP's message to the voting public that immigrants, non-Christians, women, environmentalists, and gays will always be regarded as 'Other'. That is the message I received at least 30 times a day for the past three months. We all belong here, and I'm tired of being looked down upon because I supposedly do not embrace good, 'American' values. I know that it is the upper echelons of the GOP that control the party's message - and the evangelical agenda pushers that are behind them. I wonder if the average, moderately conservative Republican is as disgusted with their party as the rest of us are?
I've had to stuff down a lot of my angry feelings towards this unfair rhetoric. I have lots of family and a few friends that support the conservative side of things. Some are more vocal than others. I'm sure my liberal rants bother them just as much as their negative posts about Obama's administrative policies bother me. I do my best to ignore them and not engage in political discourse. The last time I stepped up to say something, about 2 years ago, when I called down my cousin's teenage son for calling President Obama a Socialist on Facebook, it did not turn out well. A line had been crossed in my opinion. You do not disrespect the president by engaging in petty name calling. Period. My cousin lashed back in defense of his son, and said some pretty horrible things about my motives and my intellect in the process. We don't speak anymore. I don't like it when people parade their political views around and wave them in people's faces, like a taunt, baiting someone into an argument. Unfortunately I have a pretty big mouth and can't stand by and say nothing. The blatant disrespect that has been shown to president Obama drives me absolutely batshit crazy, and I am quick to anger when people spout brazenly stupid remarks that have no shred of truth, whatsoever.
An individual's political and religious beliefs can be so interwoven, they are impossible to separate. Our beliefs become us. So when you look down on a belief system that doesn't jive with your own, you can't help but inflict pain on that individual as well. I know I probably do that to quite a few of my friends and family when ever I go off on the utter stupidity and meanness that is Rush Limbaugh. I'm giving a pretty harsh value judgement there, and yes, it transfers on to the person who can actually sit there and listen to his outlandish rhetoric and LIKE what they hear - and yes, I think a little less of you because you do so. Just like you think a little less of me because I listen to NPR, don't go to church, and have an Obama sticker on my car.
So what's the point in all this? Maybe instead of always looking for someone to look down on, look for like-minded friends instead and channel your energies that way. Friends give us comfort. Hope. A sense of knowing. If you work to surround yourself with an emotional support network of those who feel as you do, then they will understand the depth to which you have searched your own soul for answers. There is safety in knowing you won't offend and that there is a reliable person to turn to when you need reassurance that it will all turn out okay, and that you don't really need to set up a perimeter trip wire to protect yourself against those 2nd amendment fans around the corner that got guns to protect themselves from you and your heathen, liberal ways. (For the record, the 2nd amendment is perfectly acceptable. Crazies like Ted Nugent are not.)
I've got a pretty good network. My husband, of course, and family and friends Pam, Deb, Amy, Shawn, Lyndy, Vickie, Gail and April have been phenomenal in the past four years in regularly posting political and social/cultural food-for-thought. You are my intellectual lifeline and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping the important social issues continuously on the radar for all of us. I especially appreciated the item-by-item break down of the Affordable Care Act written in plain language (thanks, Pam!) and the regular doses of The Daily Show. (Thanks, Shawn!)
One more thing... I am so very thankful that my immediate family is my greatest emotional support network of all. I would like to give my brother a special shout out - your humor will always bring a smile to my face...even on voting day..
(I protest!!! That's virtual vandalism!!!!!)