A Little Election Overload

I apologize up front as this post is completely off-topic but occasionally I have to share my personal beliefs. And as much of my frustration on this front is due to a gross misuse of Facebook I don’t feel this is completely inappropriate to put this here.

Last night I posted this message on Facebook:

“Dear Facebook, I will be quitting you for the next 36 to 72 hours except to post an update here or there from my phone. I refuse to read anyone else’s updates about the election and since they’re cluttering up my stream I unfortunately have no choice but to ignore everyone. Sorry. I’m tired of the politics, misplaced anger from each side and the general ridiculous of several people I would like to continue to think of as my friends after November 6. Once everyone is back to their senses of being in the UNITED States, I’ll return. Sincerely, Me. [PS – Why can’t we all just get along?!?!]”

Essentially, I have reached my wit’s end with the election happening today (Thank goodness this will soon be over!). I couldn’t even check my client’s Facebook pages today without being bombarded with anger, resentment and pure ridiculous from both sides of the line. EVERYONE is entitled to their own opinion and EVERYONE has the right to vote their own way. I wanted to shake a few people and yell, “Do you really want to end relationships because someone doesn’t agree with you on who should be President?!” I know many of my friends and I don’t see eye to eye on several issues and I know we’ll be voting differently but I still love them and respect their choices as just that – THEIR CHOICES.

I’ve seen fairly rational people driven to distraction by their friends’ incessant and rampant support of one candidate or the other. Many posts, pictures and statements were turned into a political debate or discussion that quickly became ugly and childish. I saw true hatred come from some people which I just found insane!

What much of this comes down to is Free Speech – and some people not wanting to acknowledge that everyone has that right, not just themselves, and that people can and will disagree with them. As Beatirce Hall summarized of Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” I think many an American has forgotten that’s what TRUE freedom of speech means: it’s not just a freedom YOU have, but one that EVERYONE has, even those that disagree with you and while we might disagree we will still fight for each other to have their say.

How much of this craziness was perpetrated by the fact that social media removes the “accountability” factor for many people? Would you call your friend an idiot to their face in the middle of a discussion? Would you outright call someone stupid in front of all their friends and family if you could see the looks of shock, disappointment and sadness you caused not only for your friend but for everyone around you both? Please consider people’s feelings and reactions to the things you post, even (and maybe especially) during the more stressful situations in life.

Much of this election insanity makes me think of the speech Michael Douglas gave so well as President Andrew Shepard in “The American President”. Specific points such as:

  • “America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad cuz it’s gonna put up a fight.”
  • “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours…Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the “land of the free”.”
  • “We have serious problems and we need serious people to solve them…”
  • “That folks is how you win elections…you gather a group of middle-age, middle-class, middle-income voters, who remember with longing an easier time and you talk to them about family and American values and character…”

Take a watch, remember what being an American is about, remember we are the UNITED States of America, vote today and just breathe. One way or another, America will continue tomorrow, change won’t happen immediately either way and hopefully we can forgive each other and move on with our relationships with no hard feelings.

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