Sunday, November 02, 2008

Bad Mood

I am in such a bad mood. I can't seem to shake it. All weekend long I've felt miserable and crabby and can't get over it.

I am sick of the election. I am sick of people acting like assholes about the election. I think this is what has me down mostly. I think this is what it is. If I could buy a half hour for an infomercial during prime time, it would be about a different kind of change. It would be about how it's perfectly ok to disagree with people and how if you disagree with someone it doesn't mean that they're stupid (sometimes it does, but not usually) that that person is a bigot, or that they're anti-American. It goes both ways. It also doesn't mean that you can't love, admire, have fun with or go have pizza with them.

In fact, it probably means you should do all those things. It is perfectly ok to disagree with people. It's healthy to disagree with people. It is not however, healthy to disagree with people and beat the ever loving sense out of them because you do. Also not ok to vandalize their property, insult their mother or pull their cat's tail. It's not healthy to get into screaming matches with your family members or to exchange a hundred nasty emails with one another. But this is exactly what I've been seeing over and over and over and just because someone doesn't agree with someone else. Who cares?

I personally don't care if people agree with me or not. I have lots of friends and family members who believe differently than I do. I have spent my entire life loving the hell out of people who, on many topics, I strongly disagree. I don't want to agree with every single one of my friends on every single subject because that's boring and narrow minded. I like to get to know lots of different kinds of people and see where they're all coming from and try my best to empathize. I can't always do it, but I can usually find some common ground with most people. I have other friends who are generally great people but who say or do things that I wouldn't say or do if my life depended on it, because they just see things differently than I do.

Obviously I'm not saying it's a free for all where I'll be friends with murderers, pedophiles and dog fighters. I have good judgment and standards. That's something different though. I'm talking about things like politics and religion and other kinds of ideologies. Ultimately they don't matter as much as people think, yet over and over I see people fighting and arguing and ruining everything because other people don't agree with them.

My biological father is a prime example. He has isolated himself from his entire family because they don't share his brand of religion. He lives a tiny, sad little life all because he can't allow himself to be around or love or care about people who don't agree with him on everything.

It's dangerous to isolate yourself like that. It breeds the worst, scariest kind of ignorance. It shuts you out to so many experiences and so much learning. It will make you static and insulated and unless, like my biological father, you go off and live in a cult, on a barbed wire compound, you'll find yourself in situations where you have to work and be around and interact in some ways with people who aren't exactly like you and if you act like an asshole about it, there are going to be big problems.

It's good to be around people who are different than you and to listen to them and to be able to see many, many points of view. You might actually learn something.

It's ok if you have friends and family members who are voting for John McCain or Barack Obama. It doesn't mean that those people are terrorists, racists, war mongers, radicals, communists or Jesus Freaks hell bent on ushering in the second coming. It just means that different things matter to them and that is ok. The world isn't going to end just because someone you know didn't do or think or vote or see something in the exact same way you did.

Think of how bratty that sounds. Consider how spoiled and self-centered and ridiculous it is to throw a tantrum, to insult someone and their family, to get into a fist-fight or to make accusations just because someone wants to vote for someone different than you do. Think about how bad you make the political party you feel so strongly about look, when you act like that. People on both sides of this should be ashamed. It's idiotic.

So just go and vote and try to be compassionate and understanding when people don't have your exact same worldview.

Thank you all for listening to my rant about this. I promise I will try to get in a better mood so that tomorrow I can tell you all about the time I ran for office and what happened as a result.


Renee in Seattle said...

You just said a mouthfull, sister, and I couldn't agree with you more... in fact, I think you just channeled me in your rant.....

Living in Muddy Waters said...

Do you think people have always been this way or this is just something that has occured with the advent of Cheaters and Jerry Springer and the likes?

KT said...

Thanks for a post that was so desperately needed during what I think has been the longest election season EVER. At least it's over in a few days, right?

Can't wait to hear the other story!

Arwen said...

I really really try to just get along. I usually like to debate but I often just get called horrible (untrue) names by people because of my politics. I don't stoop to calling anyone a name until they treat me in a way to deserve that name (and usually not even then... I'm just not a name caller). Then I hear about people like that bitch in Detroit (yes, she deserves the term) who refused to give candy to CHILDREN if their PARENTS support Obama. People like that are the ones who I just can't deal with because she doesn't respect other people's choices and punishes people (children) who have nothing to do with voting anyway. People like that deserve all the contempt that anyone can muster. She is not voicing her opinion, she is censoring mine via my children.

Fancy Schmancy said...

Hear, hear! Or is it Here, here! Whatever, respect each other, get to know each other's differences and embrace them. I think the most important part of this year's amazing election is that we are so divided - make sure to find at least one person on the exact opposite side of the fence and get to know that person. Find out what you have in common and overcome the adversity. We have a rare chance to make history in the next few days. Every effort you make will matter. Please vote!

Paige said...

I am with you, I am so freaking sick of seeing people behave poorly over this.

It really saddens me to see people lose their ever-loving minds

JTN said...

Oh.. i so agree! My brother is a minister and has almost had to break up a couple fistfights... at church!

I wish people would just breathe. I can't tell you how many times people have asked me "What do you think will happen if X wins the election?" (take your pick, I get both) I look them dead in the eye and say "oh.. that's easy. The sun will go down that night, the next day it will rise, and we all go about our lives."

Sometimes I just wish we could just throw them in a ring and let them decide Celebrity Deathmatch Style. It would be faster and more amusing.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to hear about the time you ran for office!!!

P.S. I hope you run for president some day! I would love to vote for someone who had as much down-to-earth common sense as you do.

MamaD4 said...

I've knocked a couple of people out of my blogroll, though I doubt they would know or care, just because their blog entries lately have been 100% political. Let's just say they are on one side of the fence and I'm on the other and the names and derogatory comments they were calling the folks on my side of the fence got to be too much.

I'm so thankful that we're stationed overseas right now and don't have to see the commercials or take calls from one party or the other...!

Thank you for not being overly political, because I can give up other, lesser blogs, but never Wide Lawns!!

kerry said...

I am absolutely with you. I think that's the most damaging thing lately in politics- this feeling that we all have to agree. We've disagreed over politics since the beginning... so what... 250 years? Did I do the math right? 225 maybe. It's fine to disagree. I admit I'm a bit disappointed over certain people who I know will vote on certain issues, but that doesn't mean I get to despise or shut them out. That's not right.

Here's to healthy disagreement!

Blind Mind said...

Right on WL. Ive been ranting about this same thing for awhile now. Your right to vote is a PERSONAL right and a PERSONAL decision. It really shouldnt matter to you what your neighbor's decision is. You can listen if he/she wishes to explain their position but its wrong to judge. Some people feel like a nut, some dont. I had a nice discussion with a woman while we waited in line to vote. We shared opposing views on who to vote for. She had her reasons for disliking Obama that I felt were fueled by the media but I didnt try to change her mind. I just explained that I dont care about all of the off-topic bs that the media spews and I was making my decision based on my understanding of the candidate, his position on the issues, and his quest to empower people to get involved. She understood and respected my position and we continued to talk for the next 2 hours in line.

mattbg said...

I'm tired of it, too, and I don't even live in the US. The debate reduces otherwise sensible and intelligent people to irrational single-faceted morons and I don't understand it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for saying this. I don't really identify with either political party and so often I am considered weak-willed or flakey or worse when people find out. The democrats like to act as if I am hiding some secret racism and the republicans like to act as if I am a secret communist. Maybe I just don't see a point in allowing a political party to determine my views? Maybe I like to make up my own mind and then vote according to my conscience?

Pat said...

So, I need to ask you all.

Was I an A$$ #Ole?

At dinner the other night with eight couples in total. For days, my "friend," who "is as nice as she can be," has been bringing up the election. I had not fallen for the bait, not even when i volunteered to drive to early vote and they annoyed me all the time about Obama's policies.

I kept my mouth shut and when it was pointed out I was quiet, which I never am, I said that Florida drivers are dangerous and I was just concentrating on the road.

Well anyway, we all went out to play golf on Saturday and one person had to tell the "cutest" joke. It turned out to be a racist joke about Obama. I said nothing.

So the joke was repeated in front of a few more people and I said nothing, but when it was repeated a third time I suggested no one answer the Knock Knock unless they wanted to hear a racist joke.

My pressure cooker lid came off and my husband says that i was aggressive. I believe that if you stand aside and listen to a racist joke and say nothing, you in fact endorse the emotion.

Everyone there thinks I was an A$$ #ole. I apologized for being aggressive and overreacting to a joke, even though I don't think standing up for it was wrong. I never brought up politics, but I am expected not to have an opinion.

I COULD have passed around a number of McCain jokes or a thousand Sarah Palin jokes but i didn't because I don't approve, of sexism, ageism nor racism. OK...I sent out the Obama /Palin as contestants in dancing with the stars, because it was an equal opportunity offender. Actually, THAT was a funny one.

They all hate me now, but that seems to be the story of my life! Born with some weird sensibility, I guess.

kerry said...

Pat, I don't think you were out of line. I agree that silence in the face of something clearly offensive is tacit consent, tacit agreement. Good for you for standing up. I'm sorry your friends think you're an a-hole for it.

I think it's unfair of your friends to demand that you agree with them.

Wide Lawns said...

Pat it wasn't out of line at all. It was the right thing to do. You can not sit by and let people make racist jokes. If you don't say something you're just as bad as they are. I recently found myself in a similar situation and you better believe I didn't keep quiet. I'm proud of you. And it was also good of you not to pass around the sexist/agist jokes either. It fuels mean-ness.

Anonymous said...

Hallelujah! A rational voice during all this craziness. I cannot wait till the election is over no matter who wins.

Blind Mind said...

Pat - Ive been subjected to the same thing. I spend time with 3 people who use the n-word on a daily basis, yet claim not to be racist. Whether its jokes or just plain insults, the word is offensive. Now, Im no patron saint myself. There was a time where I used that word but I was a kid and didnt know any better nor realize how offensive the word was. I just thought it sounded funny. Ive long since changed my ways and removed that from my vocabulary along with many other racial slurs. Anyhow, as the election has gone on, the n-word has been used by these 3 more and more. I thought about accusing them of being racist and showing anger but that wouldnt really work because it would be attacking them and provoking a defense response. Instead, I just said, "Im surprised to hear you use that word so much. I always thought you were a better person than that." Im not sure if it worked but the conversation ended with everyone knowing I didnt care for that word so hopefully it will curtail further usage.

I think you did the right thing but its always best to take the emotion out of it.

Pat said...

I guess I proved the adage true, that one shouldn't discuss politics nor religion...and I'll add this part...especially when you've all had a few beverages.

I wonder if my neighbor liked the article in this morning's paper, that showed a photo of an Obama poster hanging on a tree with his eye gouged out and a knife in his head. The fellow who hung it said he only used a knife because he didn't have a nail. Hahahahhaha! I just split my sides laughing over that one! He added : "It's just a joke!"

I also grew up in a racist household. My parents hated EVERYONE and it took me a long time to learn that it was about SELF loathing.

Do I jump to a little racial profiling now and then? I'm human and yes, old habits die hard.

Maybe I got a little loud about it, but it bothers me that I'm the bad guy now. It's easier to be mad at me than to face one's own lack of principle.

Thanks for the responses.

TK said...

Thanks so much for this post, I get so tired of being "painted" with someone's personal angry brush because they assume something about me (and others of course) based on my general political affiliation. Or my religious direction. Or my gender and/or persuasion. And if "friends" can be so judgmental and mean, it's no wonder complete strangers want to eviscerate each other. I wish people could just grow up.

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