I have been disheartened lately by the barrage of negative ads, phone calls, news coverage, campaigners at my door, and the daily stack of campaign mail. Maybe it’s always like this but this is the first year I’ve been so immersed in campaign coverage. It seems to be more negative than ever. To top it all off I was virtually-attacked by a “friend” on facebook (an acquaintance, actually) for my choice in presidential candidate. Her confrontation touched on my faith, my standing with God, my wisdom, my judgment, my intelligence, and the list goes on and on. I also have had some nasty comments posted on my blog in response to posts I didn’t even think were political. I welcome comments that challenge my views on my blog, but I don’t post them unless they’re respectful. Why does it all have to get so dirty?
When this election is over and the winner is known, we all have to live together. How are we going to move ahead after viciously attacking each other? I don’t know how the candidates will do it – whoever wins president, the other one will still be in the Senate. Are they just going to act like neither said all the things they both, in fact, said?
I do have some hope. Quite a bit in fact. Last night we had a good friend over for dinner while his wife is out of town. Over grilled salmon we discovered he’s on the fence of who to choose for president. We had a really interesting discussion of the pros and cons of both candidates, hesitations we each had about both candidates, etc. It was wonderful and engaging even when we disagreed. I don’t know who he’ll vote for but I’m grateful we talked and he challenged me to look closely at why I support my candidate.
I also had a good discussion with a friend during a girl’s weekend at the beach a few weeks ago. She’s a Republican and, in all earnestness, I asked her why. She’s an intelligent woman whom I trust and so I honestly wanted to hear how she arrived at her political views. Because I asked in openness, not in an attempt to sway her or attack her, she responded openly herself and we had several healthy conversations during the course of the weekend. She helped open my eyes to things I hadn’t considered, as did our friend at dinner last night. Thank you to both of you for that.
The key as I see is not swaying everyone I know to share my views. Instead we should all be striving for open, earnest dialogue where we don’t agree. We have so much to learn from each other. When we violently attack, we shut people down, eliminating any chance of true dialogue. I hope the candidates can figure out how to do this. More importantly, I hope I can be someone who does this.