Can we talk about the human side of this election? Yanno, the post-voting fallout?
I’m stunned by the numbers of people posting complete vitriol–from both sides. On my personal Facebook page it’s been limited, but frankly I think that has more to do with having a small circle of friends than anything else. Even within that small circle, I’ve seen plenty of people unFriending each other. Is the shrinking middle class being reflected in shrinking moderation in all areas?
If you’re new to Fringeland, let me tell you now, I’m broke and lean left. If you’re already offended, this blog isn’t for you.
I have friends on both sides, listen to opinions on both sides, see the same facts and figures get skewed by both sides. To me the choice, if not all of the issues, was clear. For all of my reading and listening, I don’t really understand how some of my friends have the beliefs they do. Some, I think I get it even if I disagree, based on clues and things I know are true in their lives.
Others, I don’t get it at all. It seems to me they’re fighting against their own interests, one foot in the same muck mine is in and the other heel grinding into the dirt to be buried alongside the first one.
But here’s the thing. I know they’re looking, listening/reading, and thinking the same about me. They believe our country, our values, and our basic rights are slipping away under Obama. And no, I’m not talking about any of the hateful, ignorant worms we’ve all seen photos of and quotes from online– you know the ones, those who proudly held up signs saying “Bring the White Back into the White House,” or any of their despicable cohorts.
I’m talking about people who aren’t in the 1%, people who are intelligent, reasonably well read, often highly educated. Maybe they have children they’d like to send to college, maybe they have children with significant chronic medical needs, maybe they work union jobs, maybe they’re on disability, or collecting unemployment benefits, maybe they’re women, maybe they’re people of color, maybe they consider themselves caring and moral people (with or without religion), maybe they’re gay, maybe they’re counting on help from FEMA, or the Federal government to rebuild the infrastructure of their community in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
In my opinion, these are all people who have the potential to benefit more from Obama than they would have under Romney. Some of them disagree. Fine. I accept that, I was raised with and am quite comfortable with our two party system. Frankly, I’d like to see some teeth from one or two of the smaller alternative parties in addition, to keep people thinking and evolving along with the world. I don’t have enough hubris to write all of these people off, blanketing myself in the assumption that they’re all either dim, heartless, or evil.
Some people ranting, roaring, and picketing is good. We need people with that level of passion to get everyone else paying attention. I admire those who fully devote themselves to the causes they believe in, and I thank them for putting their time and energy into these causes, caring enough to keep up the work and attention when elections end, and others might think there’s no more work to be done.
I rarely, rarely see honest, potentially helpful political discourse. The closest is Real Time with Bill Maher, which I’m sure will have 2 of my 3 readers screaming at the computer screen when they read this. The third will wail that I’m rolling over and giving in, not passionate enough.
But. When did it turn into everyone screaming? If everyone is screaming, no one is listening. I see rants, misleading partial quotes, and a whole lotta lalalala.
I grew up in a home where there was a lot of political arguing. My father would rant, calling my brother a fascist and my brother would bellow back, calling my father a communist. I would go hide in my room, wishing they would both shut the fuck up. The past year has felt like old home week. Except I’m not hiding in my room and don’t want everyone to shut up. I care very deeply about my life, your life, and the world my children are going to live in. Just lower your voices so I can hear your words, and the intention behind them.