For the past year, Facebook has heated up about political issues. I used to turn off television during election time because of all the bashing that went on between parties. Maybe I was being overly sensitive, but it was loud, obnoxious and mean - in my perception.
When I first got on Facebook, I loved that I could have an outlet of being social with friends, seeing photos they put up of their kids or family and be able to laugh and joke with them. I liked that if they had a concern; I could know about it and pray for them. I even use Facebook for work when someone doesn’t have time to send me photos - they say, “Just grab them from my Facebook.”
When people started posting news links and political links, some of them came from unreliable sources.
It made it hard to decide what was true or not - especially for me if I wanted to read the things I was not familiar with. Politics was one of them. Now, being on my own and deciding things for myself in this big, wide world with all that I don't understand; I have tried to learn about politics.
I have many friends who are Democrats and Republicans alike. Though, I lean conservative, I had never bashed either side or jumped on the band-wagon of passion for one party over another. I have friends who do. I wanted to understand their passions in this, so I tried to become more aware about political issues, which I always felt were 'over my head'. As I listened to calm, reasoning from friends, I learned more and was grateful for that opportunity. But it seems that more often than not; political issues cannot be discussed calmly or reasonably anymore.
I had done an interview last year with a man who was a die-hard Democrat and he basically talked about 'people's rights'. A defense attorney, he was passionate about people's rights no matter if we think they are right or wrong – they have a right to be represented and heard. I also had interviewed a man who was running for a local office and I didn’t know it. We couldn’t run the story until after elections but I just wanted to interview the man, I had no idea about the political part.
In talking with people of different backgrounds it made me aware of how many of us want to convert those who are not like us; but being different or having a different belief doesn't mean anyone is 'bad' and that we should discount them because they have different views.
I have interviewed a few Jewish people and, though I am a Christian, I still liked them and what they bring into the world. I have always been someone who believes in others rights to their belief. I am not closed minded to follow one party, one religion, or one gender's thinking.... and become like-minded just because we are of the same cloth. I attend a Presbyterian church right now because that is where my heart is. But I have been a part of Methodist churches, Baptist churches and I even tried a Pentecostal church for a while. I learned over time what my style of how I wanted to worship is.
No matter what my belief is, one thing I have always known is that God wants me to love. I have my beliefs and I like to share them with others, but in doing so... I don't put them down for their belief. I don't spew out hateful words or admonish them. I am accepting of who God made me to be and I hope others will accept me; so it just makes sense for me to accept others. Even if I disagree with them, they are still a person with a right to their belief.
I am a woman. I think and act differently than a man. I don’t hate a man because he is not like me, I don’t try to change him… I delight in the difference. Just like me; God made man for a purpose and I like finding out what that purpose is.
I am white, but I don’t hate blacks or think I am better than them and I don’t want to make them like me. I appreciate their culture and their beauty and I have love for them. Just like me; God made blacks for a purpose and I like finding out what that purpose is.
I am Christian, but I don’t think the church I attend holds all the answers for all Christians over any other denomination. I don’t feel the need to put down others who don’t go to my church. I know my purpose for my faith and spiritual belief, but just like He made me God made others in this world with different beliefs and I like finding out what that purpose is.
I lean conservative, though I don’t claim to be a Republican. I have always wanted the option of voting for someone who I felt was best for the position whether they were Democrat or Republican. My faith and morals have a lot to do with my decision. Now, I can’t say that God made Democrats or Republicans because I think man gets the credit for that all on his own. I used to want to find out what the purpose was …but now I don’t.
From what I have been learning the past couple of years, politics is no longer about what is best for the country. Government is no longer a service to the people. What I have learned about politics is that it is about hate. Politics teaches me that it is a two-sided coin and one side is better than the other even though the coin is worth the same no matter which side is up - it’s still a coin (I guess it just matters whose pocket it goes in, eh?) I used to think that Democrats and Republicans had some good arguments and, if only we could reach a compromise, we could work together for the betterment of our country.
That may have been our forefathers’ vision, knowing we were a land of such diversity. America is “the melting pot” – what did we expect? To stay the same? We welcomed diversity - we were diversity. America was formed as a land of opportunity because we all came over from different places. We had to learn to get along. We didn’t. We saw our differences and we fought each other. We still do, even if we think we are grown-ups now and have come a long way from the Civil War.
We who are conservative and we who are liberal are still fighting each other. We have ‘red’ states and we have ‘blue’ states. We almost know how a state will vote before Election Day. I had a thought once that in order for anyone to be happy, we would need two presidents - one for the Democrats and one for the Republicans. As I began learning more about politics this past year (and after living in New York where the majority of people are liberal) I noticed that the Civil War is still ongoing. But with Northerners heading south, or Southerners heading north – how does the ‘color’ of a state work? The melting pot is still melting.
We seemed to work okay as long as we ‘had our turn’ in the office. The Democrats who took office blamed the Republican administration before them and the Republicans who took office blamed the Democrats before them. These parties have different visions for America. It works the same in a marriage – you must have the same vision of where you want the marriage to go in order for it to not end in divorce.
Today, it seems that we are no longer even trying to work together – because changes came so fast and furious and executive decisions were made before we even knew what they were or what was happening. America has changed and I don’t think a new president will be able to change it back or fix what’s wrong.
That is because what is wrong… is us.
We have become a school-yard full of bullies. I can no longer avoid the political mean-ness by turning off the television during election time because I just log onto Facebook and see the same thing. Facebook has changed too. It is full of bullies. These bullies are my friends.
These friends, who are behaving nasty, are good people. People who care. People who I have seen help others. People who are intelligent and have great ideas – yes Democrats and Republicans both and I love them all.
Are we so divided that we no longer can stand by our principles without blaming, bashing and bullying? Are we are too busy fighting each other that we don’t realize we are on the same team? There are other countries who hate us and want to do us harm and we are busy fighting each other! Yes, there was a battle between the North and the South many years ago but we are still the United States of America. We are still one nation under God, seeking justice for all. But we no longer can say that we are ‘indivisible’… can we?
Will we ever be able to?
It used to be easy to ignore the handful of ‘hot-heads’ who would spout of stupidities while taking a side. They were not the thinkers, they were just loud mouths. It was the level-headed people who wanted to come up with a solution who had the right focus - even if they had to compromise one thing for another in order to keep the country running. But now the level-headed people who used to have class and respect have become hot-headed bullies.
I have seen good people seething when it comes to politics. Politics is no longer a platform to get something done. Politics is about hate and taking sides. The urgings are no longer even being heard or considered – it is only about “whose side are you on?”
I thought we were on the same side – even if we have different beliefs. I thought we were all Americans. As much as I love diversity and I love all people; this makes me wonder if we didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot by forming a melting-pot country if we only wanted steak.
The pot is full of vegetables, tomatoes and meat and everyone knew we were having stew for dinner, but they are picking out just the carrots or just the meat when we all decided we were having stew!
My Mama used to tell me when I had to eat stew or a casserole that may have an item in it that I knew I didn’t like to eat it anyway. She told me not to concentrate on what I don’t like, but to see how it all tastes together. I may not like peas by themselves, but when they were in a soup – they were actually pretty good! The thing is – other people in our family liked peas. Should I care about what they liked? Well, if I wanted to get along with my family I did.
I just want to get along and that is the peacemaker in me - I know, but at least when we had to stand up for what is good for our country, we really stood up for what is good for our country – as a whole. I had thought of not even using Facebook anymore because it has become the nagging commercials putting people down.
The negativity is depressing. I am all for debate, information and education when it comes to politics. I want to learn. But when it is done in a nasty way with so much hate – it makes me want to not be a part of politics at all. I have a right to be informed. I have a right to vote. I would like to be able to do that without seeing the hate and division even among my friends.
We Americans are a big family – we are bound to disagree; but we have crossed the line and now the bottom line in all this …is simply HATE. I love my country but oh how we have broken our own hearts with our hate. God, please bless America and let us see our blessings in each other.