There’s a chilling moment near the end of Oliver Stone’s film “JFK” where, at the end of his summation to the jury, Kevin Costner as Jim Garrison looks directly into the camera, telling the audience, “It’s up to you.” Tomorrow, it will be up to all of us.
I don’t typically get political on my Facebook page. I have plenty of opinions and usually I’m not afraid to share them and I’m not afraid of an argument. But this is different. It’s politics, and if we’ve learned anything from this election cycle, it’s that we are a divided and bitter nation and we’ve stopped listening to each other. We spout our party’s talking points and rarely do we hear what the other guy has to say.
I look at my Facebook wall these days and I see my Republican friends ripping Hillary apart while my Democratic friends are decrying the exploits of Donald Trump. I also see people sharing many quotes, videos, stories and other information as “fact” despite its questionable source. Sadly, there are too many people that will simply take whatever is posted as the truth without hesitation or thought. I also see lots of insults flying from the left and right with little or no regard for common decency.
There are two types of political posts on social media:
1) The type that generates a huge argument where no minds or opinions are changed but feelings are hurt and friends/family are estranged
2) The type that “preaches to the choir”
Rarely do you see a post where there is a civil, logical exchange of differing ideas. Instead, social media is filled with those who are convinced they are right and must do whatever it takes to point out to the opposite side that they are wrong. They never consider even the possibility that there could be another way or a differing opinion. It’s their way or the highway. Let’s be honest – do you really believe that your post will change minds? I’d say the odds are much higher you will offend rather than educate and it’s highly unlikely to swing the pendulum either direction.
What happened to compromise? To listening? How can we possibly expect to make the change we want (and need) if we cannot get past our differences and work together?
Tomorrow, we will elect a new President of the United States. I have made my choice already as have many of you. I will not tell you my choice and that is my right. I do not necessarily want to know yours either. Whether you vote for Trump, Clinton or someone else, it is my honest wish that you do so as an informed voter. Do your own research and don’t depend on what you see on social media or in various forms of journalism. Use your brain and common sense. All of us are flawed and so are the candidates. So instead of focusing on their shortcomings, how about we look at their policies and what they will do for the nation.
On November 9th, half of us will be happy with the outcome and half will not. After each election in my lifetime, I have made myself the following promise: “No matter the outcome, I will keep an open mind and try to see the good and the bad with complete clarity and without prejudice.” This mantra has served me well over the past 30 years. There have been elections where my candidate won and others where they did not. And in both instances, I tried to see the good in the winner and offer my honest criticism when it was needed. Sadly, not everyone does this and there will be those that will hate the winner simply because they are of the opposite party, not because of rational though or any valid logic.
Usually I encourage open and honest dialogue on my posts. However, I ask that when commenting on this post, you refrain from partisan comments of any kind. Whether I agree or disagree with your point of view, this is not the place for a debate about the merits (or lack thereof) of the candidates. This is a plea for all of us to calm down, educate ourselves, open our minds to the thoughts of others and work together to make this country and this planet a better place. Instead of spending the next four years refusing to work with the opposition because they beat you, how about we all put those differences aside and find some common ground on which to build a better life for ourselves and future generations.
In the days that followed the 9/11 attacks, we were one nation and the union was strong. There was a feeling that we could not be divided and nothing could stop us. I certainly hope it doesn’t take another horrible day like that to bring us back together.
To all parties & their surrogates: Stop the name calling, the lying, the baiting, the parsing of words to make them fit your narrative. Instead, let’s talk about what we are all going to do to solve the many problems we face.
It’s up to us…