I have my own thoughts on the upcoming US Presidential election, and since this isn’t a political blog, I’m not going to talk about them. What I did want to talk about was a trend that’s disturbing me among my Facebook friends.
Some people are posting support for one candidate or another in the upcoming elections, and responses to those posts have been varied. But far more often, I’ve seen people posting opposition to one candidate or another. Instead of saying, “I support A,” people are saying, “You shouldn’t support A. They’re a (fill in derogatory term).”
Recently, one of my friends posted something like this, and one of the responses was that this election has been the most polarizing election they remember. My friend, without a trace of irony, said something like, “Yeah, I’ve had to unfriend a number of people for their views.”
People… let’s agree to disagree on the candidates. There are very few people (I’ve seen) who are offering unqualified support of either candidate. Most people are choosing what they view as the lesser of two evils. Why are we going to argue about that? Supporting one candidate over another doesn’t mean you support racism, sexism, lying, conspiracy theories, or whatever it is the opposition says that candidate is all about. Supporting one candidate over another means you have your reasons, and that’s all I need to know.
I have gotten into political debates/ discussions with some people. But only in person, with people I feel safe voicing my opinions with. In a public forum like Facebook, I think there’s too much room for misunderstanding and hard feelings. It’s unlikely I’m going to change anyone’s mind about their choice, so in this particular case, I’m not going to try.
It’s easy and tempting to believe that others aren’t as informed or haven’t thought it through the way I have. That’s probably not true though. Others value some issues more than others, just as I do. And we’re all different.
Let’s rise above the political candidates and stop the name calling. Let’s stop getting angry with people because they disagree on our views. If you must get into a political discussion, please be respectful of the other person’s views, even if you don’t agree with them. Let’s thank others for the lively discussions that may ensue. And above all, let’s be grateful that we live in a country where it’s okay to publicly criticize candidates, and that others can do so too.
In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury discusses how censorship started by certain interest groups demanding that things that offended them be taken out, until there was nothing left. Let’s not encourage censorship by demeaning the opinions of others.
Let’s just agree to disagree. And be grateful that we can.