Posted by Trixter on November 3, 2008
Nothing upsets me more than political discourse. And, with that sentence, I have immediately alienated approximately half of my readership — which naturally upsets me more.
Every four years, Americans put themselves through hell trying to elect someone whom they can come to terms with. There is no perfect candidate; there is no best match (even Mondale got six electoral votes). I am reminded of Robin Williams appearing on Letterman in 1988 shortly before the election, trying to decide who to vote for: He likened Bush and Dukakis to a Ford Pinto and a Suzuki Samurai: One blows up; the other rolls over — so which car do you feel comfortable driving? I would rather walk, thank you. But stating that publically gets you treated like a terrorist. Celebrities mocking you into voting does not help.
This year’s election has many facets, but the most dividing issue in my neck of the woods is war: Defense spending, the Iraq war, the military, etc. You either believe that attacking threats abroad is necessary, or you believe that it is wrong to pre-emptively strike first. That’s pretty much it; there’s no gray area. I mean, sure, there is a gray area, and it’s okay to put yourself in it, but you’d never know it from listening to both sides.
It doesn’t upset me that people choose opposite from me on issues; everyone is free to believe what they want. What upsets me is how intolerant they are of my position. In the last week, I have heard some of the most spiteful, pretentious, and downright sarcastic language regarding any political position I may or may not hold; from coworkers, random strangers, even members of my family. Some of it is motivated by fear — biologically, a great motivator; intellectually, a terrible motivator. Much of it is motivated by wealth. Unfortunately, some of it is motivated by race. It’s all terrible. If voting for our government is such a gift, why are we made to feel worthless for expressing what direction we want to cast ours?
From now on, I’m keeping my political opinions to myself. Never before have I been so maliciously scarred for exercising a basic right.