Transcript of a bright sunny morning
Phone: RING RING
Voice 1: Hello Mr. Wade?
Voice 1: Hello Mr. Wade, this is Marcy with the Democratic Party, How are you today?
Me : Good…
Marcy: Fantastic, I was wondering If I could interest you in one of our political packages today. We have a special on our “pro package”
Me: Um… what???
Marcy: With the package, if you vote for Hillary Clinton you will get 4 years of Pro Life, Pro Gun Control, Pro Equal rights. It is a very Positive package.
Me: Hang on one sec
Voice 2: Hello Mr. Wade?
Me : Uh huh…
Voice two: This is Dave with the GOP, you know it is a new day with the Republican party, and we have some great package deals I would like to talk to you about…
It s at this point that I drop my phone into a toilet and hide under my bed.
Okay, I am not going to pretend that that was a real transcript of anything that really happened, but; over the last few months I have felt like I am not looking at a political election, but rather I am trying to figure out if I need to decide if I want DirectTV or Dish Network. Yes, I know that we live in an age of media sound bites, partisan politics, and a two party political system that becomes more entrenched daily; but I really want to believe that the population of this great country is smarter than that. The Events of the past week have actually pushed people to an extreme in political views that I find frightening. If you want me to be specific, yes, I am referring to the horrible massacre of people in Orlando and the ensuing exploitation of that tragedy for political gain.
Now you can already guess that I am a supporter of the second amendment, I will not apologize for that, and as I watched the news Sunday morning I was horrified at the loss of life. I do not believe that owning a gun excludes me from feeling sorrow over the tragedy. But it was within minutes of learning what occurred that I looked at my Facebook page, and my FB friends were reacting based on political bias, a trend that I have watched for several days, and I think it is time that we look at what is happening in social media and consider where this is taking us. I have always been proud of the fact that I know a lot of people many of whom do not share my views on every aspect of politics; I actually appreciate the different opinions and listen to them to generate my own views by weighing what everyone has to say. Unfortunately, I see that many friends who I know to be pretty good people willing to repost, retweet and share every meme they encounter that supports a political agenda – regardless of the truth or accuracy. My personal favorite is one that several people I respect shared which referred to all members of the NRA (National Rifle Association) as terrorists, as an NRA member I have to say I take exception to this. I am not someone who applies broad labels to anyone based on gender, religion, race, sexual preference, favorite color or jello preferences. In fact, one of the things that I noticed was that many people I knew who are shooting enthusiasts were noticeably quiet on Social media, either out of respect for, or for fear that they would be vilified for their views. I had to stop, think about what we as a country are doing and think about it. People who do not agree with us are not “bad”, they have opinions that they feel the need to shoehorn into a political candidate whose views (however extreme) are more palatable to them; moreover we are not only being sold a package on our political views we are accepting that package as a security blanket.
I see this as a defeat of the voting body as a whole when a tragedy becomes the focal point of a twitter spat between the two political front runners for president. This is becoming less of an election and more like two bullies facing off on the playground to see who is king of the monkey bars. I refuse to accept that who will lead our country is the equivalent of weighing who is going to give me NFL Season Pass or 3 months of HBO. The pitfall is that if you mention doing a write in vote, or exploring a “third party” candidate people will immediately voice the opinion that you are throwing away your vote and usually explain why they are voting for whom they have selected. Folks, we ended up as a nation because people believed they could change things, the good news is they not only fought a war for that belief they put a system in place where you get to voice your opinion and avoid that mess again.
I think we need to step back from ourselves, think about where we are at, and assess individually what we believe. If you can reconcile that with one of the candidates great, if not think about the alternatives and participate in a meaningful dialog that ultimately you stand behind. If you support Hillary Clinton, Donald trump, Gary Johnson (libertarian), or Bugs Bunny vote for them, you should not feel like you need to take a shower after you cast your ballot.