Choose Wisely

As those of us who live in the United States have no doubt noticed, there’s an election on the horizon.  And it’s an ugly one.

Negative television ads show relentlessly on TV, Facebook is filled with political “attack” posts, and those of us who still have landlines are flooded with calls from people wanting to know how we plan to vote, and/or telling us how we should be voting.  Living through a Presidential election year is never fun, but this time around the tone is even more hateful and shrill than ever before.  We are constantly being told that if we don’t choose the right candidate, the consequences will be more dire than we can possibly imagine.  I honestly don’t remember a time when the two leading candidates elicited such powerfully negative feelings, or a time when quite so many people felt they didn’t want to choose either one.

Still, I think we have more choices than we realize.  Yes, we have to choose who we are going to vote for, or even if we are going to abstain from voting this year.  That’s a personal choice that each of us gets to make according to our own conscience, and I’m not going to use my blog to try to influence anyone in that choice.  But this election offers us many more choices than simply how we are going to vote, and I believe that most of those choices are actually more important than the choice we make when we enter the voting booth.

We can choose how we express our support for a particular candidate, or how we speak up against the actions and ideas of the candidate we don’t support.   We can choose not to engage in on-line political arguments.  We can choose not to post snarky Facebook posts about the other political party, day after tedious day.  We can choose not to verbally attack people who dare to voice an opinion that we don’t agree with, even if that means they are saying they plan to vote for a candidate we find contemptible.

That doesn’t mean we have to keep our opinions to ourselves.  We can choose to tell people how we plan to vote, and why.  We can put signs in our yards, campaign for the candidates of our choice and participate in political discussions. But we can also choose to do so without abandoning good manners and civility, and in general acting like a self-righteous prig or a school-yard bully.  In short, we can have political opinions without imitating the political mud-slinging and ugliness that surrounds us.

I do believe that our choices in this election matter, a lot.  Because we can choose to be a part of the hate and negativity that defines this election cycle, or we can choose to live according to a higher standard, remembering that we are all going to have to find some way to get along when it’s over, no matter who wins.   The choice is ours, and I hope we can choose wisely.

48 thoughts on “Choose Wisely

  1. Even if you are fed up with the Presidential race, it is imperative that everyone get out to vote this year. There are 34 Senate races, as long as races for 435 House seats. That’s EVERY SINGLE HOUSE SEAT, people. There are also local and state races and propositions that are very important. Local issues will affect you more than who POTUS is. Abstaining from voting just because of one race is irresponsible. Read up on the issues and your local and state candidates and make informed decision. VOTE!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ann, there is no escaping the US elections even you are outside of the US. I love the piece you wrote because I have been thinking about this too. I find it crazy that people or one time friends attacking each other on Facebook due to the other having a different opinion. I for one can’t wait for it to be over and hopefully no matter who wins, we can all get back to getting along.

    Liked by 5 people

    • It is crazy! People who are usually perfectly nice are suddenly posting nasty political attacks and getting snarky with anyone who disagrees with them, even friends! Just because the politicians are ugly to each other doesn’t mean we have to copy that behavior. And to me, that is a very important choice to make.
      Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Local issues are important, and my personal opinion is that we should vote on them. But I have heard several people whose opinions I respect say they just don’t feel comfortable voting for any of the Presidential candidates, and I believe that is their own choice to make. Ultimately, we all have to listen to our own conscience. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! We don’t have to be ugly just because someone holds different beliefs. And if we truly want to change someone’s beliefs, the only way to do that is to speak to them with respect, listen to their point of view, and try our best to reason with them. None of that can happen when people are attacking each other.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It would seem like the citizenry have to set an example to the politicians. Still, I can’t help but think – as an outsider looking in from England – that the die has been cast in respect to the nature of much public political discourse in the U.S. The Neofascism that is being incited is not going to go away, I fear, and there are echoes of all this right across Western Europe. Well done for speaking out, Ann.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Hariod. It does seem as if a new, and extremely low, standard has been set. And perhaps the only hope is that we stop going along with it. It seems to me that most people are unhappy with how ugly the supporters of the OTHER candidate are being, but they are completely blind to how much their own words are adding to the hate. I think the only solution is to step back from the attacks altogether, and just stand our ground peacefully and civilly. And hope against hope it catches on! (But I know the odds are against that, big time.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Ann.
        I’m just sorry that I had to let you know
        about the spam problem whilst replying
        to the wonderful comment you made
        about my poem.
        I didn’t know what else to do. ☺️
        🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

        Liked by 2 people

        • Oh, please don’t apologize! I was glad to know. I don’t remember to check spam as often as I should, and I feel awful when I see that someone’s comments have been stuck in there for several days. Please always let me now if you don’t see a comment!

          Liked by 1 person

    • So many of us feel that way! It’s hard to keep seeing and hearing so much negativity. I don’t even tune into local TV channels during the week prior to the election, because it’s just one attack ad after the other. It’s too easy to lose sight of the fact that most people really are basically good!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. An excellent post – we do have choices! I agree with you that it has been a horrible election cycle. We can disagree without abandoning good manners as you wrote. I think we should also have shorter campaign periods – perhaps six months. Oh, well, it will soon be over!!! And I am ready to vote!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think most countries have much shorter campaigns than we do, and I wish that idea would catch on! I’m also glad it will soon be over and hopefully some healing can begin. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  5. As always, very well said, Ann.
    It seems, in some cases, we have followed the example of these presidential candidates and lost out civility when attempting to have a discussion about issues. Unfortunately, some do follow by example.
    We just have to respect each other’s thoughts and ideas without having every discussion turn into a shouting match of insults.
    I know many people have second thoughts about voting for President this year but as you and other readers have commented, there are issues and offices that are very important to us locally and nationally. We should not forget to vote or use the presidential election as an excuse to avoid our choices.
    Great job!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, George! I think that what has bothered me the most about this election isn’t the hatefulness the candidates and their teams are showing towards each other (although that is plenty awful), but the way so many of their supporters are adopting that “slash and burn” attitude. It gets us no where good, and actually makes it impossible for our country to move forward. I just don’t accept the idea that it’s okay to be ugly towards those we disagree with!

      Like

  6. I don’t know how I mis this post, Ann, but I just came across it while deleting emails on my iPhone. I agree this is one of the nastiest presidential campaigns I have personally seen, though politics in general is a nasty business. What is so upsetting is how few positive role models there are amongst our nation’s so-called leaders. When a parent can’t even allow their child to watch a presidential debate for fear of exposing him to vulgarity, there is s real problem.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sometimes that happens to me, too! I’ll see a post when I’m cleaning up email, or looking for something else, and think “How did I miss that?” Sometimes I think WordPress just messes with us.
      And I agree about the lack of role models. It’s scary that the debates have become unsuitable for children, and that the days of hoping a child would grow up to become president are mostly over!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. That last thought you mentioned is an interesting one, whose dots I hadn’t connected. But it’s true. I’m glad my kids all went into other disciplines that had nothing to do with politics.

    I had a related thought from an interesting source. My husband and I recently watched the new Ghostbusters. And the part that really struck me, even more so than the female protags, was that in this version, they got no help at all from the government, only more trouble. Very different from the original, but utterly believable. And that struck me as so sad, how little we trust our government anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is sad. Whether true or not, most people see the government as self-serving and corrupt, and that image isn’t at all helped by the candidates in this election. I hope we get to the point where we have political leaders that are true role models some day!

      Liked by 1 person

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