I’m choosing not to watch either the Democratic or the Republican Conventions. I love political conversations and political ideas. I loved living in Our Nation’s Capital for a couple decades and being close to the action.
But I just can’t do it. I wish everyone could just take a breath.
This coming election is so important. And yet –
I’m tired of political ads that are half true – or totally untrue. I’m tired of people repeating lies in hopes that if they repeat the lies long enough, they will become the narrative. I’m tired of smugness and snarkitude. I’m tired of the focus being on winning and losing elections, while ignoring who is winning and losing in life because of unfair government policies.
I’m tired of good people voting against their own interests (i.e. people voting for candidates who don’t promote clean air and water while their own air and water is making them sick.)
I’m tired of watching good people voting against their own religious beliefs (i.e. people voting for candidates who mistreat immigrants while reading a Bible that says so many things about how we are supposed to treat “aliens.”)
So, here’s what I’m wondering: could we all take a deep breath? Could we also:
- Assume that those who suggest that they “heard” something might be true or it’s “possible” that something is true (i.e. Kamala Harris might not be a U.S. citizen because of something they “heard” about the “possibility” that she might be eligible to be vice president) are simply planting seeds of misinformation.
- Assume that ridiculous accusations against political enemies (i.e. Thom Tillis doesn’t believe that restaurant workers should have to wash their hands) are probably not true and/or words were taken out of context.
- Assume that insane accustations against political enemies (i.e. Joe Biden is involved in child trafficking) are in fact insane.
Is this who we’ve become? Someone says that “it’s possible” or “they’ve heard” that Candidate A is engaged in child sacrifice or Candidate B is running a drug ring in Mexico – and we go with it because we didn’t like that candidate anyway?
Is it ever okay to place a target on any candidate’s face?
Is it ever okay even to joke about seeking help from foreign governments to win an election? (Actually, I think this is illegal – for any political party.)
Can we try to be smart, thoughtful voters? It’s not only good for our emotional well-being, but it’s also good for our country, our democracy, and our humanity.
Special note to Christian readers: Clearly all candidates fall short of the glory of God. But we can do better in both nominating and electing individuals whose character and principles inspire rather than divide.
Election Day is 11 weeks from today. Can we re-boot our attitudes and try to be the people the Constitution says we are? I suggest we breathe deeply and pray for every kind of peace. And vote.
Image of retired Bishop Desmond Tutu of Cape Town, South Africa.
Thank you Jan, a much needed piece.
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Please don’t be silent (which you clearly aren’t.). We definitely need to speak up and speak the truth in love. It’s not easy.