I didn’t realize it meant two teams would commence to brawling like the Socs and Greasers in an odd social media rumble. Politics, is supposed to be about working towards compromise for the greater good, right? My husband and I have worked this way for years. Sometimes he wins and gets to stay home all day Sunday instead of going to a birthday dinner for my sister. I mean, who else is going to make sure my patio chair doesn’t float away?
And sometimes I win, and our cat gets to sleep on his side of the bed. We get there, and if we leave his cat allergies out of the argument, we do so in a way that doesn’t disrupt our lives. Or when it comes to money, sometimes he wins, and we use any extra money we must pay down our mortgage. Sometimes I win by not telling him about any extra money we have.
But lately, the divisiveness of politics has now infiltrated our offices, our homes, our churches, our schools, our grocery stores and our doctors’ offices. If this were something we could view under a microscope, I would venture to say it probably looks like an as yet named STD.
It’s so bad now that some of us have taken to social media to share why we are correct in our stance and declare that if anyone disagrees, “then we are no longer friends.” If I am honest, I’ve done the same. I’ve allowed how people respond to protests or health care bills determine their friendship worthiness. What an arrogant twit I am. Even if I didn’t make it official by posting that a particular group of people were no longer my friends if they support a state representative or congressman I don’t personally agree with, I had already marked them off. Some were people I didn’t know anyway, but some were people I’ve known since elementary school.
I remember reading through a Facebook friend’s comments on a post about last year’s presidential election. It was like watching the Mayweather-McGregor match. You knew how it would end but still had to watch blow by blow. In this case, no matter how long the fight went on, no one would be declared the winner, and both – and all the people who watched the exchange from their iPads, laptops and desktops – would leave the ring worse for wear, and no one won a $10 million purse.
Both keyboard competitors were prepared with facts and statistics, but fighter No. 1 had been in this rink before and knew how to pace herself. Fighter No. 1 had passion and time to fact check. In the end, though, no one won.
No one changed their mind and said, “You know what? I didn’t think about it that way.” No one even said, “I understand what you’re saying, but this is what I believe.” They just fought. It was an emotional knockout.
It didn’t make me feel better. It made me feel sick. It was so sad to watch. It was even more disturbing to be a part of the online crowd watching. It made me feel anxious about what the future holds for our sanity, not our country.
I wanted everyone to be kind. I wanted all of this to stop. We are better than this. Everyone is fighting about issues that have nothing to do with politics, based on how someone voted. I include myself in this. If it didn’t stop, I was sure there would be a jump in heart attacks in the 35-55-age group.
So, I stopped. I stopped trying to make someone see my point of view. I stopped trying to convince this person how wrong they are. I stopped worrying about things that do not matter in favor of focusing my attention on what does matter.
And right now, what matters is my house. How stupid to think we can solve the world’s problems when we don’t have it all figured out at home.
Comments? You can email Becky Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org. Andrews and Angel Kane are the brains behind Telling Tales, a weekly column in The Democrat.