Guys, I’m struggling here. I know what I what I want to write, but I’m honestly not finding the words. I’m not finding some cutesy, homespun, Texas way to basically say, “you’re going to be ok” the eve before the election. I absolutely want to, but I have no idea. I don’t know if you’re going to be ok. According to every news source, you’re not. According to every meme and unverified source or quote we’re dancing in a tinder box, and Karen brought a lit Molotov cocktail, because she’s super bad at mixology. Apparently, by Wednesday you will have forgotten all civility, tanks will roll down the streets, and 16 million votes will disappear because x party did something hinky.
Everyone is on edge, and I’m sure someone much much smarter than I can point to the media or the various social impacts around Covid, but let’s be honest – we’ve been heading this way a long time – just look at this lovely animation from 2016 about polarization over the decades.
Over the past four years, I’ve been asked multiple times, “How can you be friends with a <insert that the opposite political party’s name here>?” The implication is that I should consider dropping people who don’t agree with me politically, or at the very least slap them for speaking against “our” party with an indignant, “get my party’s name out of your filthy maw!!!” (In case you’re reading this and having a moment of, “oh shit, Beth means me.” I don’t. MANY people have asked this question. MANY.)
And the answer to that question is: I can still be friends with people on the opposite side because I befriended a person, not a political ideology.
When I say my friends form a protective phalanx, well guess what my little shock troops who are reading, the person to your right may be more an Artemis fan than Apollo (the moon is the best!) or hell, they may still think the Cowboys will make a comeback and despise the Patriots. I don’t care, because if I stumble, they will reach down, make sure I’m righted, and then take down whatever came at me. I won’t sneer and say, “I’d rather wallow down here than get help from someone who cheered for the Seahawks.” That would be ridiculous. My friends are my friends. My friends are fierce. My friends are unique individuals and not their political party.
And I know this post is overly simplistic, but like many, I find this all extremely stressful and exhausting. I had to tell a co-worker last week that there was a 10 day bubble where he wasn’t allowed to talk to me about politics, and he struggles with this every single day, slipping up all the time. Now shouting “BUBBLE” when he speaks has become a thing. (Pro tip: There are lots of great bubble gifs for those too tired to shout the word.)
Honestly, I feel like I’m baring witness to the rudest fans at the worst football game, because that’s how everyone is acting.
Sure, I can take a stab at the complicated root cause that got us here, but it doesn’t matter.
So, here it is – my political post, and what I’m asking is that as we move forward please try to remember that most people want the best for this country; they just may see a different path to get there. Remember that those people that you may want to demonize over an ideology are your neighbors, your co-workers, your friends and your family – the people who would gladly lend you a helping hand if you suddenly found that your world had gone pear-shaped. You are not a Hatfield, and they are not McCoys. (Unless that’s true, and if so insert some other analogy.)
And come Wednesday, should your party not win, take steps to become more involved – be proactive – don’t whine from the sidelines or try to drive a bus off a major highway.
You have a voice. Dare to make a difference.