Come Wednesday

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.

9 thoughts on “Come Wednesday

  1. Charla Doughty says:

    Oh Beth, you DID find the words , good words. This need to divide has become so exhausting. I find myself stammering, but, but she’s such a good person, she would do anything for me but how can she vote for him? Some cousins spent the day with my 97 yr old mom, brought food, laughter and family gossip. Then one cousin, decidedly on the “other” side went to her car to fetch something. She came back with a 6 ft tall cardboard cut out figure of Trump. Mom said she couldn’t stop laughing. “He” joined them for lunch.

  2. OMG You sound like a sensible adult.
    So tired of the tirades and “what if” silly weeping and handwringing.
    The hyper emotions – stirred a great deal by media/;social media tickle for their own purposes and eyeballs – it all just sets the stage for chaos…as self fulfilling prophecy.
    The sun will come up. The sun will go down. Long view, people. Long view.
    Love the fans comparisons. When will people come to their senses
    Here. Have a beer…cheers to the continuum

    • Beth says:

      I hope more are sensible. I just read this beautiful article in The Atlantic that basically talked about how people who tend to avoid the media have a more realistic view of “the other side”. I’m paraphrasing heavily, but the piece dealt with misconceptions each side had about the other. Anyway, it was interesting and today we march into a new world which looks just like the old world except today is a Wednesday. 🙂

      • More in common than not…if people can just put down the screens, turn off the noise, and actually talk genially – and listen to each other. Small hope that will happen…unless a meteor – or a giant squad of rabbits invade ( they eat power cords like crazy…geesch do you think they are more intelligent that given credit?)
        The sun rose today – just like always. Good sign HAHA

  3. Susan Jewell says:

    This isn’t about political ideology. This is about basic human decency. This is about people who are comfortable voting for a racist. Someone who has no issue with putting children in cages, who incites violence and division every single day. Someone who can’t tell the truth if his life depended on it. I’m sorry, but this is beyond politics. I wouldn’t have a friend in my life that I know would vote to continue this madness.

    • Beth says:

      Susan,
      Thank you for taking the time to drop by and leave a comment. I’m going to disagree with you; this is absolutely about ideologies especially when you demonize an entire group of people and paint them with such broad strokes. There’s a huge problem when you start looking at the other side (over 13 million people) and classifying them as “indecent” and “racist.” Are there indecent people on that side? Sure. Are there racists as well? Absolutely. But to think that there’s not any among the Democrats is woefully ignorant. So, if we can agree then that not everyone who votes Republican – not even a majority – is either indecent or a racist, then we can start looking at the reasons behind their votes. Why would a decent, non-racist person vote for a person who is distasteful? Most of my Republican friends do not like Trump personally. They’re very aware of who he is, and how he sounds, and they’re still not on the Antifa/QAnon party bus to crazy town. They can look past the cloud of ridiculous and outrageous tweets and point to the good they see in the direction of the country brought about by their party. Do I agree with them? It doesn’t matter, except it absolutely does if we want to understand where their frustration points are and how to address them – how to defeat them. There’s a myriad of reasons he received the nomination over Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich. We need to look at those reasons to understand the pulse of the nation, which pointed to some deep frustrations Republicans had then and currently have.

      There’s a decent article from The Atlantic you might be interested in titled: Republicans Don’t Understand Democrats—And Democrats Don’t Understand Republicans – https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/republicans-and-democrats-dont-understand-each-other/592324/

      My point is this: We are not in an epic battle of Good vs. Evil and when we do start viewing the other side as “evil,” then we’re part of the larger problem – a problem where it becomes clear that we’re so entrenched in our own ideas and misconceptions that we are unwilling to see the other side beyond media soundbites.

      Now, when we talk about friends and I’m assuming we’re talking about mine I will say this: My world is richer because I have people who think differently than I do. If my friends don’t agree with me on every issue or every belief I hold, that’s ok. It’s one of the great things about this world. I don’t need people to be in lockstep with my views in order to move through it. In fact, it’s better if we disagree on occasion so I can grow. Beyond that, I don’t need the garbage men to vote the way I do, I need them to remove waste from my streets. I don’t need the coffee barista to support my candidate, I need them to smile and hand me a great cup of coffee. And when it comes to my friends, I need them to laugh with me on my best days, support me on my worst, and listen to me when I say things like “Black Lives Matter”. I also need to listen to them when they express their counter view.

      I will never subscribe to this type of tribalism – the type that closes all conversations – that believes in its rightness to the exclusion of others – that demonizes a group – that shuts down conversation – that is absolutely based on ideology, because you cannot hear the other side.

      Today we walk into a new era. Let’s try to do it with grace and an open mind – one willing to listen to those we may not always understand.

  4. John says:

    Susan, congratulations on writing off over 50,000,000 of your fellow Americans. A truly magnanimous approach. There was a time in the United States where labeling someone a ‘racist’ was an egregious admonishment; a heinous marker attached to only the absolute worst of society. However in 2020, the grossly overused term has been rendered meaningless. When a national political party denounces Oreo cookies as ‘racist’ – it looses a little ‘oomph’. Considering the severity of the charge, I would imagine you have specific examples you can provide? Something other than the discredited repetitious drivel extolled by the media? After all, you placed the man akin to the Klan. Surely this wasn’t done flippantly. A lot of what he says is patently stupid and uncouth, but it isn’t racist. He will not be remembered fondly by historians as an elegant orator. As far as the ‘cages’, I can only imagine you’re speaking of the ‘temporary holding enclosures’ built for undocumented children installed by the Obama administration in a warehouse in Nogales, Arizona. Our immigration policy has been a mess since the 1940’s and all of your political heroes are culpable. Ironically, it’s built not far from where F.D.R built his Japanese interment facilities (executive order 9066 – where 120,000 Americans were put in a little “All-American Concentration Camp”). Both sides also have plenty of blame for the violence in American cities since March. I do remember Trump stating that, “If you see anyone from (their side) in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you let them know they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere!” Huh? Oh, that was auntie Maxine Waters? My mistake. “People have no choice but to riot against their oppressors” stated Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley called for “Unrest in the streets” against the Trump administration. Kamala Harris the candidate for vice-President DIRECTLY ENCOURAGED the violence: stating to Steven Colbert on August 27, 2020 that the “rightful protesters” should continue, “a movement that’s not going to stop. Everyone beware. They’re not gonna stop before election day in November, and they’re not going to stop after election day. They’re not going to let up and they should not”. If the Thanksgiving invite list restricts those, “who incite violence and division every single day” – it’s going to be a pretty lonely table. I’m sure you’re a good person, capable of understanding many of our issues are complex, and permanent opinions shouldn’t be formulated by sound-bite. Otherwise, skip the turkey. I suggest a Swanson Pot Pie – it’s easy and to date, has not been egregiously racist.

    A last point from a friend, Max Ehrmann who said, “As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.” – and be a little nicer. Your post came off a little ‘bitchy’. Just sayin’.

  5. […] on TV and in the movies tried to teach me; however, my parents were always game. Yesterday, I wrote a post, and someone took exception to it, which is absolutely fine. Let’s talk openly about these […]

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