Bite Your Tongue

I haven’t written much because of our recent move and the fact that my kids rarely nap at the same time and that we got cable and I’ve been zoning out in front of the TV every night. But also, I’m so incensed by this election, I’m afraid I’ll go off on a political tangent and that isn’t what this blog is for. I know I have readers from both sides of the aisle who are smart, reasonable people, and I don’t want to ruffle your feathers when you came to read about Mommy stuff.

I will, however, share general feelings about my politics while trying not to upset anyone. Because politics can be upsetting, and it can be personal. Everyone is positive they are in the right and want what is best for the country, for their families, for world peace, and maybe we are all correct. I have voted off and on for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, based on my political leanings at the time. We give politicians grief for switching their views when it is politically expedient, but I don’t fault people for changing their minds over time. Sometimes change is good. When the country was founded, everyone was wild about slavery, and eventually laws were amended to make it illegal. Minorities and women couldn’t vote, and then minds were changed and now they can.

When I was in college and voting in my first presidential election, I voted for the Democrat because all the young people were voting for him, and after some light research I decided I was socially liberal and fit in there. Four years later, when much of my pay check was going to taxes and I was seeing no local benefit from that money (terrible roads, crime, etc) I voted for straight Republican up and down the ballot in the general election after voting for Hillary in the primary. I thought Obama was too progressive and didn’t see how the benefits he proposed could be paid for without higher taxes. Four years later I was thinking about having children and had been told it might be impossible because of my Crohn’s or the medications I was taking, so the thought of people having abortions brought me to tears every time I thought about it. As we learn more about different aspects of our government and society, as our lives change, our politics may also evolve.

Though I have made a definite choice this election season, I am trying not to pass judgement on people voting for the other candidate. Our lives are personal, and if we believe the “other” candidate will make changes that will negatively impact our lives, of course we will be upset. With elected officials reaching into our marriage beds and doctor’s offices, how can an election not be personal?

To my mind, there is only one clear choice this cycle, but I am attempting to walk in others’ shoes. My ability to see multiple sides to every issue is, I am sure, the reason I am terrible at standardized tests. As I read more, listen to my friends more, I hear several reasonable sides to every issue. So please, this election season has been ugly enough. When you disagree with someone, try to see why that person is voting the way they are and see their decision in light of their own struggles. Are they people of strong faith that might be more inclined to vote with their values? Are they investors, entrepreneurs, or economists that have a vested interest in the market and regulations? Do they live in an area that has suffered under current or previous leadership? Have they felt excluded or persecuted because of their background? Marginalized because of their sexual orientation or gender identity? Penalized for success with a heavy tax burden?

There is absolutely hate and dishonesty running rampant this cycle, and so many people have the tendency to label opponents of their political ideas without delving deeper. I’m not saying you should sit down with the guy with the swastika tattooed on his neck and let him try to justify ethnic cleansing, or the woman in the drab jumpsuit explaining the benefits of living on a commune and blindly worshiping a dictator. But most of us fall somewhere in between, and we generally have good reasons for voting the way we do (or at least we wholeheartedly think they are good reasons).

So on my honor, I will try to understand my opponents. It’s easy to devolve into shouting and name-calling, but it takes patience and love of fellow man to hear someone out and agree to disagree.

Now don’t be jerks and prove me wrong, OK?

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