Ahhh… politics and election season.
It’s a time you’re reminded that your “friends” think you’re an idiot because you can’t see how wrong your political ideologies are and how much of a lying, phony, nincompoop the person you’re voting for is.
A time that people use the internet as a means of polarizing one another and promoting their own political agendas.
It’s a time people share “news” stories in an effort to demonstrate their “side” is correct, and this is why you should agree with them and “see the light,” dagnabit.
Raise your hand if your opinion about something important has ever been swayed by a social media status update or an adversarial conversation with someone who vehemently disagrees with you.
(My hand is down.)
What people ignore is that divisive comments carry an implication that someone isn’t “smart enough” to know what the issues are, understand the issues, and make an informed decision.
I’ve been down the rabbit hole in the past. I’ve participated in dead-end conversations like these.
It doesn’t feel good.
When I was in law school (what seems like many moons ago), I was standing in a group having a conversation with a classmate who was a bleeding-heart (political party, which I won’t name, because that could make people miss the point). She clearly had different political philosophies than the rest of the people in the group and, in an ill-fated attempt to suggest that her views were right, and everyone else’s were wrong, she declared:
My parents are highly educated, and they are huge financial supporters of (politician) and (politician’s) charity organization.
So you’re assuming nobody else’s parents are “highly educated?” What if some of our parents couldn’t afford a formal education, but remain informed? Do their views not count?
She’s a nice girl, and I haven’t seen her in nearly a decade but, when I think of her, I’ll always remember that ridiculous comment.
I think most people are “smart enough.”
Smart enough to know someone’s support for Donald Trump doesn’t make them a bigot, their support for Hillary Clinton doesn’t make them a freeloader, their support for Bernie Sanders doesn’t make them a communist, and their support for Ted Cruz doesn’t make them an ignorant Bible-thumper.
It’s more complicated than that.
Smart enough to know another person’s pro-choice stance doesn’t make them a murderer and their support for life doesn’t mean they think women shouldn’t be able to choose.
It’s far more complex than that.
Smart enough to know a person’s opinion that “Black Lives Matter” doesn’t mean they think police shootings are justified, or that disagreeing with Caitlyn Jenner’s lifestyle doesn’t mean they hate her.
There’s more to it.
Most people are smart enough to question what the media tells them; therefore, they do their own independent research before making (and voicing) an opinion.
Smart enough to know that while they might be a Christian, their religious beliefs could have been different if they were born to some other family in India, Indonesia, Israel, or Iran.
And here’s the thing.
I don’t care about your politics.
Unless I explicitly ask, I don’t care what you think about gun control, immigration, same-sex marriage, Planned Parenthood, global warming, affirmative action, ISIS, euthanasia, estate taxes, legalizing marijuana, Obamacare, waterboarding, or the death penalty.
I just don’t care.
I also don’t care who you’re voting for, why you’re voting for that person, and why you think supporters of another candidate are imbeciles.
Here’s what I care about:
Whether you’re a good person. Whether we have a good time when we’re together. Whether you’re loyal and sincere. Whether you confidently live by your own rules instead of hustling for the approval of others. Whether you work hard. Whether you are kind and humble.
Whether you are respectful of others’ opinions and ideologies, even when they aren’t the same opinions and ideologies as your own.
I care about whether you have a sense of humor and aren’t preoccupied with keeping up appearances. Whether you’re proud to be an American and grateful for the opportunities you’ve been given, even when there is room for improvement.
I care about whether you’re not afraid to admit you’re not completely passionate about your job, or that you need a glass of wine because your kids have you “on edge.” Whether you’re willing to acknowledge things aren’t perfect all the time. I care about whether you’re dependable and are supportive during the bad times as much as you are during the good times.
Those are the things I care about.
I don’t care about your politics.