Each day brings us closer to the final day to vote for our next president here in the United States. More and more effort is being put into propaganda and getting politician names out before people go to cast their ballots. Sadly enough, my musings on this subject start with today’s Facebook status:
Nothing divides our nation more than a presidential election.
In the tired mantra of sad but true, this phrase truly makes my heart heavy. I can only seek to logically answer it with human nature and try to comfort myself, but it is a small comfort that leaves me uneasy.
Humans love to affiliate, to choose sides. Especially Americans. I can’t vouch for other countries and such, so I use Americans as my main study group. Sports, organizations, and (during election years) political parties are all ways to define oneself as a person and to rabidly throw support and admiration in a solid direction. I find all this to be a bit silly, but as our country is fortunate enough to allow everyone to vote, unfortunately those that paint giant letters on themselves and blindly follow a team are also given a voice in the election. Don’t get me wrong, they deserve a voice. My fear is ignorance. Sometimes passion easily overwhelms the mind.
Ignorance is what drives my unease at this time of the year in our four-year cycle. Do these emphatic supporters truly know or seek the facts? Do they only swallow propaganda, which is distasteful and a distortion of the truth from both sides? People adopt the moniker of Democrat or Republican and parade around, emphasizing their values and alignment with that political party. Do they ever stop to listen to the other side and the legitimate views that they have?
Don’t get me wrong – there is plenty out there that is ridiculous and factually true. As a woman, seeing all the Republican discussion of rape is a bit much for me to bear. Obviously, things like that color the way we think about the other party’s supporters, too. I see a friend that was raped supporting the Republican candidate and I cringe. At the same time, I know that she is more than entitled to have her choice and I hope she’s done her research.
Today on Facebook, I read of a young man at UNC Chapel Hill who died. One of his friends wrote a letter to Mitt Romney telling of his death and how proud he was to have voted for Romney in the election. It was an interesting way to remember someone (I’m not sure I’d want to be remembered for my political affiliation) but it was soiled by a comment where someone said the following:
Compare that to the people voting for Obama.
Is this what we do? We pick a side and vilify the other? Are the people for the other side really repulsive and idiotic? Many times it may seem that way. I felt offended to see that because I support Obama, I am considered as someone who would not be proud of voting, not be supportive of my country, and not be a good person. Has the person that said that, though, even stopped to consider its implications?
I suppose that I have nothing to do but hope. I hope fervently that the majority of voters decides that they should find out the facts and use the great resources we have for information in this day and age. I hope that people hear political ads and decide to test the veracity of the claims, rather than forming an opinion based on them. Many people say that it’s great that people are voting and supporting our country’s system of election, but I don’t think the forefathers intended on blind voting. That is to say, of course, that propaganda is a powerful tool, or else it wouldn’t be used. There are also those that chose the party with the coolest logo, or the most interesting freebies.
If you happen to read my simple musings here, I request that flex your intellectual muscles and truly think hard about your decision for who should run the country. Look at your local candidates too and make sure you know their status as well. Educate yourself before you vote, at least a little. After you have done research and choose a candidate to support, I give you my full respect as to your choice.
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.