When not thinking about politics, I love being with my children, painting, and practicing yoga.
In the last few years, I have become disheartened by the extremes that have taken hold of both sides of the political aisle here in the United States. Whether a Democrat or a Republican, I have found our society has shifted to extremes where it is very difficult to maintain healthy debate. Instead we are subject to insulting, condescending and sometimes exclusionary practices. We see it play out in the media, in the Whitehouse, the Senate and Congress. The trickle down to our own interactions has been part of this insidious process. I decided I needed to take a stand somehow after becoming fed up by a lack of decorum.
It started a few years ago during the last presidential election. I was at a friend’s house about a week after Barack Obama was elected. She was gushing about how thrilled she was to have him in office. I politely commented that although I thought certain aspects of his being elected were noble and historic, he was not my candidate. My neighbor, someone who had known me, laughed with me, volunteered with me, as well as sharing grief with me, suddenly looked at me like I had lost my mind. She couldn’t stop spewing about Sarah Palin and how awful the Republicans were. When I tried to jump in and say look you don’t know why and lets talk about it, she immediately said there was nothing to discuss and told me I should leave now. I was stunned, I tried to speak, but she would not let me as she very quickly led me back to her front door and shut it behind me. The last words I heard her muttering as she was shaking her head in disgust at me were Sarah Palin’s name over and over again. The next time I saw her at a party, she jokingly commented that she had always thought I was smarter than that. I don’t see much of her anymore.
This was not the only altercation I had when I chose to express my opinion. I will stress now that I am not by any means confrontational, quite the contrary, I am vanilla. I am too easy, a yes person, someone even a group of kids doesn’t take as an authority figure. I usually can get along with just about anyone, so why had politics gone from being something that we could politely disagree about to an all out black and white boiling pot of hate? When did we lose the ability to coexist? I am not sure if we can gain back a level of this missing decorum in our interactions, but I would love to try.