Peace Be with US, a flag flies for peace during the rest of the election season, October 1, 2008, photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.
…don’t say anything at all.
It’s my plea to all passionate participants in our national elections.
If you can’t say something nice—about McCain, Palin, Obama, or Biden, and especially about and to their respective supporters—don’t say anything at all.
I’m tired of the bickering. The rage is wearing me down. I am a passionate person myself, and I don’t shy away from making my opinions known, but frankly, I can’t handle any more nastiness.
…you should just shut up and quit showing how stupid you are…
-one commenter to another, on progressive The Huffington Post
…if anyone is a blathering idiot, it’s you…
-one commenter to another, on conservative Michelle Malkin
Every morning I get up, grab a cup of coffee and scan my bookmarked websites to get the latest news on the presidential elections. I check all the usuals: AlterNet, The Huffington Post, Daily Kos, msnbc.com, CNN.com, Politico, RealClearPolitics, and Washington Monthly. It soothes me to go to these sources as most have stories with a “blue-state” bent. News I can hang on to.
I don’t claim it’s a balanced approach—it’s not—but for someone like me, who can feel the anxiety rise every time I think about what might happen November 4, reading articles that confirm my world view keeps me calm. I get how venting about “the other side” can serve as a release and a way for like-minded people to bond. I find satisfaction there, too.
Well, I used to.
Even as much as I am guilty of seeking that kind of validation, I can honestly say I have finally OD’d.
I’m turned off by the meanness. Bloggers, pundits, columnists, candidates and their campaigns all set off the brawls with their claims and taunts. Then the spectators jump in. Behind the cloak of internet anonymity, they turn into hateful, rageful people. They attack. They say things I can’t imagine they’d ever say in person.
Internet rage has been around for as long as the internet has been around; who hasn’t received a flaming email at least once? But civil discourse has gone out the window, right at the time we need it most. We are losing our capacity to see one another as humans.
Right now, with tensions as high as they are, the last thing we need is to beat one another down. Right now, today, we need kindness and compassion. I need kindness and compassion.
Tonight is the vice-presidential debate. It promises to be a slugfest. Palin and Biden will be ferocious, and if they’re not, the internet and spin machines will fill in on their behalf. I, however, plan to swim against the current, and I’d like you to join me.
Before, during, and after the debate, I invite you to come here and say something nice about Palin or Biden or both. Anything. No sarcasm. No underhanded compliments. Find something you honestly feel the candidates have done well, even if it has to do with how they look.
You’ll still get mad at the candidate you want to lose (or the one you want to win) and probably reach a point where you can’t believe what you’re seeing. I’m not asking you to be a saint. But find one nugget. See if it helps shift something inside.
I know this is silly. I know it’s more about me than it is the rest of you. But the way I see it, a lot hangs in the balance and it isn’t just who wins in November.