Can you believe it's March already? I like March. It signals Spring (in my head anyway. Where I live there is not much difference in seasons so it's all psychological.) Easter is around the corner. Katie has a birthday at the end of the month, and also one of my brothers. I am busy searching for little Easter things to send the grandkids. Any excuse to send them something, I say. I love them all like nothing else.
L and I survived the evening of Super Tuesday. We were on the edge of our couch and then bolt upright in bed before we called it a night. I realize that all of you were not so involved, perhaps were not interested at all, or were even displeased with everything about it. I get it. My opinions and beliefs are not universal. Far from it. But if there is one thing that is important to me - and it's something I tried very hard to teach my children (success there in varying degrees...) - it's to be kind, respectful of others and their opinions, and (did I already say this?) to be KIND. I've always tried to understand where the opinions and thoughts of others come from, even if I don't agree with them. It helps me to understand people, and to realize that people are not stupid or evil just because they don't fall in line with what I think.
The one thing that has been so disheartening to me in this election/selection process is the meanness that abounds. The vicious name calling. The outright lies. And this is on both sides, folks. No one has a monopoly on it - both sides of the aisle are guilty. And there's no reason for it. For some, it may be to gain ratings, for others, that quick thrill of being able to say something incredibly rude in an online forum where you have no face. For many, it's simply quick anger in the heat of an argument, where words are said that never should have been thought, let alone uttered out loud. It's sad.
I just spent a weekend with a friend in Seattle. I blogged about it. The two of us couldn't be more different in our political leanings. Seriously. But any discussion we had about politics - and there wasn't much - was polite and respectful. Because there were bigger things than winning an argument at stake, like a decades long friendship. Like being as close as sisters. I wouldn't jeopardize that for anything, and I think most of us are the same when it comes to folks we know.
It's when we don't know them that most of the trouble begins. We assume. We conjecture. We believe rumors and gossip. And we don't check our facts. It's no secret that I'm a Mitt Romney fan. I think he's an incredibly intelligent, capable man who will do right for this country. He is not Obama-smooth in front of a camera. But he's sincere - at least that's my opinion. I went on his Facebook page one day, and I was appalled at how mean so many people were in their comments. I mean, really really mean in a completely uninformed and ignorant way. I dare say that if I were to go on President Obama's page (I guess he has one?) it would maybe be a lot of the same thing. It made me so disappointed in people.
I guess my point is this: if you don't like someone's politics, that is perfectly acceptable. There are many many ways to approach problems, and we can't always have it our way. It's a big country with lots of people and opinions in it. Personally, Mr. Obama has had four years to try it his way, and now I'd like to try something else. You may feel differently, and I respect your right to feel that way. What I can't respect is when Mitt or any other candidate is attacked and maligned for reasons that have nothing to do with political views - like religion or wealth, or having two Cadillacs. I don't know a politician anywhere who is not financially successful - since when is that a bad thing? Do we not want successful people as our leaders? And why are things that are so unimportant being attacked? It's so we don't focus on important truths - instead we feel angry that some have so much more than we do. But that's life, people - there will always be the two extremes and then most of us somewhere in the middle. Hopefully, the ones with a lot, will give a lot to help those who have nothing. There are so many good people in the world who give and give and give. But you can't - and shouldn't - force people to give. It should be a choice, a freedom, because then it's truly a gift.
You don't like Evangelicals? You think Mormons are a misled cult? No one is asking you to be one. But for the love of all that's holy, please don't spout garbage about someone's sacred beliefs when you know little to nothing about them. Or because you are feeling bitter. I can't begin to speak for any religion other than my own (and for the record, it's not a cult... *rolling eyes and shaking head*) - but I would not ever just fabricate a reality or ridicule someone's religion because I don't agree with the doctrines. I would not call someone's daughter, wife, or sister a filthy name. Not to be funny, or for TV/radio ratings, or for any other reason. Respect, folks, respect. We should always show each other common courtesies, understanding that what I like to do, what I choose to believe in, you may not, and vice versa. And it's okay. With a mutual respect, we can compromise and come to an understanding. It's the way it should be.
Sadly, it doesn't work unless everyone takes that attitude. I fear that this election (and society in general) is going to get really mean. Lots of lies. Lots of venom. But we can think and discern truth from the junk. Viciousness will always sound like a mean lie, so let's don't accept it on face value. Ask questions, research, pray if you're so inclined.
There will always be those who take joy in tearing down and destroying others' freedoms, beliefs and dreams when they are different from their own. There are those who will always find spiritual beliefs - religion if you will - something to ridicule and make fun of. But let's don't be those people, even if you don't want religion for yourself. Let's make mean people the minority. Let's make a conscious effort to show courtesy for the opinions and beliefs that differ from our own. Let's try to understand how others came to have those opinions. It can be eye opening, and can lead to compromise and understanding. It can lead to unlikely friendships. It can lead to education and peace. And who couldn't stand to learn more and feel more peace? We have a bright generation coming up. Let's do our best to be good to each other so they will learn kindness and compassion. They are our hope.