This election cycle has been loooooong, hasn’t it? I first started hearing the vitriol at the end of last summer–2015.
To tell you the truth, I was taken aback. We were out for a social evening, standing outside sipping cocktails, when the conversation turned to the primary candidates. After about ten minutes of listening to the back and forth I had to walk away.
I simultaneously felt sick to my stomach and dirty, like I needed a long hot shower.
What had just happened?
After going over it in my head, I realized that the conversation hadn’t been about politics at all. It had been personal attack after personal attack on the people running for office.
It wasn’t, “I don’t like what this person stands for.” It was, “This person is a horrible, despicable human being who should rot in hell.”
And as you well know, it has only gotten worse from there.
We live in a deeply divided country.
This is nothing new, but the glaring reality of it has come front and center in these past months.
I’m not even going to touch on the candidates or what they stand for. You’ve been inundated with that from every direction for too long now.
What I want to point out is a trend that I see as both detrimental and hypocritical.
I see so many people attacking the candidate that they want to see lose. Not the platform. Not the record or the experience, but the candidate personally.
And this is on both sides. The hatred being spewed at both nominee’s is unprecedented.
I’m going to use Trump as the example here because he is actually using hate as a pillar of his campaign. He has actively and frivolously denounced entire segments of our population. He has accused specific ethnic groups of being rapists, drug dealers and terrorists.
Millions of people are justifiably horrified by this.
I am too.
But the way that many people have responded to his positions is what concerns me.
What I see all around me is people reacting with hatred toward Donald Trump and those that support him. In response to Trump demeaning minorities and immigrants, the other side denounces Trump with horrific names that denigrate his character and intelligence.
The name calling and hatred then gets thrown back and forth, seemingly with glee, with each side attempting to land the lowest blow.
Do you see the problem with this? One side hates minorities and then the other side hates them for hating minorities. This makes both sides equally guilty.
It may seem like it’s different. It may seem like this is a defense of the people that have been attacked. But in reality it just adds more hate to the discourse and more fuel to the “us versus them” mentality.
It is fighting fire with fire, which only gives the world more fire. More hatred. More separation.
And if all we have is both sides slinging mud at each other, how can we ever find common ground? How can voters feel heard? How can issues get addressed?
I get that this election is like no other. But isn’t that all the more reason to find ways to stay above our base instincts?
So while I have kept myself out of the conversation as much as possible, when I have felt obliged to dip my toe in, I have tried desperately to stick to this motto:
Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.
I realize that some people cannot love (or even like) either candidate, but everyone can find something to support. Even if it is to support our democracy and our freedom.
Part of living in a free country is that everyone has a right to hate if that is what they choose.
But my personal experience is that hate makes me feel nauseous and needing a shower.
How does hate make you feel?
My intention is to always promote what I love, because it just feels better.
And if more people chose that, maybe our country could climb out of this deep dark hole that we have dug.
What do you think?
In order to change your life you must first change your mind