Chagrined

I have a love-hate relationship with this time of year. It’s not like this every year.  2012 seems to be a little extreme.

I love this time of year because . . . well, what’s not to love about fall?  You don’t need or yearn for air conditioning.  Nature puts on a great show. I love fall colors that contain more than yellow!

Sweatshirts and sweaters aren’t an idea, but a reality.  So are my chacos; they’re still wearable much of the time.

Another plus for this season?  My birthday.  It’s on Thursday, just in case you’re wondering.  It’s not that I’m enamored with growing older, it’s just fun to have a day where people greet you with extra brightness.  Neither does it hurt that there may be a present or two, or time with friends.  (No pressure though!  Really . . . you know, unless you REALLY want to.)

The hate part?  Election day. Well, not so much the actual day, but the season of incessant campaigning preceding the day.  Once upon a time, back in the far reaches of my mind, I liked government.  I loved the electoral process.  I found election years fun.  Like I said, it was a while ago.

Lately I’ve been thankful that I don’t watch much broadcast TV.  When I do, it feels like I’m caught in the middle of a mud-slinging fest.  One advertisement tells me the positive contributions of a candidate.  The next tells me why the previous ad was a lie.  Numbers about spending, the deficit, potential problems, employment and/or unemployment spin at me before I have a chance to evaluate what I’m being told.  Most of the time it relates to the fallacies of the opposing candidate’s view not the truths of the candidate who approves the message currently assaulting me.

I’ve arrived at a few sad conclusions.  The first is, you can spin most things.  My dad always said, “Figures don’t lie, but liars can figure.”  If I took everything spun at me, the only logical conclusion is both the major candidates are consummate liars. (I’m not going there.)

The second is, there’s no clear cut choice for me.  I’ve taken numerous quizzes online to determine which candidate most closely represents my beliefs about life in the USA and how this nation should be governed.  They make me a little crazy.  Everything is stark contrast.  I’m much more middle ground.  I agree with one candidate on a few points, the other candidate on a few different points, and neither on many.

I take my responsibility to vote seriously.  I’m praying about it because I’m still undecided at this point.  I don’t see a good choice.

I can live with that.  I know neither of the candidates truly expresses my point of view.  That’s not what chagrins me.

What vexes me are my friends and their reactions to election season.  There are a few who simply report news pieces.  These don’t bother me.  They have figures and statements that more or less report the way things are.  (I’m not naive enough to think the news is completely unbiased.)  Those friends are actually in the minority.

The vitriolic spew I’ve been reading lately (especially on facebook) embarrasses me.  Posts decrying the President as either 1. a stinking liar  or 2. unAmerican or both or something else that’s fairly unfounded overtake my newsfeed some days.  Other days I’m inundated with articles on why Governor Romney will usher in the end of the world if he’s elected.

I know those pieces are out there.  I would love people to consider that they’re op-ed pieces and not undeniable fact.  I would love those who post these things to consider that condemning anyone who disagrees with their political viewpoint (even if it’s just by posting a link to someone else’s words) and then proclaiming Jesus’ love in the surrounding posts doesn’t seem convincing to me.  In fact, it’s down right embarrassing.

I’m not discomfited for me.  I’m shamed for them.  I want to yell, “Come on people!!  Don’t just speak or post.  Think first!! Don’t be lazy.  Work out the meaning of your post.”

Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, is purported to have said, ““A lot of people today who have strong convictions are not very civil and a lot of people who are civil don’t have very strong convictions. What we really need is convicted civility.”  I’d love to see this become the basis of discourse not only in our face to face meetings but also on more public (and less personal) forums like facebook.

I don’t want you to abdicate your firmly held beliefs and convictions.  I want you to be civil.  I want you to acknowledge not one candidate has ALL the answers or theverybestplanofalltimetohelpthisnation. I don’t want you to rudely decry the other candidate.  I don’t think any of you would be sneeringly rude in person; why do it online?  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

What do you think of this season?

 

photo courtesy of Dan Hankins on flickr creative commons

 

 

 

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9 Responses to “Chagrined”

  1. Ginger HuntOctober 8, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    Thank you, dear friend. I won’t even strike up a conversation with most people I know now, because i don’t want to hear such negativity and bias. I teach my students the importance of voting, and we will learn about both candidates, but I will honestly be relieved when it’s all over. I’d love to see Christians speaking in love, praying with kindness.
    Happy birthday, almost. I love you, and I am so proud to know you.
    Ginger

  2. Catherine LoveOctober 8, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    You said it!! In fact, you said so many good things I don’t know what to address, so I will just address your last question. What do I think of this season? I think we are lucky to be members of a country that allows us to vote, to have our voices heard. On the other hand, I think it is sad that the concepts of honor and respect, “prefering one another in love” have all but disappeared. I am more than happy to exchange ideas with someone, but not without respect given toward each other and respect for ideas that other people have. My parents taught me that I don’t have to agree, but I do have to be respectful.

    You might be interested to know that the best example of this I saw on facebook was an interchange between my lawyer nephew and his (presumably) lawyer friends. It was a true debate entered into with the respectful exchange of idea’s. Maybe we could learn something from our lawyer friends. 🙂

  3. richelle @ "our wright"-ing padOctober 9, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    excellent words – very well said! i’m with you 100%, and i’m not even in the States feeling the full brunt of this.

    hope you have a wonderful birthday, too!

  4. CherylOctober 9, 2012 at 4:35 am #

    You’re the best, Soul. I agree with you very much. Being farther removed from the election madness in the US, I have been deeply concerned by some of what my friends post on Facebook. I shake my head and wonder what’s happened since I used to live there… It’s not familiar to me, this kind of thing, and I’m embarassed too. Thanks for posting about this. Blessings!

  5. AimeeOctober 9, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    Ha! There’s one thing I DON’T miss about facebook! Thanks for the reminder. 🙂 While it may seem fairly a no-brainer to me, I’m pretty sure that getting mad at people for not thinking/valuing like me is not going to exactly win anyone over and could (has) ended relationships that could have turned into witnessing opportunities. “As far as it is possible with you, live at peace…”
    I mostly don’t particularly care for Fall due to the extreme temperature differences- 30 low, 80 high- really wreaks havoc on trying to keep people clothed appropriately. 😉 But I LOVE the leaves changing colors!

  6. MelissaOctober 9, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    I agree, Sheryl! I have had fewer discussions about this election than any other before, simply because I’m tired of just getting the “download” of ridiculous talk-radio-like rants. I’m definitely voting for the one guy, but I actually find myself defending the other guy a lot. (“Do you REALLY think that he is trying/will try to destroy America? Really? Is it possible that he’s an intelligent man who has ideas that you don’t agree with?) Anyway…great to read this 🙂

  7. SherylOctober 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    Wow! I asked for you to let me know that you were here . . . and you came through! Thank you!!!! I know people read, but I’m never sure how many or who or if anyone has any response. So thanks!!! It really does mean a lot to know you’re there.

    It’s also a good validation to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I like the company I’m in. 🙂

    May you know the best way to “pull the lever” next month. Thanks for the civil discourse in the meantime.

  8. Emilie ROctober 13, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    I’m glad it’s not election season over here… it drive me NUTS.
    As for Fall… I just began a blog post, not yet published, saying how much I hate fall. The stark contrast to the lovely warm summer days, and the constant rain, and endless wind. Urgh. For me though, winter is the worst. I forget how much I hate it every year until it comes around again. Bundling up in clothes that restrict movement and make you itchy, footwear that takes an age to get on and off, the chill-to-the-bones that never goes away, the endless dark days.
    Bring on summer, I’m yearning for it already and it’s only just finished.

  9. karenOctober 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    yes, yes, a thousand times yes!

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