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