I have never felt so nauseated, so appalled, so horrified by my fellow Americans. This Presidential Election year has brought out the worst in people, not the best. Not even the mediocre. I've heard it excused as "passion" but when does "passion" allow someone to be rude, uncaring, obnoxious? Does the internet play a part? Is the anonymity of cyberspace playing into it? I have to warn you, this is going to be a pouring out of thoughts and frustration so if you're not up for that, please stop reading now. Find something else to do. Go read a book instead. Whatever you do, please do not use my comments area to flame me. I gave already at the office.
I understand that people care passionately about this election but what I do not understand is how people can use this passion and rudely turn it against their fellow citizens. If you don't like their candidate, don't want to vote for their candidate, it seems to be the starter's pistol shot for all manner of nasty, public responses, many of them quite personal.
How personal? If you are on Twitter, you're familiar with the short updates and the ability to "follow" the updates of friends, acquaintences, etc. I saw a very recent update from an author in which he said that he couldn't believe how many stupid people had a computer. They weren't voting for his candidate. Would he call those people stupid if he were face-to-face with them? Maybe. I don't know. Does he call Reviewers stupid if they give his books a bad review? Well, maybe. I don't know. Reviews are subjective.
The personal attacks continue in Facebook updates. The message is clear: if you're not voting for their candidate, then you're an idiot or worse.
If you dare to speak out, as I have done here in the past, and say that you are Independent, well, that means you're for the "other" side. You couldn't possibly think for yourself. The interesting thing is that because these posts are coming from intelligent people, they are all the more stunning in their lack of respect for a free-thinker. They are all the more striking in their rudeness.
My mother taught me to be polite, never to intentionally hurt anyone else's feelings, to respect other viewpoints even if I didn't agree with them. Whatever happened to manners? Whatever happened to consideration? Whatever happened to being polite? To agreeing to disagree? Why the name-calling? Why the nasty inferences? Why the holier-than-thou attitude? This comes from people who are extremely liberal but have no regard for anyone else's feelings while claiming to care for others. Actions speak louder than words and right now those actions are screaming.
Not everyone goes along with the crowd, not everyone thinks the same way. Isn't that why this country was founded? Are we no longer allowed to have Freedom of Speech? Are we no longer free-thinking? Do we not have choices or are we expected to follow blindly, like sheep, what the crowd wants? That attitude is so, well, High School. Ironically, I didn't go along with the crowd in High School. I didn't "fit in" because I was part of a minority, a minority that wasn't welcome, so what did I have to lose? Nothing. I learned early on that I might as well think for myself because I wasn't going to be "in." It wasn't easy but it was a good lesson for me to learn. Now, all these years later, I find that I'm not part of the "in" Group, I'm being called names! By adults! It would be funny if it weren't so sad. What does it say about those name-calling adults? Do they hear what they're saying? Do they see what they're doing? Do they even care?
If you're not voting for their candidate, then you must be voting for the "other" one. You must be "stupid," or an idiot, too feeble-minded to think the way they do. You couldn't possibly be considering a Write In vote. You are too stupid. The "only" candidate is right in front of your eyes and they are the ones who can tell you how to vote or you won't be part of the "in" crowd.
I will not be influenced by others. Not other authors, not celebrities, not anyone but myself. I'm perfectly capable of reading everything I can get my hands on, listening to unscripted interviews, to weighing ideas, thoughts, points of view and, ultimately, reaching my own decision. Not all Democrats are alike, not all Republicans are alike, not all Independents are alike. The party lines aren't as clear as they once were although there is that penchant for painting everyone with the same brush. No two people are the same. Ever.
It seems these days that some people can't even remain civil. How sad. Personal attacks accomplish nothing but bad feelings.
Causes Darlene Arden Supports
The Marcia Polimer Abrams Fund for Canine Behavior Studies at the AKC Canine Health Foundation