Ugh… politics is ugly, y’all. It makes good people behave badly. I had hoped that all this political rhetoric would have gone away once the 2016 election was over and that my Facebook feed would return to the normal Star Wars memes and videos of cats and dogs cuddling.
Alas, that is just not meant to be.
Why I Don’t Shout From the Rooftops
Yes, I have opinions and deeply held beliefs. Yes, I have the freedom to say everything I think and feel anytime I want. What is worse, is that the internet gives me (and everyone else) the opportunity and the platform to do it 24 hours a day.
I have intentionally stayed out of the political noise this time around for many well-thought out reasons…
Too Much Noise In My Bubble
Have you heard about political – or social – bubbles? It is when someone surrounds themselves exclusively with friends and family who think the same. Therefore your social media feeds, your news feeds and those you speak with in real life likely think and feel the way you do. Your opinions are validated constantly, and the “other side” is vilified consistently.
I seriously have no clue what that is like. I live in a no-bubble-zone.
My family members range from the far left to the far right. I have atheists and devoutly religious relatives. The friends I have chosen to be a part of my life mirror the way I grew up.
And many of them are not silent about anything, including politics.
Just like too many cooks spoil the soup, too many disjointed voices make communicating political opinions online a senseless use of my time. Others are already shouting in ALL CAPS or un-friending family members. I just can’t see the point in any of it.
I’m Too Old for This
I’ve voted in every presidential election since I was old enough to do so. Do you know how many times my candidate won? About half of them. I have voted for Democrats and Republicans. I have never voted solely down party lines. Yet still, my candidate has only won half the time.
Guess what? We’re still here. Because I have learned that a president can sign executive orders, but even that has limits. (I know it seems like our current president is signing lots of them this week, but every new president does. It’s how this game is played. It eventually does slow down.)
We have a legislative and judicial branch for a reason. The checks and balances set up by our Founding Fathers actually work… even if 24-hour news cycles like to pretend they don’t. Because, let’s face it, our political system working like it should does not grab the attention of viewers.
I Have Learned This One Political Truth
Every president has done things I agree with, and they do lots that I don’t.
That goes for presidents for whom I have voted as well as those I did not. It goes for both sides of the political aisle. Old age has taught me that my president is my president whether or not I voted for them. But my president is not just my president. They have do be the president of every citizen from sea to shining sea, and I’ll tell you what, I don’t agree with every citizen, so why should I expect to agree with every president – or even one president all the time. That’s just crazy talk.
When I Speak, You Know I Mean It
I don’t tackle every political fight publicly because at some point, your voice will no longer be heard. It will become just one of a chorus of political white noise that no one pays attention to.
But… when I do speak, you know I mean it.
Voices who speak out all the time about every little thing are easily ignored. Voices who speak out purposefully and with much consideration are often listened to.
Speaking Without Words
Just because I don’t shout my opinions on Facebook or Retweet many political leaders doesn’t mean I don’t join in the cause. Great ways to speak without shouting on social media:
- volunteer in your community.
- contribute financially to a cause.
- most importantly… VOTE!
One of the strongest ways you can speak is by listening to the other side. I mean listen. Even when there is no way you will agree with them, at least they know you have cared enough to hear them out, so that when you do choose to speak, you can demand the same courtesy.