site stats WhizGidget Wonders...
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
The Aftermath of Elections...

...yes, I'm breaking the political aspect of this blog again, but I'm doing it in a sideways manner. This is more about the relationships between people who are on different sides of the political fence, and my observations thereof.

Yes, it's reality check time. I'm writing one, and I hope a few of y'all cash it in.

In every election, as I'm sure I don't have to tell you, there is a winner and a loser (or non-winner for those who want to be nice and not call names). In the most recent election, I think there are a lot of people who believe that there is more than one loser due to the outcome. But that's always the case in any election. It's just more vocal now than it has been in the past.

Perhaps that's a result of the last presidential election, perhaps it's just that people have become more stalwart in their beliefs. Either way, fighting over the election and it's results doesn't get anyone anywhere, and only results in hurt feelings and resentful opinions of the "other side".

That's what I've been seeing for the last few months. Liberals, Moderates and Conservatives, Republicans, Democrats and Independents - they've all been sniping at each other endlessly. Before someone puts Liberals in the same bucket as Democrats, you can have a liberal Republican and a conservative Democrat - all of those labels and parties can be mixed together. They do exist, but I'm digressing from my point here.

The sniping has happened in the press (print and television), in debates, on blogs, and on bulletin boards. The boards are what brought it all out to me personally. I've watched patient people boil over, and good friends tell each other that they're wrong. In a very vehement fashion.

Now, I totally understand when people are passionate about things that they believe in or things that they love. When I start talking about a certain DVD rental company, they often can't shut me up because I'm passionate about the company. But I'm not about to tell someone who believes in going to Blockbuster or Walmart or Hollywood video that they're completely wrong and misinformed. I may not agree with their choice, but it was their choice to make.

I look at politics and elections the same way - I may not agree with you, but everyone is entitled to make a choice and vote that choice. It's not my place to tell you that you're dead wrong about your choice. I don't think that right belongs to anyone for that matter, but way too many people have taken that responsibility upon themselves. I think some folks haven't realized that they took on such responsibility either, although its very hard to miss.

Sources are quotes on both sides, sources were shot down by both sides... names were slung about, including rabid discrediting of all sources provided. Just yesterday someone hid behind an alter ego on a board to fire back a salvo at someone who didn't go into hiding. Unfortunately for them, I don't think they realize that IP addresses are visible to administrators, and that it's really easy to trace someone that way. Especially if they've posted from that same computer somewhere else on the board. And now others are making comments that are less than tolerant of the anonymous individual in question. Granted, no one wants to have a coward calling names behind an alter ego, but is calling them out on the carpet for thier actions justifiable in any case? Shouldn't they simply be ignored instead? What's the purpose for continuing to debate in a thread that's degenerated into a name-calling fest where one of the participants decides to hide behind an anonymous login?

No, before anyone asks, I have no idea who the individual in question is, nor do I care (and no, it isn't me either). What I care about is that the name calling of specific factions of political beliefs is still occurring. The election is over - not that the fact that there was an election makes it ok. It doesn't make it ok AT ALL, for any reason, at any time.

I know people who feel that they've lost friends because of all the strife. I know others who could give a amoeba's behind about who they've offended, because they think they know what's best for the country. I know others who've just quietly moved away from the unpleasantness because they don't want to have anything to do with it and have found other constructive methods in which to expend their energies.

There is no right party, or wrong party. There isn't even a winning party, when there are people from that winning party who are thumbing their noses at those who are heartbroken at the results of the recent election. Nor are there winners when folks from the losing party are loudly whining about the apocalypse finally being here. Here's an example of something that doesn't make sense to me: there are folks who are still dragging the Clinton administration through the muck - I don't see that same courtesy (or should I say lack thereof) extended to Presidents prior to Clinton. Where's the Nixon bashers, and the Carter bashers, and the Reagan and Johnson bashers? Let it go - Clinton did some good things, and some not so good things (professionally and personally on both counts) but those years are over. That's not to say that we should start beating up on Bush - there are plenty of folks who foam at the mouth that he's the President, and plenty who foam at the mouth to defend his administration. And plenty more who foam at the mouth simply because he is the President. Does anyone win in that situation?

I've watched articles about the aftermath of the elections process this go round be met with derision and accusations. I've seen perfectly innocent statements about how we should be concerned with the voting process be turned into debates about who should have won the election and who did win the election and the bad things about both of them. Is *this* how perfectly sane adults discuss politics? Is this how politics *should* be discussed - especially when the discussion is among people considered friends?

Is this really the way a friend should be treated? Is it ever justifiable to jump to an errant conclusion because you're so fired up (or over-sensitive) about the election, the road taken to get there, and the results?

Get a life, people. Yes, the political situation in our country is something to be concerned about. But to snipe, call names, and foam at the mouth that someone doesn't agree with what you've always believed in isn't the way to try and make someone see the viewpoint that you're coming from. It's just another way to alienate people and make them think that you're a closed-minded wacko. Yes, I've seen some closed-minded wackos, but I'm proud to say that none of them are good friends of mine.

People, as a whole, don't like to be wrong, and they really don't like to be wrong when it comes to politics. For some, that shakes the foundation upon which they've built thier lives. But when you're wrong, admit you're wrong. Or at least keep an open mind to what other people are saying on both sides of the fence because they really might not have an alternative agenda when they want to re-examine voting processes, or to discuss the electoral college, or they might really have a valid source and want to discuss it in a logical, non-party affiliated, non-finger-pointing sort of way.

These are just a few of the reasons that I normally don't discuss politics in this blog - I'm sure that I've lost some readers (and maybe some friends) today as a result of my statements here. They'll be viewed as pious, or self-righteous, or some other misguided "slap-on-the-wrist" type of statement for all the people who couldn't play nice in the sandbox. That's fine. I've been called worse things, and I honestly don't care what people think of me (save for my close friends and I already know what they think of me)...

...that's all I have to say on the matter. So there. Excuse me now, my green tea and metrics files are getting cold.