We lose when we fight dirty, or the crazy politics of 2016

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

I'm seriously contemplating becoming a person that doesn't care about politics anymore. The smuggery of some of the winners and the rioting and crazy behaviour of some of the losers this year has made me want to just push all thoughts of world events out of my head and replace the space in my brain for something else.


I mean, I've always wanted to learn to crochet. Maybe I could do that.

I'm only kind of joking.

What's been most disheartening for me about 2016 is not necessarily the political uncertainty or the upheaval that we've felt, but the depth of vitriol that these issues have brought out in people.

People have strong feelings. I understand this - huge decisions have been made this year that will impact generations to come. But the words? The words hurt.

Stupid. Pathetic. Scared. Whinging. Too old to get it. Too young to understand. Uneducated. Stubborn. Narrow-minded. Ignorant. Naive.

Those are the ones I feel comfortable repeating. And they're from both ends of the political spectrum. Twitter is not a particularly happy place right now, but I've heard some of these things said in real life too. Openly.

When you genuinely believe you've voted/expressed an opinion that is true and right and sits in line with your own convictions, to have something like the above thrown in your face really sucks.

Somewhere along the line this year our passionate opinions have turned into something deeper and darker and it's widened the chasm between generations, between members of political parties, between men and women, between races. Somewhere along the line we've forgotten how to do discourse without a) saying outright nasty things or b) implying by tone of voice or words that the other person is utterly stupid.

I read a quote the other day that said 'stand by your convictions, but hold them loosely.' I like that. Be opinionated! I like hearing opinions. It's better than sticking our heads in the sand. Challenge other people's opinions and viewpoints. Ask questions of yourself and other people. Ponder where the facts you believe to be true are coming from and ask people where their sources come from, too.

But hold people in higher esteem than opinions.

In other words: watch your tongue.

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I find this - being graceful and loving but still maintaining my own opinions, ideas, and convictions - quite a difficult balance. In the past, I've held off voicing my own opinions at all, because it felt easier than treading on people's toes. Or having people think of me as stupid, or wrong. Now, I find it easier to speak out, but less than easy not to get emotional or stressed whilst speaking.

That might be just me. I want people to get where I'm coming from. The thing is, I consider everything, probably a bit too much. But when it comes down to speaking it something happens between my brain and my mouth and it doesn't always come out the way I want it to.

If this year has taught us anything it should be that people are fed up of the norm. They're fed up of empty words. They want truth and transparency from their leaders. Unfortunately, the leaders we're left with aren't necessarily great (alright, some of them really aren't great). But they're all we have.

I've said this before but I'll say it again: divide and conquer is a pretty good tactic for political leaders. And one of the problems with both the UK and the US this year is that those leaders have not been afraid of fighting dirty. They encourage rumour spreading, or outright lying; they encourage near-violent hatred of the other side.

The extra annoying thing is that, win or lose, they can then step aside. The emotional turmoil they've put their citizens through is not really their issue: yeah, they might have subtly promoted hatred and anger, but they didn't ask for people to start rioting or screaming abuse at each other. Right? They can just sit in their bubbles and wait for it all to blow over.

Or maybe I'm just cynical that way. But that's how it appears to me. Stirring people up into a frenzy and then not taking responsibility for it. Never mind that, you know, people could end up being beaten or even killed for what they believe to be right.

In an ideal world our politicians would have integrity and honour. They would fight a fair fight. Their policies and ideals would speak loudly enough that the extra crap wouldn't be needed. They wouldn't sink disgusting amounts of money into political campaigns.

But that's not the way it works, I guess.

I don't really think there's a point to this post. It's a 'thinking out loud' kind of thing.

Questions should be asked, particularly after this year, about the way political campaigns are run, and the attitudes of the people that we elect to run our countries, and the role the media has to play in it. In the meantime, I suppose the main thing that we could all probably do with remembering is that you can't just boil people down to their political leanings. People are complicated, emotional, and varied creatures: they change and grow and make mistakes. Including me. Including you. We have to allow each other grace for that.

Grace again above all else. Or else we stand to lose an awful lot.

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Linking up with:


Mummascribbles

Pink Pear Bear

2 comments:

  1. Your posts are always well considered Meg. Thank you for sharing x

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  2. It's been really shocking to see the depths of hatred and bad feeling there is out there. Things that I thought were firmly in the past, and if not in the past, in the 'too frowned upon to mention publicly' camp, but now people seem to feel they have a right to talk openly about their hateful feelings towards others. Makes me so sad. Thanks for linking up with us. #bigpinklink

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