I said I wasn’t getting up on a soapbox, but…

…this is getting ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.

People are tearing each other apart. Not literally, but damn near close to it. Maybe in a few days, weeks, months…maybe when America’s first orange POTUS takes office. I don’t know when. But it’s gotta stop.

I have seen dozens of friendships ended over this election, both before and after. No one wants to give an inch of ground in a nation where free speech is, like, number one. Way up there with freedom of the press, religion, etc. The founders of this country felt it was that important.

I get it. You might say you have the right to freely express your opinion by unfriending someone you’ve known and loved for twenty-some-odd years, and I’m not saying you don’t have the right to do it. I’m asking, “Is it right?”

Yes, quite a few people seem to have strong opinions on this election. Strong enough to break the bonds of friendship and even family. It’s really sad that this is how our “united” nation falls apart. The process didn’t work the way everyone wanted it, and now everyone’s in an uproar. Some people are in uproar over the results; some people are in uproar over the uproar. It’s insanity.

I voted third party. There; I said it. I’m sure several people stopped reading right there and unfriended/unfollowed me. Because I “stole” the election from someone I wasn’t going to vote for anyway–or “gave” it to someone else I wasn’t going to vote for. That’s the whole point of having third parties, to give us what we crave: choice. I didn’t want to vote for either major party candidate. Does that mean I have to choose the lesser of two evils just to please the masses? No! I have just as much of a right to vote third party as anyone else has to vote for T. or H. or freakin’ write in Donald Duck. That’s the system. It’s how it works, and I’m glad for it. Third party options gave me another choice. It was that or not vote, and frankly I was determined to exercise my right to vote. Not gonna let those suffragettes’ efforts be in vain.

I stood in line outside, in the cold, without a jacket (because I forgot to bring one to my 12-hour shift that morning) for four hours to vote. I stood in line another half hour inside to vote. I shivered. I chatted with the other people in line. Made silly faces at the little toddler in line ahead of me. None of us talked about who we were voting for, because it’s nobody’s business but our own. We got along. We were friendly. A very nice soldier offered me his coat even though I clearly weigh at least 80 pounds more than he does and would clearly never have gotten even one sausage arm through a sleeve.

That is how it’s supposed to be. Not all this infighting and protesting and hate speech. People being involved in the process and being accepting of others because it’s no one’s business how you choose to vote.

Okay, so maybe you advertised your vote across social media to anyone who would listen. That’s your right, too. Like I said before, free speech and all. However, if arguments start over that, it’s kind of messed up. Don’t like the candidate Uncle Joey says he’s voting for? Here’s a thought: don’t get involved. Most of us aren’t going to change our vote just because someone on the “other side” starts ranting about how “their” candidate is the “right” one. Starting arguments makes you just as much to blame for the division we’re seeing right now as the people you view as being divisive.

I’ve seen plenty of people giving the hard-sales pitch to try to get others to vote for their candidate. Did I unfriend anyone? No, but I’ll admit I unfollowed a few who were just too aggressive. Temporarily, mind you, and I didn’t unfollow anyone I’m close to. Mostly people I stay friends with to see how their lives are going, because my social anxiety makes it hard to reach out. Liking a few posts to say “Hey, I’m here. I pay attention to what’s going on in your life” is easier for me than actually picking up the phone and saying “Hey, I’m here. What’s going on in your life?” Just the way I’m wired. But if you’re shoving your politics in my face, I’m sorry–I’m not going to subject myself to that if I can avoid it.

It’s even worse now that the election is over. The divide is growing. It’s massive, and it’s terrifying. People on one side feel it’s okay to insult people on the other side for whatever reason. Sometimes it’s because they feel it’s socially acceptable to express their hate now (these people I admittedly would unfriend, but so far none of my friends who voted on that side are the hateful type). Sometimes it’s because they feel wronged by the system. Sometimes it’s out of hate, sometimes fear.

What can we do about it? Right now, a whole lotta nothing. This rant, like so many of the “T. won” or “I’m still with H.” rants on social media these days, will be read (or more likely glossed over) and forgotten. Some people may agree with me. More may disagree, and they’ll make their dislike known.

And, quite possibly, despite my mostly-neutral stance in politics so far, I’ll likely lose friends over this. People will be upset that I’m not getting upset, or perhaps upset that I’m getting upset that they’re getting upset. What? Exactly.

If you’re going to unfriend me now, I truly am sorry. Not for what I’ve said, but for the situation that makes you feel like that’s the solution.

I just wish we could all get along.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s