Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Election '08, you're getting on my nerves.

It's amazing how many different opinions there are out there, and how boldly people will shove them at you. Trust me, I know. I've definitely shoved my fair share of opinions at people, and I know I've got more than one soapbox out there, but lately with all of the Campaign '08 business happening it seems like opinions and soapboxes are much more on the forefront.

I know politics gets more heated during election years. Makes perfect sense to me. I'm sure that this kind of thing stands out to me more because this is the first presidential election I'll be able to vote in (by the way, VOTE. You should vote. Really. I think it's an important thing to do.) so I'm more...actively participating, I suppose you'd say.

My close friends already have some idea of how I feel about the candidates and why, so I really see no point in going too far into it. Suffice it to say, I'm a Republican and I would bet you money I'm far more conservative than even I am aware.

Please don't think that 'conservative' has to mean 'close-minded' or 'stuffy' or 'severely opposed to any new idea, thanks very much'. I am, I hope, by no means unwilling or unable to listen to ideas. Every person has the right to mull over issues and decide where they stand. I'm sure there are some issues that I would stand on the liberal side of.

However, one thing I'm not particularly open to is all of the name-calling, insults, and all the rest that happen when one person says "I think this" and the other says, "You're wrong, you're stupid, and this is why." Well, sometimes there's not even a why.

I say, if you want to talk, debate, discuss -- then do it. I am capable (and usually enjoy) talking, debating, and discussing. If you want to announce what you think and remain undisputed (which, by the way, will rarely happen. Especially if you're a horse's behind about it.) then don't say that you want to talk about it. Because it won't be true.

(Back when I STARTED this post, on 9/11/08), I stumbled upon an article about newly announced VP candidate Sarah Palin--yeah, back when she was still "newly announced"-- which I thought was very well written and had a great combination of facts, personal opinions, all of that good stuff, while at the same time remaining polite, well spoken, and informative. I can't remember the link right at this moment, but I'll see if I can turn it up in my history and I'll post it. Basically it was written by a self-proclaimed liberal woman who admittedly disagrees with Palin's political stances but can acknowledge the qualities she does have. I guess you could call that the ultra-Reader's-Digest version, anyway.

Where I had my problem was in the comments. There were comments from all kinds of people, some of them agreeing, some disagreeing. Some disagreeing with venom and hatred. I don't have a problem with stuff like, "I see where you're coming from, but..." or, "I respect your opinion, but I disagree with you because..." That's all well and good. Because it's still a civil "You can think what you want, but since you shared your views so will I" conversation.

And then there are the "This is the stupidest thing I've ever read" comments. And the "You are pathetic" comments. And the "If you vote for Palin then I hope that the ghost of every girl who dies in a back-alley abortion haunts you and your family" comments.


I'm going to call the kettle black here, I realize that, because my initial reaction and opinion on those kind of insult comments aren't much better than the comments themselves. However, I don't think it's completely hypocritical because unlike the "You must be the dumbest person to ever walk the planet since you think that way" comments, I don't think they're garbage because they don't jive with what I think and believe. No, I think they're garbage because they offer no valid points, no reason for disagreeing, no actual substance, thought, wit, or any obvious signs of brain activity went into those statements. They're strictly emotional. They're "I-so-wholeheartedly-disagree-with-you-that-I-can't-even-abide-by-the-concept-of-personal-opinion" statements.

Don't get me wrong - I'm DEFINITELY not trying to say that I never have emotional responses. Or that I never want to say "You're so wrong!" or "Only an idiot would think that!" Let me restress that - I'm really not saying I never have emotional responses. (Those of you who know me, shut up! :-P )

However, I will follow that up with:

I don't honestly expect people to take me seriously
if the only thing I can come up with for rebuttle is
"You stink!"

"You stink!" is not quite the comeback it seems like when you're angry. And if your intention really is to sway me, or convince me that you're right and I'm mistaken, you're really not going to accomplish that by insulting my intelligence. That instantly puts me on the defensive, not only of how I think but also of me personally.

So there's one more soapbox, sort of related to politics, but also one that applies all the time.

I realize that there is no way to say this post is completely unbias because I pretty much mentioned my political stance. BUT bear in mind that this is in no way meant to be a "Go McCain, Screw Obama!" post. Because it's not. I promise, it's really not. I absolutely respect your opinion to think, feel, support, vote for whoever you want. This was merely meant to point out the fact that when you sling insults at someones' opinion and don't even offer a reason, you don't get your point across. You either irritate people (which I suppose could be the intent...but that's another story!) or look like a fool because you come off like you can't find any words to support what you're thinking.

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