Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

when in a bad time

While thinking of toxicity, how can I ignore how toxic our political environment has become? I try to keep this blog positive but...

Here's one thing that has gotten to me, and it was true of Europe during the Brexit debate and then vote-- it's not enough to disagree what must be done. Today the person who disagrees with us must be attacked. The candidate we don't like must be made into a monster. This is true of both parties in the United States right now. 

If I said I was voting for either major candidate, there are places I would be attacked for my choice that meant I was a bad person or stupid. If i said I was voting third party, the attack would be that I secretly wanted A or B to win and that was really what I was doing by voting out of the system.

Here's the thing-- when the politics of personal destruction reach behind the candidates to the voters, it puts pressure on people to not discuss their opinions. When some issues are such hot button topics that to hear someone sees it differently, debate disappears into angry attacks. And these issues are on both sides of the political divide. Talk about gun control, abortion, gay marriage, immigration, racism, political correctness, environment, taxes, etc. and you can guarantee to infuriate somebody if you don't already know to whom you are talking totally agrees.

This isn't just going on in the US. I think it's worldwide. It certainly was true with Great Britain voting, narrowly, to leave the European Union. I got into it once by having posted something about it and ended up with someone from Norway and someone else from Netherlands furious at each other with one on one side and the other the other. 

I guess we are lucky that mostly our debates are being settled at the ballot box, but in reality are they settled or just going underground, like abscesses, to surface in different ways? Are some of the rage attacks we see actually the result of this anger where it cannot be expressed, the person doesn't see things going the way they want, and it pops up against someone innocent or a spouse or themselves even.

A friend asked what can we do to peacefully bring ourselves together, and she suggested some possible ways. The thing is I don't think we can bring ourselves together right now. We just don't agree on what that would mean, and we are stuck in a a win/lose time. That rarely bodes well for good feelings-- even when it's over and a victory has been declared -- even worse if it's declared with gloating. And I have no reason to not think gloating will be involved after watching the recent aftermath of the first Presidential debate where the victor very much gloated the next day. If that happens again, how will that make the losing side feel? Like compromising and getting along or more angry than the actual loss had left them?

This situation reminds me of a book I first read years ago. I still remind myself of its principles when I come up against a sticky situation. 
One important one (for me) was to not allow things out of my control to become too important-- but a lot of what is going on right now is out of our control. Another was not to engage in situations that required a win/lose or lose/win outcome. The idea then was to not play-- except when it involves our nation, our culture, the future of our children and their children, how do we not play?


Tabor said...

It is unfortunate that dignity has left the scene. When compromise became a dirty word in Congress and when Congress said their total goal was to make the current President lose on every single issue, then war was declared in politics. One side argues with 5 syllable rhetoric and the other with passion. I disagree that we must retreat and be quiet. I think we must speak our minds, show we will not get angry and we will calmly argue our side on the issues AND be willing to see the other viewpoint if it is a reasonable voice. If the other does not want to listen so be it. Hitler came to power because people were quiet. Other dictators in other countries had the same success. Freedom of speech is so important.

Rain Trueax said...

It's one thing to speak our mind and allow that others see it differently. It's quite another to say there is only one way to see it. Worse this time is that it's not enough for some to attack Trump or Clinton, but they then attack their voters. That will not lead to a coming together or even a real discussion. Keep in mind some believe the left is the one leading us down Germany's disastrous path. Using Hitler as an argument ends the argument.

Harold/AQ said...

I've been thinking about this a bit, and I think you're right that the elections are unlikely to end the divisions. It occurs to me that we lack a shared vision of our common goals which makes rapprochement all but impossible. We've been divided for generations.
How to fix that?

Rain Trueax said...

we have been and we have groups who work to foment that division to their profit. There are some big issues that countries around the world face regarding environment, economics, and globalism or nationalism with each side thinking the other is wrong or mean or so forth. I am thinking of writing more on this for Saturday.

One of our major candidates has said privately that she favors a global view with no borders. Would that go over with enough Americans if she verbalized it in other than like-minded groups? I don't know, as I have a liberal friend who doesn't like borders either. It's a very idyllic view of life-- but then most of those people have fences and locks on their doors. I don't know if globalists or nationalists can ever come together, given the difference in those world views, which means one or the other wins.