Agreeing to disagree

IUS Horizon

I am among the ranks of those who are ready for this election season to come to an end. No matter who wins or loses, it’ll be nice to stop seeing so much airtime eaten up by people who certainly approve of messages about their opponents.

But this is far from over, unfortunately. Even though the ads will finally stop running and we don’t have to worry about who paid for what commercial, this country is still going to be in a tizzy about the results and what they mean. Trust me, the worst of this election year is almost over, but there’s a lot more coming our way in the political arena.

This week is sure to be the beginning of a frustrating dynamic, both on and off campus. After all the votes are counted on Nov. 3, and the winner of the world’s biggest contest is announced, half of us will be ecstatic and half of us will be bummed out. Some of us will threaten, as we do every four years, to change our citizenship.

The supporters of the winners are likely to rub the victory in the face of the losers, because there just isn’t any sportsmanship in politics. We’ll probably hear more told-ya-so’s and personal insults to ridiculous Republicans, dimwitted Democrats, and just plain loco Libertarians than we have this entire election year.

However, there’s a lot more to the arguments of the far-left and far-right alike. It’s not just the opposite candidate who is evil incarnate, the people who vote for the other guy are just as bad in the extremists’ eyes.

At least, as far as the extremists are concerned.

I’ve always been annoyed with the polarization that occurs in a campaign season. People are never as nasty and insensitive as they are when they talk politics, but there’s no reason for that kind of behavior. The backgrounds and characters of people are completely thrown out as soon as someone mentions a red or blue buzzword.

This is the kind of immaturity that can only come out when the conversation turns to politics.

It’s bad enough when the issues of abortion or redistribution of wealth are brought up. Suddenly, the person who has a different opinion is a sworn enemy.

Combining the heated tempers that often raise on religion, philosophy and NFL team affiliations couldn’t produce the kind of arguments that explode when politics is introduced. It still blows my mind how our two-party system creates cliques that are worse than anything we ever saw in high school.

Feuds break out within families because of political affiliation, and some don’t even speak to one another because an uncle has the wrong bumper sticker on his car.

Have we honestly reached a point that a paper decal is the basis on which we judge someone’s character? We make generalizations on one another because of our party’s defining color, or because our views on same-sex marriage couldn’t be any more different.

Two of my favorite people couldn’t be on the farther end of the fence from me, but we don’t get into politics.

We get into what we’re doing with our lives, what we want to do and how we’re getting there.

You know what? When it comes down to it, we all really want the same thing: Happiness.

What happened to being courteous and friendly? Just because someone doesn’t share another’s political ideas doesn’t give one the right to tear into them.

It’s childish to call someone a backward moron because they’re voting for McCain or Obama, or Nader for that matter. A person’s political beliefs don’t necessarily dictate what they are.

Aside from political affiliation and lapel pins of the U.S. flag, there’s plenty to judge whether or not it’s worth speaking to someone. The far-left and the far-right have a lot of growing up to do, because those certainly aren’t the kind of people I want leading my country and dictating my ideas.

There’s nothing wrong with a good debate of the wits, but there’s absolutely no reason to carry that conversation into a personal judgment on another person. It’s best to keep political views out of sight when it comes to character judgments.

So, whether we agree politically or not, we should do our best to get along with everyone. Not only does it make life a whole lot easier, it makes everything a lot more
pleasant.

By JEROD CLAPP
Senior Editor
jlclapp@ius.edu