Today, we will finally be done with this election cycle. In my lifetime this had to be the most difficult process I have ever seen. Families against each other, horrible things said…really, pretty ugly for everyone.
I learned a lot about myself through this uncomfortable process. I have learned that I can still like people who don’t have the same ideology as I do. In my opinion, religion and politics are two things that can and do change as we age. When I say ‘change’, I don’t even mean any kind of drastic change, I mean with age there is wisdom. Many of us, as young adults, used vote like our friends or parents so we could fit in. As time goes on we become individuals, and begin figuring out what we want for ourselves.
At birth our brains are wired for downloading information then processing it in different ways. Common sense means different things to different people. Some people are more comfortable with their own kind, some live and co-mingle with all different types of cultures and people. Some people make all their choices through fear and some exclusively through love.
In realizing how much I love my country, I also saw that I can be disappointed in her. But, I can only get disillusioned with something I love. I want it to be all it can be. Many have different ideas on what this means and how to get there. But, that’s cool. Right? It should be, but not everyone likes those who think differently.
I was at a park and a group of veterans of different ages and war times were having a round table at an event. The question came up about how each of them felt about the issues surrounding the treatment of our flag. One marine was a bit irritated and said he didn’t like it when people sat out the national anthem, etc…but then he softened, “I may not like it, but I have fought for a free country so people could demonstrate and voice their feelings and beliefs freely and without fear of government interference.” You could have heard a pin drop. He is absolutely right. I’m the person that cries during the anthem. If someone else wants to show how unhappy they are by sitting it out or standing on a soap box in front of the White House and saying the president sucks eggs, they can. They can’t hurt my feelings, I don’t know them. It’s their right. I have no business judging them.
It has been amazing to learn that the same people that say they want freedom actually want the freedom to tell others what to do and how their freedom should look to be considered appropriate. This makes no sense. So even freedom is complicated. Still, no holding it against anyone for their beliefs. I can dislike it, if I’m really having a bad day, I can throw a fit about it in front of my TV at home and leave it at that.
I learned to not take anything personal. Nothing is, you know. I’m not even talking about just politics on this one. We live in our own reality and our perceptions of the world are not necessarily those of others. I’ve learned to tread lightly and appreciate that when people act out it isn’t about me. That’s helpful in all areas of life, really.
Finally, I have noticed that far too many people think others want their unsolicited opinions. In most cases it is either preaching to the choir, not changing anyone’s mind or just plain old TMI. I was in a constant state of, “could have lived the rest of my life not knowing how so n so felt about (fill in the blank)”. Know who your audience is. If you are telling all the people that are in agreement with your philosophy, great…if you risk hurting Aunt Martha’s feelings over your opinion, then you must take the consequences. Don’t be surprised if Aunt Martha hides your posts or just unfriends you.
Opinions are like assholes, right? Everyone has one. The only place where your opinion counts is in the voting booth. In fact, if people don’t vote because it’s too hard to decide, or they plain dislike everyone on the ballot, then for the four years you aren’t part of the club. Can’t complain or judge what is about to happen to our country. In fact, the people that didn’t vote today, have given up their freedom. Don’t you think if everyone decided not to vote, the right would be taken away eventually? Don’t take freedom for granted. It might not look like you want it to, but it will never change with silence.
Its finally over…so make your voice heard today so you can be part of the discussion! Go out and make it a great day!