As you read this, I'm most likely still asleep after a long night of watching election returns and editing while also working on my blog, watching a movie, and trying to fit in a little time with my Ravenhill gaming guild.
I live an exciting life, don't I?
When I do wake up and check my home email (work email will wait till Thursday), I'm hoping against hope that the political emails will have, if not completely stopped, at least slowed to a trickle. Sending fundraising emails to me is a waste for those campaigns anyway (especially the out-of-state ones), as I have neither the money nor the inclination to contribute. If I contribute to anything, it's to entities that help their fellow humans (and/or critters).
There are other things that I'll be happy to bid adieu to now that the election (all but the final counting and fighting) is over. The optimist in me is hopeful that they'll disappear, but the realist has her doubts, considering how deeply they've embedded themselves.
• Long political screeds that have little semblance to reality.
More than a few of my Facebook friends (some of them family) have gotten upset when I've posted a fact check of some meme they've posted that is far from true. Repeating lies doesn't make them true (no legal investigation yet has found that Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts, for example), and taking things out of context is to divorce them from reality. Saying it's a joke is no excuse, since entirely too many people take political jokes seriously (make of that statement what you will). We need to get back to sharing the same reality and admitting that things we saw happen live actually happened, rather than listening to those who try to convince us they didn't.
Believe me, if wishing made things real, we'd all be rich, happy, healthy and sane, and I'd have all the chocolate and cats I want.
• Social media posts declaring that supporters of one political party or another are destined for hell.
I was more than a little tired by my second day or so on Facebook of seeing posts from people I know (or at least thought I knew) to be intelligent and caring degrading anyone who doesn't share their beliefs as the spawn of Satan. Those who professed to be following Christ's teachings especially concerned me since I don't recall Jesus ever saying that we should hate those who don't look or think like us or who don't follow our particular flavor of religion. While we shouldn't make it a competition for who is the better Christian, I would hope that those who have been preaching division rethink what they truly believe.
I know, there I go hoping again. I'm trying to cut down, but it's tough.
• People belligerently flouting social norms, rules, and laws to advance a political agenda.
What purpose is served by blocking freeways, or by using intimidation tactics against those with whom you disagree? The convoys that blocked traffic in various spots this weekend, as far as I could see, mostly just ticked off a lot of people. Odds are that many of those people had not yet voted, and do you really think they'd be inclined to vote for the person whose supporters were intentionally blocking them from getting where they needed to go, not for the greater good, but to thumb their noses at their opposition? There are safety issues to consider in such tactics, just as there are for refusing to wear a mask where mandated because you think your personal "freedom" is more important than everyone else's health. Your freedoms end where another person's begin. When everyone is masked, the odds of the disease spreading are low, and that's what we're trying to accomplish.
But sure, go ahead and talk about how you're being repressed. If the covid-19 dead could, I'm sure they'd applaud your heroism. By the way, you know that was sarcasm, right?
There is a common component to those things mentioned above: Fear.
People shouldn't have to fear going to the grocery store or to work, yet so many of us are, not because of disease or any government policy, but because of people. We've made our fellow citizens our enemies simply because they don't support the candidate we do, and we threaten them, sometimes with words and sometimes with weapons and/or intimidation.
Do we really need to be armed to pick up a rotisserie chicken or to get the mail? Should journalists start carrying guns with them to work to protect themselves from people who believe they're the enemy of the people? Do we need to start wearing bubbles to protect us from the people who refuse to wear masks and who might be infectious?
Seriously. Common sense and decency would dictate that if we follow rules, we're less likely to be hurt. But common sense seems pretty rare now.
I would love to get back to a point where we live and let live; where we realize that if someone else's decisions don't hurt anyone else, then their decisions are up to them; where we actually talk without letting politics get in the way; and where we recognize that those who don't agree with us aren't the enemy. Hell, they may just be our friends.
That'd be nice.
Assistant Editor Brenda Looper is editor of the Voices page. Read her blog at blooper0223.wordpress.com. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.