notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Political Pledge

I’ve been through a lot of election cycles.

I don’t remember Truman (though I was alive during his presidency)  and I vaguely remember Eisenhower as president… not as candidate.

The first election I remember is Kennedy’s. I was nine. I remember how excited the nuns were back in 1960 – with a Catholic running for president. The sisters still wore their black habits back then, and were not allowed to adorn them in any way. But every nun at my parochial school wore a Kennedy campaign button pinned to her (usually enormous) bosom.

And every election after that…LBJ, Nixon (2), Carter, Reagan (2), Bush, Clinton (2), W. (2), Barack Obama (2).

So this is the FIFTEENTH election for me.

I am no novice. But I am still shocked.

Campaigns have gotten much longer and much louder and much much nastier.  It is certainly not original for me to say that Campaigning has overtaken Governing in the way politicians spend their time.

And because of the ubiquity of the internet, in some ways we are more of a democracy than ever. Because EVERYONE can campaign.

All your friends, your family, your favorite websites – it is no longer just at the dinner table that folks are arguing over politics. It is EVERYWHERE. It is CONSTANT.

Sometimes it is thoughtful. But most of the time it is crass.

I have very low blood pressure, both physically and temperamentally. It takes a lot to get a rise out of me. But the last few weeks have had me aggravated and angry and my blood is throbbing in my ears.

I got into a Facebook pissing match last week with a good friend. She posted a meme that was easily disproved, and I was determined to do so. But I could not. The more data and sources I supplied to discredit her post, the more staunchly she defended it. In the end, I only convinced her of one thing: that I am an asshole.

I have regretted the argument all week.

And yesterday I took a pledge. I posted it on Facebook not only to my friends but to the general public. I see some spots where I could have expressed myself more eloquently, but it will serve the way it is.

It may not tone down the rhetoric. But I feel better. And perhaps my blood pressure will return to somewhere closer to its normal ‘I-faint-if-I-stand-up-too-quickly’ level. And I will survive until November.

pledge

 

26 Comments

  1. Janice

    Amen! I think this is the only sane response given how polarized politics have become.

    I remember when the RNC was in my city in 1976 and how benign it was compared to this one. I recall no sense of animosity in the air. My co-workers (all Democrats) and I took the 10-cent shuttle to the convention hotel on our lunch hour every day in hopes of seeing one of the Fords (the whole family was there campaigning with him). I planned to vote for Carter, but Ford and the Republican party weren’t the enemy, they just weren’t the candidate and party I preferred. I first felt a difference with Reagan’s campaign, but I’m not even going to go there…..

    Like

    • My theory is that political civility died with Ted Kennedy. He was the last of the politicians to reach across the aisle, to consider his opponents as “honorable” – to work together to get shit done. Compromise has now become a dirty word, and has taken on the meaning that you are selling out your principles – rather than making sure everyone wins.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I wrote a similar blog post about a month ago. I scroll fast on facebook. Don’t want to see the hyperbole on either side. Right now I am hoping that I can make it to November.

    Like

    • You’re right… I just need to keep scrolling. The friend whose post offended me last week added another nasty post just minutes ago. …. trying to keep cool and let if be.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sally Habib

        This is an odd election as there is so much
        at stake … But to be honest I really don’t
        care for either candidate … Too much pandering
        to special interests and groups … Too much money
        donated by big Pharma and corporations
        I personally like the Nobody 2016 signs !
        I will vote but I still haven’t made up my mind … So sad to see
        what our great Home of the Free Because
        of the Brave has become … And how much
        greater it could be …

        Like

  3. I completely get what you say about this political season. I too had a FB meltdown rant in response to one of my friends political posts. This whole Trump candidacy has brought out the worst in me because he is such an asshat. Oops–there I go again. I’ve taken a break from Facebook because of the disturbance in the depths of my soul. Best to you.

    Like

    • I completely understand…. but I have promised not to comment. But I am depressed and more than a little afraid.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sweetsound

        Yep depressed and afraid. I never ever thought Brexit would be a reality and woke up one day to find it was. I know they aren’t exactly the same thing, but it has made me a bit insecure for America.

        Like

  4. Thank you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree, agree, agree. Most people that I socialize with are “lefties” like me but there are some “righties” as well and as you said, trying to change each other’s opinions or beliefs won’t get us anywhere. Fostering our relationships without being dragged down by political chains is a far better strategy going forward.

    Like

    • I have seen that my opinion isn’t changing anyone’s mind. I am preaching to the already-believers. Sometimes that is okay, if you are sharing information that people may enjoy or benefit from. The sleezy nastiness of many posts today may provide a momentary chuckle, but it is probably offensive to those outside your circle – so why do that? Why offend? I like many people who do not share my beliefs – if I like them, why offend them?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Bobbi

    It is scary….and it is ugly. I love your words in your FB post. I have tried similar words but found that the only people who respected them were like minded liberals. I have not given up, but some people are certainly trying hard to make me abandon civility. LOL….I will say that for the past week, I have posted on FB every morning these words: Post wisely. Comment wisely. I think I may be the only one following those words though. And that is because I am keeping my mouth shut!

    Like

    • Oh, “Post Wisely” – how nice it would be if folks did that. The person I argued with just last week posted again today – it was no nicer or wiser. But I didn’t rise to the bait.

      Like

      • Bobbi

        I think that is the best we can do…take the high road and be quiet. It is so hard to find a balance with this all….hard to stand for your beliefs without the stance becoming a nasty fight. It is clearer to me more than ever why the old saying “that you do not talk religion or politics in public” is very appropriate.

        Like

  7. Politics is mass chaos these days. I don’t want to get into fisticuffs with either side. So I dont respond period. Maybe thats not the “American Way” but I get to keep my friends.

    Like

    • I want to support and be proud of what I believe in, but I don’t want to fight with my friends….I’m not sure where the balance is…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jacq

    I totally applaud your efforts at civility, I’m still reeling from the referendum result in the UK. I’ve posted thoughtful and considered comments on social media, resorted to quietly removing content I’ve found offensive, avoided it in the most part and even quietly ‘unfriended’ some acquaintances as lines have been crossed that have opened chasms. It’s difficult, as a civil servant I’m bound by very strict rules, I had to be careful not to break any rules.
    The only thing I would say is, in the UK I fear liberal consideration of other’s views, choosing ‘if I can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’ approaches meant some extreme views went unchecked, unchallenged and I think we got the result we did partly because some shouted loudly, even if what they were shouting was false and offensive, and were heard. Now the falsehoods have been identified as ‘mistakes’ and predicted economic issues have reared their heads I’ve heard lots of people say they have been swayed differently. I wish I’d shouted louder – politely of course. The alternative is where we are now – and it’s not a great place to be 😒

    Like

  9. I agree. I have made it my own personal goal to develop friendships with people who see the world differently and to focus on the humanity we share. If that means refusing to go into religion or politics in any gathering, I can live with that.

    Like

  10. “Campaigns have gotten much longer and much louder and much much nastier. It is certainly not original for me to say that Campaigning has overtaken Governing in the way politicians spend their time.”

    Oh, how that resonates with me! That seems to be happening the world over. It’s happening with you, in the US, someone here mentioned Brexit (and I have been hearing about that from my own friends and relatives in the UK) and it’s certainly happening here in Israel!
    But sometimes, I wonder how much worse it really is, and how much worse it seems due to viewing the past through rose-coloured spectacles.

    I just wanted to add, with reference to your memories of the Kennedy campaign – I remember being taken by my mother, as a (very young) child to the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London, where she told them “My daughter is a Kennedy fan. We wondered if we can get a photo of him here”. I’m not sure which of us was actually the Kennedy fan, and I don’t recall if our visit was successful or if we had to write away to his campaign HQ, but I do remember that, for many years, I cherished an autographed photo of JFK . Alas, it somehow got lost in the move when we made aliyah to Israel 😦

    Like

    • I was twelve when Kennedy was shot. It has stayed with me all through my life.

      Like

  11. Pam

    Aww, Nancy, I thought I could tell that you were a liberal (like me)! I totally agree with your pledge to not argue politics with my friends and family. It’s a lost cause. They see the world from their conservative viewpoints and I see the world from my liberal standpoint. There is no way I can make them see things my way……besides, I am sorely outnumbered here in a solid Southern Red State. I have no family members who share my views except for my daughter, and we love to talk politics when we’re alone together. I can’t even talk politics with my hubby because we would be fussing and fighting all the time. He makes ugly, snide remarks about the other candidate and I just ignore them. I refuse to go there. I am lucky that I have 3 like-minded co-workers whom I can talk with, but as far as Facebook goes, no way am I going to jump in that political cesspool! I have friends whose political postings I have had to block just so I can save our friendships.

    Like you, I am more than a little afraid of the outcome of this election. It’s truly frightening! At first, I was just embarrassed that so many people thought that “he” would make a good president, but now I am concerned for our future. People are falling for a demagogue and they don’t even recognize it! Maybe he’s not evil like Hitler, but he is reckless and dangerous, blames other groups for all our woes, and makes impossible promises to easily fix all their problems, all the while appealing to people’s fears and hate. This is not good. Thanks for giving me a safe place to vent.

    I enjoyed your post, as always!

    Pam

    Like

    • I live in a liberal state – Connecticut – so I don’t usually feel alone, but this election is frightening. I often think I would like to move south, but I worry about that isolation of being surrounded with so many people who disagree with my philosophy. I feel your pain.

      Like

      • Pam

        Thanks for your understanding, Nancy! I think I would like living in Connecticut.

        Like

  12. I’m with you. In fact, today I posted the video of Michelle Obama’s turn in the passenger seat of James Corden’s delightful Carpool Karaoke. Check it out on youtube. It’ll make your post-acceptance-speech day! xoxo

    Like

  13. Ray G

    Way back when I was much younger, in the early ’70’s, I shared many “liberal” ideas. At work one day I got into an unnecessary argument with a co-worker (who was one of my dearest friends ever) about politics. He was quite conservative, and, alas, also quite savvy. He let the argument die on its own, and then related how he learned that arguing about politics was useless. The look on his face, of pain and pity combined, has never left me. It taught me the lesson that friendships are more important than politics. I will never forget Casey, or what I learned from him.

    Like

  14. I had one of these run ins the other day. I posted something that I felt strongly about. Someone I barely know responded against my comments and called me out. I wasn’t going there. I simply stated that we obviously disagreed and that he was entitled to his opinion and I to mine and on this one we would have to agree to disagree. He became irate and continued to post on my timeline. Others piped in and agreed with me and tried to defend me and he attacked them. It was crazy. I am entitled to my opinion and will state it. I will respect your opinion whether it agrees with me or not. All I ask in return is the same respect. Why can’t people just agree to disagree?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: