For weeks, I’ve been debating stepping into the online political fray. I have a lot of opinions, and I’ve been driving around town distilling them into a collection of pithy one-liners that, as a Catholic rather than a Democrat or a Republican, would be certain to offend virtually every single person I know.
Conventional wisdom for writers says “If your professional thing isn’t politics, then shut up about politics. You’ll only shoot yourself in the foot.”
But if we don’t talk about the most important subjects, how can the world ever become a better place?
I began planning my post, and simultaneously praying whether or not I should go forward with it.
On the first day the Spirit reminded me of the importance of quiet.
On the second day, a fiction writing friend told us she was going offline until after the election.
On the third day I read a post, titled “I’m Pro-Life, and I Don’t Care About The Supreme Court“, and made the mistake of continuing on into the comments, where I found multiple examples like this:
“You just want an excuse to continue the racist and genocidal America Holocaust to include partial birth and full birth infanticide and the sale of lucrative murdered baby parts. Give Mrs. Clinton her money back.”
This man signed off with, “God bless, (name),” as if he hadn’t just spewed a mouthful of anything BUT blessing. Worse, he didn’t even seem to recognize the inherent contradiction, or the fact that he was giving the entire prolife movement a bad name.
At the end of Day Three, I got involved in a Facebook conversation preceded by the instructions “be polite and reasonable, please,” in which a particular individual lit into me for what I was saying without even stopping to read it carefully enough to hear what I was, yanno…saying.
And I realized:
It’s time to bow out of this crap.
Since the primary season, I’ve been following, reading, listening, and interacting, and it has done nothing except impoverish my spirit. I am far more anxious; I am constantly grieving the state of humanity. This political season has made it very difficult to cling to my belief in the ability of humanity to approach the world with reason, honesty, good intentions, and empathy.
I still believe that at heart, human beings are good. But we are not showing ourselves to be so this year. Actually, any time politics comes up, the worst parts of ourselves come out to play. But it’s so much worse this year. And it helps nothing, all this vitriol, all this angry, half-thought-out, buy-into-and-regurgitate-whatever-half-truth-mostly-lie-suits-your-political-color. It only hurts our ability to be what we were called to be. It doesn’t just damage the human dignity of the people we’re ripping to shreds. It damages ours, too.
I will vote, of course, although there’s little satisfaction in it this year. But I’m done being a political consumer. Nor will I be adding my collection of pithy one-liners to the fray. It’s bad for me as a human being, and being a good human being is what I am supposed to be doing.
Care to join me? #Boycottpolitics2016