Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day

I Have Voted. Have You?

I am a Blue girl in one of the Reddest states in the country, living in one of the reddest counties of that state. So it should be no surprise that I often feel like that old joke about how there's only enough Democrats in Idaho to fill a phone booth. It used to be true. But it also used to not matter so much!

In my job I get to interview lots of different people from many walks of life. While working I am prohibited from expressing any political opinion at all. But that doesn't stop those I'm interviewing from trying to engage me or voicing their opinions. In those cases I simply nod politely and return to the questions. But I'm getting to the point where I can make a fairly accurate guess about the person's religious and political affiliations before we talk, just from where they live and what their house is like. Naturally I keep those guesses to myself! But it's an interesting mental exercise.

I do think it's a shame though, that I've found myself becoming more polarized in my own political opinions by living here. I struggle against that polarization. If I'm on my own time, I try to listen and discuss rather than just react negatively. And I'm constantly taken aback by those who have not even considered the remote possibility that other people might not agree with them - that another point of view could even exist!

I get tired of hearing all the opinions from people with opposing, one might even say polar opposite, views than mine, pronounced as if they were Revelations from above. And if you disagree then you are not only stupid, but Evil. It might be different if these views were based on reason, logic and facts. But more often than not, they are simply conservative talking points regurgitated, with no factual content, no critical thinking applied whatsoever.

Whatever happened to researching an issue, looking at ALL sides, and making up your own mind? Where did all this fear and hatred come from that made compromise into "the C word"? Discussion, debate, and reasoned argument, done in a civil manner, are democracy in action. We all need to keep that in mind, and act on it. Not React mindlessly. Myself included.

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