Thursday, October 9, 2008

Election Season

I used to really love politics. The last presidential election was the first one I was able to vote in and I was captivated by all of it. I listened to NPR and watched the news constantly to get every spare bit of information I could about the election and the candidates.

Now, I hate politics.

It's not because this year's election is any less exciting. It's more exciting to me, actually, but there is a candidate I can truly get behind and I have a great hope of what he can do for our country. But this year, I am completely overwhelmed by the negativity of the political machine and the utter disrespect and downright hatefulness that this election is bringing out in people.

It makes me cringe to hear one of the political candidates or those associated with the campaign constantly bad mouthing each other rather than focusing on the issues of a nation in crisis. It discourages me and angers me that at a time in our nation when the financial markets are crumbling around us, people are losing their homes and cannot afford the most basic necessities, let alone proper health care, and most of the world hates us for meddling in things that we should have left alone, we are spending our time insulting the opponent rather than telling the American people how we are going to solve these problems. One campaign has already told us to expect constant character-bashing of their opponent up until the election. Is that truly the best way to win an election? If so, how sad for our country.

But it's not just the politicians that are making me hate politics. It's the ugliness it brings out in normal folks too. One thing I will never understand is why Christians think at election time it's ok to say horrible, awful things about political candidates and those who support them. "Be kind one to another" applies during election season, too, in case you have forgotten. In what way is it Christian-like to call others names or wish harm upon someone you disagree with? I'm not saying I'm always perfect and never have a harsh word to say about others, but I have tried to be very aware of how I treat those with different political leanings during this election season. I would never personally attack someone because of what political candidate they support, and all I ask is that I be given the same respect. I respect your ability to make your own choices and form your own opinions about what is best for our country, and I hope you will do the same for me.

A friend and I have been discussing these issues quite a bit this fall. We have decided that we will pray for unity of our country and the church. Unity doesn't mean everyone agrees, but unity means that we can respect each other's beliefs and not tear one another down.

So I'm sure some of you will roll your eyes at this and call me an idiot and a hippie liberal and that's fine. But this election season has caused me to really consider these issues and the way I treat others. I just really needed to get these thoughts out there, because if they cause even one person to think twice about their actions then I'll feel a little better.

Happy voting.