I had to delete somebody from my Facebook “friends” list today. This is something I’ve never done before. It’s that season in the United States where politics is the byword on every street corner. Everyone is wondering if Romney will be the next president, or if Obama will serve four more years. This has happened every four years since 1788, when electors unanimously appointed Washington for the following four years. We should be used to the process by now.
I’m not used to it. Seriously, I’m voting for Obama, much like 49-51% of adult voting-age Americans who have been polled recently. I understand that some people detest his policies, and maybe even despise him as a person. But when their rhetoric is heightened to levels of violence, I have to draw a line. Yes, we’re entitled to our opinions, but anger and violence is a self-feeding beast.
People are fond of quoting Thomas Jefferson recently. I read this today, and it hit home for me:
It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Richard M. Johnson, 1808
So, I just deleted people. not for their hatred, but for their violent hatred. The blindness in this election saddens me. Depending the posts I read this weekend, I may steer myself away Facebook for the next two weeks because of this election. It seems that the centuries for sane political engagement have passed, and we’ve replaced our American ideals with brutish mob mentality.
We’re almost 225 years old, USA. Maybe it’s time we acted like it.