I do hate to see election time come.
You see, I wasn’t a product of the good ol’ American partisan mold. Nope, I guess you could call my poor ancestors nonpartisan. Heck, I’d go so far as to call most of them apolitical. I doubt my great-grandparents even voted. They were too busy farming and just surviving.
In fact, any president, regardless of his party, was almost god-like in their homes, where the current commander-in-chief’s portrait graced the modest walls. They simply prayed for things to work out okay without their involvement. I did not learn anything of the inner workings of politics from them.
However, I did learn from them the power of prayer and trust.
Now I am a patriotic American and enjoy the freedom to vote. It’s the campaigning that gets to me. That’s when the “proper-gander”– as my country kin used to put it – begins to fly. You see, I learned from my clan not to cater to a single, neatly bundled ideology. They saw things as they were, sans rose-colored glasses.
My dad fought in WWII, all over Europe, and once pulled a mortally wounded soldier who’d been struck by a shell into his fox hole and tried in vain to save him. When asked permission to have his name submitted for a medal, Dad modestly refused. Said he was no hero; that anyone else would have done the same. So, yes, he was a hero, and as patriotic as they come. Yet he, too, seemed indifferent to the partisan fever that struck near election time.
I suppose that’s why I approach politics as I do. I’m not steeped in certain dogmas that, in all actuality, do not exactly fit either party. It’s like buying a one-size-fits-all pair of shoes. Ouch! Was Dad indifferent to how America was run? Heavens no. He cared enough to fight for our freedom. I cite my father’s influence, because some of the most hard-shell partisan folks have a long family philosophical history to boast of. Likewise, I appreciate my family’s free-thinking way of deflecting “proper-gander,” which is defined as half-truths and misinformation. I love their 3D clarity when examining critical issues.
All parties practice proper-gander. I smile sometimes at how audaciousness grows and abounds around voting time. But I don’t smile when tempers flare because others don’t agree with certain ideas. I’ve seen friendships suffer over such.
In recent years, a close friend of ours ran for a state house position. During this campaign, he remained a true gentleman. So I was shocked when the character attacks began. Proper-gander was alive and well! I know, I know, I was naïve. But I’ve always believed that friends can disagree and remain friends. And later, when two other friends vied for the same state office, Lee and I felt caught in the middle. Our solution? We told them the truth, saying we would pray for them both and then stepped back into a low-profile, impartial position. We contributed financially to both campaigns and voted our choice.
Are we all still friends? Absolutely.
Even worse is the online discussion format. I decided to toughen my skin by joining one such group for some good-natured political debate. What better way to engage in friendly negotiation and learn from each other, right? No sooner did my first post appear than the verbal onslaught exploded. I was besieged with such hostility as name-calling and being declared an idiot to have such different views than the elite majority at said website. I stubbornly hung in, however, for months, using diplomacy and sincere reasoning. That would help, wouldn’t it?
I learned, all right. I learned that folks raised in a certain partisan ideology have little interest in changing their views. Nor are they inclined to truly listen to your view. I also learned that I was not wired to withstand the hostility riding shotgun to these folks’ persuasive leanings. Why burn yourself out over something un-resolvable? Finally, I learned not to discuss politics with anyone who holds opposite views.
I’d much rather be friends.
Facebook is my social network haven. I adore all my FB friends and refuse to engage in political debates with them. Nothing is worth ditching a friend. When an in-your-face approach of politicians and their backers are posted, I skip over it. Sometimes, I will read these to get insight. But when my skin begins to crawl, I simply delete them. No, I do not un-friend those who post them. They have a right to their opinions, as I do. I respect them and continue to call them friend.
So in a partisan-driven society, how do I arrive at my voting choices? I study all sides of issues and candidates. I try to keep emotions at bay as much as possible. I think of what’s best to preserve the specialness of America. I pray. I keep true to my Biblical convictions, which is not simple during the times in which we live. But this I must do.
To thine own self be true.
Last, I avoid lots of trouble by not listening to proper-gander.
I’m Emily Sue Harvey and I approve this message. No public funds were used for the creation of this blog.