Monday, November 05, 2012

Almost over . . .

The most contentious, most important, most critical-to-our-nation election in the history of this week will be over in about 30 hours. You read that correctly. The most important election . . . this week.

I agree with Brian Roberts. This is not the most important election in the history of The United States. The most important election in the history of this country resulted in the election of Abraham Lincoln. Before that, people owned other people. This election is important, as are all elections. But the most important ever? Please.

Neither is it the most negative.

According to the New York Times, the elections of 1796 and 1800 were much nastier. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams hated one another. Obama's attacks on Romney's ties to Bain Capitol and the far right's obsession with Obama's birth certificate pale by comparison. Jefferson's opponents hated him so profoundly that they characterized him as
a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father, as was well known in the neighborhood where he was raised, wholly on hoe-cake (made of coarse-ground Southern corn), bacon, and hominy, with an occasional change of fricasseed bullfrog, for which abominable reptiles he had acquired a taste during his residence among the French.
No, this is nowhere near the nastiest election ever.

That probably comes as little consolation to the three of every ten people that say the election has caused more stress in their families. According to a Rasmussen poll, 1 out of every 4 people say that "the upcoming election has negatively affected their personal relationship with a friend or family member." Nearly half (45%) say they have "gotten into a heated argument with a friend or family member."

I have not.

I've tiptoed, side-stepped and danced my way around the election so frequently that I'm about to qualify for a spot on dancing with the stars. I've perfected the art of the pastoral two-step, managing to keep my friendships and my family intact.

Its not that I don't have some opinions; I do. I just keep them to myself.

Its a shame, too. Though we live in a country where freedom speech is celebrated, we somehow have become far less generous to the speakers.

The fact is, I ought to be able to have a conversation with my left-wing, lily-livered, liberal whack-job friends without fear of losing said friendship. I should be able to talk about why they want to protect trees but not babies, and they should be able to ask me why I want to kill guys who are locked up for murder, but not allow people trapped in bodies riddled with Lou Gherig's disease to take their own life.

It shouldn't matter if I vote for the big business, tax-the-middle-class-but-give-a-pass-to-millionaires, woman-hating, racist, war-mongering Mitt Romney. or the freedom-destroying, tree-hugging, baby-killing, gay-marriage-supporting, maybe-he-is-or-maybe-he-isn't-a-citizen Barack Obama. Either way, I should be able to have a civil conversation with someone on the opposite side of the fence without lowering my opinion of my friend or raising my blood pressure.

But, it seems we cannot.

At least it will all be over soon. Then maybe we can get to work repairing those strained relationships in time for the Thanksgiving Day family reunion.

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