I’m a bit of a disinterested party to this election. I’m a “member” (it’s not an official party yet) of the American Solidarity Party and haven’t voted for the presidential candidate of either major party since 2000. I refuse to vote for politicians who are ideologically far from what I stand for. I just won’t do the “lesser of 2 evils” thing. I don’t vote for “evil”. Neither Clinton nor Trump were worthy of my vote and both would have been forcing me to endorse too many things I’m ideologically opposed to. And so I wrote in a candidate who I can get behind.
Nevertheless, I’m at peace today and do not fear the future. Hopefully these words will be helpful to where ever you stand:
- Hyperbole is not helpful (notice how I scare quote evil above). If you feel yourself making broad sweeping and aggressive statements, I would caution against it. Trump is not Hitler. The world is not coming to an end. For those on the other side, this was no “beat-down of the establishment”. 8 years ago it was the conservatives who thought the world was coming to an end. Guess what, we’re still here and mostly in the same place we’ve always been. 16 years ago it was the Democrats. Guess what, we made it to Obama without too much change to our daily lives.
- Do your best to avoid demonizing the other side. The people on the other side are human just like you. They’ve got real concerns and make judgment calls based on less than perfect information. They make compromises that they don’t feel that comfortable with. They talk themselves into being 100% behind something they really aren’t that excited about because they want to win and you don’t win by having lukewarm support for something. A pattern I see time and again: A person does something stupid and/or wrong, and others are very forgiving. They rationalize. They sympathize. They ask for mercy. Yet anther person does something similarly stupid and/or wrong and the same crowd is ready to nail them to the wall. Why the difference? Because one is seen as “us” and the other is seen as “them”. Try to get away from having a “them” in your mind, so you have no one to demonize. Listen and be sympathetic to everyone. Try to understand, not write people off as evil or bigoted.
- Remember what what you do locally on a daily basis is far more important than the national policies. While of course national politics has an affect on our lives, the reality is, whether you have a good day today has more to do with whether you’ve got good friends, good co-workers and good family than anything else. And how that happens is by all of us collectively committing to being good friends, good co-workers and good family members. And part of how we do that, is by not demonizing those among our friends, co-workers and family who don’t share our political views and by avoiding speaking in hyperbole with them. Sympathize with those who are troubled today. Forgive those who gloat.
There are those who are just but are treated as though they had done evil, and those who are wicked but are treated as though they had done justly. This, too, I say is vanity. Therefore I praised joy, because there is nothing better for mortals under the sun than to eat and to drink and to be joyful; this will accompany them in their toil through the limited days of life God gives them under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 8:14-15)