Politicians are people too
Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Barack Obama is an evil man. Joe Biden is retarded. John McCain is a doddering old fool. Sarah Palin is an idiot.
These types of comments dotted political conversations in the weeks leading up to the election, and unfortunately continue to plague conversations today. I have heard condescending statements of Democratic dominance and last-jab attempts at that dominance by reluctant Republicans. Today, on Nov. 5, I am voting for a dose of compassion.
It’s easy to forget that we are talking about actual people. Particularly with this campaign, it’s easy for Presidential candidates to look like products to be bought and sold. We quickly pass judgment on them, failing to realize that they are a lot like us. I’m not trying to vouch for their moral character or defend them as people, but I am asking that we remember their humanity. Remember that we are human, too.
The dimensions of this kind of talk have deeper implications than we realize. It affects not only our political outlook, but also the way we respond to everyone. If I am in the habit of bad-mouthing Presidential candidates, it becomes easier for me to extend those comments to people I actually know. I have gotten mad at Presidential candidates several times, and that tension carries over into my entire day. I’m more likely to get angry at other people if I let petty anger at Presidential candidates constantly boil beneath my surface.
I’m not asking for total unity (although that would be great), or for an end to heated debates, or for apathy. I’m asking, if for no other reason than my sake, that we realize Democrats and Republicans aren’t all that different. In fact, we are a lot more alike than we realize, and everyone deserves to respect others and themselves enough to think before we talk. It’s fine to not like Obama or McCain, but please, make sure what you’re saying is true and think about how it’s going to sound to those around you before you let it come out. We’ll all be better for it.