I usually try to keep my mouth shut when it comes to politics. I have strong feelings on certain issues, just like the next people - but I also have a deep affection for my friends and family, who sometimes hold a different view from my own. Day after day I read blogs, and e-mails and facebook posts from my friends who feel very passionate about their own views and I admit it, instead of "making waves" I keep my mouth closed. I'm not sure if this is the best tactic, but it is what I do.
See the thing is, I think as a society we've forgotten how to "disagree" or debate issues in an effective and intellectual way. Disagreeing with someone is felt as an attack on their character or launches into a lot of yelling and not a lot of listening.
This is partly what discourages me today in the world of politics - the name calling, the falsehoods, the lack of common decency for one another and a basic lack of respect is very troubling to me.
I have friends on both end of the political spectrum. I consider them to all be intelligent, decent people who try very hard to do the "right thing". As a matter of fact, most of them are people who have a deep faith as well - and their faith influences their decisions - which, believe it or not, means we can still land on opposite ends of an issue, and we can both feel that our faith played a part in that decision.
This stuff isn't easy - I frankly sometimes wonder how anyone can identify themselves strongly with one party, because, frankly my thoughts on issues don't fall neatly down any party line, and many of the people I talk to seem to feel the same way. So we keep quiet, unable to fully throw ourselves behind any party and then unsure about whether or not we are doing the right thing.
I admit it, time and time again I compose scathing and witty comebacks to political posts of my friends on Facebook, and then feeling satisfied in my "venting" session I promptly delete my ramblings before posting. Is it because I don't feel passionately about the issue. Certainly not, but I also care deeply about my friends (even those that I may disagree about) and I usually figure that it isn't helpful. If these conversations could all be had by people with mutual respect for each other - it might change the whole tone of politics - because truly, I want to understand the other side even if I don't agree with that. If I don't agree I don't think the other person is dumb - I just feel that we have different priorities or opinions, and THAT IS OK.
I am constantly reminded that it isn't my place to judge other people - I'll leave that up to God. Is it my place to make the world a better place for all God's children - I'd like to think so - but certainly, attacking one another isn't going to help make that happen.
I'll close - I'm not sure why I'm writing this, because I don't even know that anyone would read it (why would they - it has been 7 months since I last posted) - but mostly because today I've written and deleted so many responses, that I had to vent somewhere.... :)