|Sad Mitt. From here.|
So, Mitt lost. I'll admit I was sad and even a little scared about the nation's future immediately following the election (nothing a bowl of Reese's Puffs can't fix). I'm still wary as I am not impressed with what the past four years under the Obama administration has brought us. I know some people are thrilled -- I'm not. I have my reasons.
Anyway, after mulling things over for a day, I've decided now is not the time to mourn or to panic. As my church leaders stated, "[N]ow is a time for Americans to come together .... We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the President, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times." (full statement here)
I know many of my Mormon friends have seen this statement as it has been posted and re-posted hundreds of times on Facebook in the past day. Yet the general climate reflects anger, fear, hatred and turmoil.
I get it. It's not like I jumped for joy when Obama won. But it's time to stop with the crazy, paranoid rhetoric. It's not going to change the outcome nor the direction our country is headed. And if you're sincerely worried, get prepared. My thought is, an economic downturn is coming no matter who is in office. Have you SEEN our debt lately? Truly frightening!!! So let's all stop blaming one person and start talking about how we can get ready for this. 'Cuz if it happens, it's gonna be BAD.
Anyway, these are some things I've learned from Facebook since the election has come and gone. Maybe you observed the same things. I think they're worth talking about.
1) The Internet brings out the worst in people. I have been watching this concept in action for years, but it seems to get much worse during an election. I actually had to hide some of my good friends and even trusted mentors from my news feed due to the way they were acting toward their political opponents. (I'm sure people hid me after the Romney pumpkin). It's outright nastiness which I haven't had the pleasure to endure since high school. And it's disturbing on so many levels. Apparently, the Internet gives us amnesia so we forget we're talking to actual people with feelings. I don't see this changing any time soon so I'm gonna leave it at that.
2) You'll never win me over if you belittle me. While we're on the subject of Internet tastelessness, I'd like to issue a PSA regarding Internet debating: When you start insinuating, even slightly, that I'm stupid, ignorant or haven't thought something through fully, I'm done listening to you. When you are respectful and considerate in stating your opinions, I actually will listen to you. I experienced this first-hand the other day. I'd made a comment about one of the propositions on the ballot and two friends who disagreed wanted to explain their side. One was arrogant, heated and belittling in his approach. The other acknowledged my opinion and presented his opposing view in a logical yet respectful way. Whose viewpoint do you think I heard?
3) People with knee-jerk reactions should stay away from Facebook. These folks -- and I love and adore many of them -- lose a lot of friends when they post without thinking. Yes, everyone is entitled to speak their minds, First Amendment, yadda yadda. But as my wise friend Megan said on her blog,"Just because there are social media platforms that will accept anything you type into them, that doesn’t mean you should post every thought you have." I agree with her. Exercise some self-control before you really hurt someone. Either that, or steer clear of Facebook until your anger has subsided.
4) Even adults can be sore losers and winners. If you've ever been to a Little League game, you already know this is true. But Facebook is making it more apparent than ever. I'm gonna get all preschool teacher on you here: It's OK to be sad if you lose and happy if you win. But you don't need to rub it in others' faces or sulk or go on a tirade or threaten people. I mean, really. Winners: be grateful. You got what you wanted. Be sensitive to those who are upset with the outcome. Losers: you don't need to flip out and go whining all over Facebook. It just makes you look bad.
5) We all have opinions that aren't likely to change. I'm not saying we should all stop discussing politics or sharing our perspectives with others. We should! It's the healthy, human thing to do. But just be aware that you will likely never convert someone to your way of thinking in a Facebook comment or two. People are stubborn and like to be right, so realistically, their opinions will stay the same unless they encounter an experience in their own life which changes it. For instance, a person might be staunchly against universal healthcare until someone close to them gets cancer. But don't think they're going to change their minds simply because you post, "Universal healthcare suuuuuuucks!" Especially if you say it like that. But even if you're articulate and respectful, people have their opinions for a reason. So I'd say 9 out of 10 times, it's not worth wasting your breath over. Or, in this case, your typing muscles.