As the election draws nearer the media frenzy continues to grow to epic proportions. I’m an old guy so this is the 13th presidential election that I remember clearly, and I’ve never seen anything as embarrassing as this.
I once sang a drunken, but heartfelt, version of God Bless America to the lunch crowd at an Australian vineyard … and it wasn’t a karaoke event. I know a little something about embarrassing.
Don’t get me wrong: there’s always been frenzied media activity leading up to presidential elections but, with the constant doomsday claxons and partisan clown horns added by social media, the pre-election insanity has reached a whole new level. This year’s political propaganda whirlwind has already become a category-five poop storm and is still growing.
It used to be that you had to attend a political rally, write a letter to the editor or at least read the newspaper to get involved in the political process. Most folks discussed the election with friends and neighbors and then voted their conscience in November. If they felt strongly enough about a candidate, they might put up a yard sign or maybe a bumper sticker on their car.
These days it’s much easier to get involved; you can sit at home in your underwear and simply like and share your way to political activism and people do. You can anonymously call total strangers morons, traitors and worse because they disagree with your political views and people do.
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. I can wear a man bun, a half-shirt and Capri pants to a Taylor Swift concert, but I won’t because I really shouldn’t … nobody should.
Just to be clear, I really don’t care which candidate you plan to vote for in the upcoming election. I voted absentee, so I’ve already made my deal with the devil and I’m already losing sleep over it. You’ll get your chance in November, and I encourage you to get out and vote for the New York millionaire of your choice ... but please don’t feel obligated to tell me about it.
I can honestly tell you that my voting choice was not influenced in any way by social media posts. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that those never changed their mind nor their vote based on a Face Book post; that’s not the part that bothers me. What bothers me is that social media has become a forum for insulting and even threatening anyone who disagrees with our politics. When did that become a thing? Did I miss another memo?
For the record please stop telling me to wake up. I’m fully awake and paying attention. I just might not see things the way you do. No amount of insulting Kermit the Frog or Willy Wonka memes are going to convince me to vote for your New York millionaire.
I wonder if people have always felt that way but keyboard courage allows us to call anyone who votes differently a criminal motivated by evil looking to end truth, justice and the American way without having to look them in the eye when we do it. I’d like to think not but I’d also like to believe we are adult enough to understand that two patriots can disagree while still honoring and respecting one another.
Whoa! How did I end up defending the adult position? You know things have gotten out of hand when that I’m the voice of reason!
For more than half of my military career I served under presidents I did not vote for but I never questioned their authority to lead just because I disagreed with their politics. In all of the elections I remember over the last four decades the losing candidate always calls, concedes and congratulates the winner …then life goes on.
People are still going to gripe about taxes no matter who wins, the conservative media will blame the Democrats and liberal media will blame the Republicans and they will both be right. Phony Internet news sites will post headlines that claim to expose the other sides evil plans and somebody you know will like and share it, then we’ll start all over again.
In the meantime remember that voting for either New York millionaire in November won’t make you an idiot; but calling someone a traitor or a sheep because they don’t agree with you just might.
Next week I’ll be irreverent and almost clever again, I just had to get that off my chest.
Rick Seley is an award-winning humor columnist. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.