Friday, October 19, 2012

Beliefs, Opinions, and Respect



The first time we visited South Africa, I fell in love with zebras. They are so beautiful, stand looking so proud. I'm guessing they rate high on the self-esteem scale. When I saw this poster, I had to save it to use here. 

It seemed appropriate in the turmoil of our national election. I abhor all the hate-filled ads and speeches that candidates for high and lower offices are giving to the American public. My first introduction to politics was in Junior High when we elected our class officers. During our social studies class, we were taught that our speeches were never to tear the other candidate down but to extol our own virtues. Tell the audience why you are the best person for this job. I ran for Secretary in 7th grade and won. We learned a lot about our election system in America. 

But that was long ago. Things have changed, and not for the better in my estimation. What kind of message do today's politicians send to young people when they throw one accusation after another, like arrows coming from Robin Hood's bow? Their campaign workers search high and low to dig up as much dirt on the other guy (or woman) as they can. Then they sling the mud fast and furious.  It's not one party only using these tactics. Both sides are guilty. Who started it? I have no idea but that doesn't matter because the other side picked it up pretty fast. 

What's come from this situation is that friends and family members who differ in their political views are ending up arguing and leaving major dents in their relationships. Hate spreads pretty fast. The comments at the end of some of the political articles on the internet are pretty sickening at times. Threats laced with anger. 

We all have our own opinion as to who is best able to lead our country, and I'm not about to tell you who you should vote for. But I will tell you to stand up for what you believe, no matter who tells you that you're crazy for doing so. I'll also tell you to think carefully before you degrade and humiliate someone who believes differently than you do. They have a right to their opinion, just as you and I do. Have the grace to respect it, even if you don't agree with it.

Whatever the outcome of this soon-to-happen election, accept it. If it's your candidate, great, but don't lord it over others. If it is the candidate you oppose, swallow your disappointment and move on. 

If you stand alone among your friends, don't worry. Be true to whatever you believe. Stand proud like the zebra does.

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