I always knew going into this election year that some people were simply going to lose their minds over this political contest. What I did not expect was that so many would lose their sense of humor.
I recently put a photo on Facebook that I found on another friend's page that parodied Mitt Romney's Big Bird comment at the last debate. It featured several Sesame Street characters holding guns and knives and, to paraphrase the quote, basically said that it was going down with Romney. Perhaps there is something warped about finding a picture of public television characters holding weapons and beer bottles while using street language amusing, but that is for another blog.
Although I was just posting a funny photo, I was chastised by two people who wanted to know why I was making a statement that Sesame Street needs federal funds when they make millions on merchandising. Funny but I thought I was just copying a picture.
Sadly this is only one example. Shannon recently had to "unfriend" someone on Facebook when they attacked her for posting a political cartoon. When she messaged him to ask him to please respect her views, she was told he would not show any restraint because she was "responsible for the deaths of thousands of people." Never thought a cartoon held that much power.
Why does society feels when it comes to politics, it is perfectly respectable to attack and belittle those whose views differ from their own? Is it part of the general rude and disrespectful behavior that now permeates our society, or is our political system encouraging radicalism and intolerance?
I have many friends with differing political views, but what would ever cause me to refer to them in terms such as neo-Nazis capitalists or baby-killers? I simply cannot comprehend becoming so wrapped up in politics that it is acceptable to cross the boundaries of tolerance and decency, but more and more people do it every day without thinking twice.
When our founding fathers created a two party system, do you really think they envisioned constituents firing weapons into political offices full of people or a public refusal to cooperate with an opposing political party simply out of spite?
Regardless, I refuse to let this election rule both my life or my sense of humor. I stopped getting a local newspaper years ago because they allow people to write into a forum and basically make fun of the political views of others. I saw more mature behavior in a preschool sandbox than these so-called adults exhibit. I certainly plan to vote in this election, but I am confident I can do the research and make up my mind on the issues without the help of political calls, advertisements and forums that pose as "news."
I for one will not allow this election taint my character or my sense of humor. Perhaps it is because I have learned over the years that I can only be responsible for myself and my own actions and decisions. I do not waste time worrying about things beyond my control.
More than likely, however, it is because I do not believe this next election will mean the end of America if President Obama is elected for another term. Nor does it dictate that lower class will be wiped out and the middle class decimated if Mitt Romney is the winner.
I know this because we are a nation of innovation and strength. We have weathered storms before. We survived British colonialism. We survived a civil war. We survived Herbert Hoover. We survived Jimmy Carter. We will persevere no matter who is in the White House, and succumbing to fringe elements that pits one against the other and leaves no room for compromise or a difference of opinion only weakens us. United we stand. Divided we fall.
I only hope that respect, tolerance and humor will persevere as well.