Talking Politics is a Dead End Game, but I Want People to Not Hate Each Other

Ever since choosing to only write two posts a week, it’s been much harder to post.

And this week—well, it’s much harder than most. The election finished but no one won. The viciousness and personal hatred of this election is unlike anything in my experience, and the ugliest part of our culture. How much do you hate the other party, strictly from the judgement of one word? That’s how much I hate every single one of you all the time, says the misanthrope. In other words, we all lost.

And yet, despite the rhetoric on television and online, where people genuinely refuse to recognize any humanity in the ‘other’ side (when they’re exactly the same, really, just differently labeled), when I’m actually interacting with people, in real life: conversations face to face, we all passionately agree that politics has become irreparable.

Guess what. We didn’t blame the politicians. Who lets them get away with this? Every single voter, who make it personal on the micro level without holding the ones actually making decisions accountable.

Well, I don’t really blame myself. Despite how often I hear ‘every vote counts’, mine really doesn’t. I live in northern California, the only choices are made by the great metropolises of Los Angeles and Bay Area. But I have voted on every single ballot since I registered, which I did at eighteen. It is what you do in my family. The only reason my mom registered at nineteen was because that was the year they amended the constitution and brought the age down. I will accept no reason for not voting…at least in part because in this election you must have known something about the presidents. Likely nothing true, and probably nothing truly relevant. But something.

Now see, if I were in charge, you’d have to prove you could think before voting. and you couldn’t be generally stupid in other ways. Also, education on the issues would be mandatory. You wouldn’t have to agree on issues, but voting on anything other than the issues or only based on media coverage. Or else. (This is why I’m not in charge of anything.)

Of course, this also relates to the positions I hold theoretically, but could never espouse for real people, real situations: the whole, “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

So yes, I had a delightful conversation in a coffee shop with my friend on politics—though we hardly agree on everything—but then we were joined by two other women who were also actively engaged and interested and passionate. And we had great fun talking about politics when we clearly all fell on different political axes* but we never never never tried to tell each other we were wrong about the little things, because we realized there were far more important problems than who belonged to what party. There used to be a phrase, something like ‘vote policy, not party,’ only it sounds better. It’s not advice anyone is supposed to follow anymore. Wonder why nothing works?

*”Axes (/ˈæksiːz/), the plural of axis, is pronounced differently from axes (/ˈæksɨz/), the plural of ax(e).” Wikipedia

I’ve yet to catch up on Elementary, which I saw the pilot of and didn’t like, but wanted to give another chance. By chance, I’m watching the sixth episode. For a moment, I thought they’d brought back a Holmes who genuinely cared about people, which the original did, and I was impressed. Spoilers: they haven’t. Well, not really, but that’s mostly due to the actor. (Aw, he has daddy issues! Do people really think this is original still? I hope not.)

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