Whoooo you votin’ for?

frog_prince_by_hillfreak

Selecting a U.S. Presidential Candidate, 2016

I am doing something totally inadvisable.

Writing about politics.

There is no way you can win when you support your candidate.  Two fifths of the populace will arise in support: Yay, man, you are so right!

Two fifths of the population will hang you to crucify along with Jesus.

Another fifth will tell you why you’re nuts, inadvisable, or downright stupid, or they’ll yawn and deplore politics as something Neanderthal, something unworthy of debate.

You end up feeling less than whole, no matter who you support.

frogs1

Who you votin’ for?

I ran into a friend in the coffee shop today.  We talked about our crazy friends on Facebook who support so-and-so.  We talked about the advisability of publicly supporting anyone.  We talked about how part of us admired folks who openly declare their political candidate.  We also spoke of how easy it is to shame or feel shamed.  How easy it is to try to politic others into supporting our guy, our beliefs, our opinions.

We didn’t arrive at a definitive answer, but we certainly covered so many of the feelings that arise during a contentious political year, including the challenges of speaking up and the challenges of remaining (relatively) silent.  How not speaking can feel as hurtful as speaking up.

What’s a person to do?

How do we declare we’re for Bernie Sanders or Hilary Clinton or you know, that guy, Trump? How do we announce our convictions without losing face, without being overthrown by some of our dearest friends? How can we STAND to read such stupid Facebook opinions about such idiotic unqualified so-and-so’s?

Because, dear reader, I am quick to admit that you and you and you and you do NOT espouse the same beliefs as me and me and me and me.  Some of my very best buddies in the whole wide world have thrown their love and support and vote behind–well, I can’t even type the person’s name.

And–this is the tricky part–some of the people who support that nameless person are wonderful loving really cool human beings.

Honest Abe

Honest Abe

Some of my friends believe in such-and-such candidate.  Others of us support the opposite.  One of the things I’m starting to learn after most a lifetime is that it’s OK to disagree and still be friends.  One of the people with whom I politically disagree the most is actually a real savvy delightful person.  (Except when I think about what she believes politically, then my inner heart starts pitter-pattering in totally disbelief!  I mean how can we come from the same planet?)

We actually talked recently about how we are coming from exactly the same place, the same feelings of discontent, the same sense of disagreement.  Our difference arises in what we think will resolve the situation.  She thinks one way; I think another.  She’s picking one presidential candidate and I’m opting for another.

It felt good to ponder our similarities instead of just blindly defending our differences.

102-001

WHOOOOO you votin’ for?

Yesterday one of my dearest relatives in the entire planet and I were conversing about current events.  She espoused her view.  I espoused mine.  It suddenly started feeling–you know, that awful awkward feeling when you know you’re not agreeing and the whole world is falling apart and there’s only disagreement and confusion–when this person interjected, “Kathy, it’s OK.  We don’t have to agree on everything.”

To think:  it’s OK.  How come we human beings haven’t really learned this? As a person, a township, a state, a nation, a world:  we don’t have to agree on everything to still love one another.  To still be able to embrace the Other, to hug them tight, to say–I love you, I respect you, you are a worthy human being.

(Even though I may go berserk if you mention the name of that presidential candidate and say that’s who you’re voting for…but afterward let’s go out for coffee, eh?)

How have you resolved this issue of speaking up or remaining silent, of learning to negotiate between different opinions and friendships?

P.S.  I don’t really want to know how you’re casting your ballot.  Just wanted to open up the subject of how we can all learn to co-exist more peacefully during fractious political times.

 

 

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in April, 2016 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to Whoooo you votin’ for?

  1. Dana says:

    Excellent, Kathy! I appreciate the reminder that it’s OK to not agree with somebody on every last detail in life. Sending you and your whole nation boatloads of love today! xo

    • Kathy says:

      Dana, I am so glad you agree about it being OK to disagree! This has taken me sooo long to learn. I am still learning. (And am accepting that boatload of love from behalf of our nation, lol, cuz we need it.)

  2. Carol Ferenc says:

    So true! We should never be embarrassed or afraid to disagree . . . gently.

  3. Fountainpen says:

    Kathy
    I do know the person
    I WILL NOT VOTE FOR!!!!!!!!

    Fountainpen

    • Kathy says:

      Fountainpen, some years it’s easier to know who we won’t vote for, rather than who we will. This may be one of those years for many of us!

  4. Carol says:

    I hate campaign years, especially those with no candidate I support whole-heartedly. In my neighborhood, I mostly stand alone, and that’s just fine. But I’d rather not discuss the subject with those friends.they are just so misguided 😜

    • Kathy says:

      Ha ha, Carol, I am laughing because I know just what you mean. Those friends who are just so misguided. I always think I stand alone a lot, too, here in the U.P. but sometimes it all turns out surprising. I am just continually surprised by politics lately, I guess.

  5. Kathy — I typically don’t vote party, I vote issue. The sad thing is, in this election I don’t like ANY (not a single one) of the candidates. Hence, I’m voting for the person who in my perspective will do the least harm.

  6. Val says:

    We have the same thing here in the UK when it comes to voting for a new government or anything else political, Kathy. And if I were to fall out with everone who disagreed with me or who I disagree with I’d have no friends or family left! My own husband has mostly (but thankfully not entirely) different political beliefs and opinions from mine. He is unable to sway me, I am unable to sway him, but do you know what – despite the differences we are both coming from a need for things to be better. And that’s how I see most things that people disagree on.

    • Kathy says:

      Val, some people seem to learn the lesson of tolerance earlier than others. It’s taken me a lifetime to really settle into tolerance, and sometimes I still lose it. 🙂 Barry and I don’t always agree, either, and many of my immediate family like the “other” party. I am glad to hear you say you’ve discovered that you and your hubby are both coming from that desire to make things better. That’s good common ground to start with.

      • Val says:

        Mostly, with me, it’s a need for peace and quiet as I was brought up by parents who saw eye to eye on very little and argued incessantly. Quite a lot of my family have very different views from me, some of which I just can’t tolerate but rather than arguing with them, I just removed myself from the sites that they use. Most are too far away from me, geographically, for me to see them in person and, if we talk on the phone, I make sure the subject of politics doesn’t arise. So I wouldn’t say I’m tolerant all the time, just that I’ve learnt ways to deal with it.

        • Kathy says:

          How interesting–the differences in so many of our backgrounds, and how we learned to compensate. My family hardly ever argued. In fact those of us who argued were looked at somewhat askance. So it has sometimes been scary for me to offer an opposing viewpoint. Heck, it used to be scary to give any viewpoint! I remember the first blog I ever wrote…shook for an hour before pushing “publish” and shook for an hour after. Three people read it. It was a start in learning how to speak up. (That was back in maybe 2007 or 2008, before WordPress.)

  7. Barb Brock says:

    I cannot honestly answer who I am voting for! But this gives soooo much credence to what I am feeling. I don’t recall this level of intimidation in the past…Or the importance of having the discussion. I am more aligned with Laurie..and pretty apprehensive..

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, I am so glad that you said this gives credence to what you’re feeling. I tried so very hard to write this in a way that is inclusive, that isn’t full of knee-jerk reactions. (Which I have been known to express at times to certain family members, poor things.) Thank you for pausing to share.

  8. I prefer to hear from people who are unsure of everyone than from those who are banking on a savior. I won’t argue, but I exhibit a blatant and particular eye-roll when one candidate is mentioned! Thanks, Kathy!

    • Kathy says:

      Can I guess about the eye-roll? No, no, no, I shall not! I am thinking of people who I know you are eye-rolling in opposite parties. That is interesting about how you are more comfortable with those who are unsure. I think I may be, too. (What does this say about us?)

  9. sybil says:

    Hey I’m Canadian and I want to vote for Sanders.

    I clearly lack your maturity and tolerance for the views of others. When I began ranting about Mr. Comb-over to a dear friend, I was stunned when she declared her admiration for some of his policies. I had expressed MY opinion but I could not bring myself to even LISTEN to her defense of the “man”.

    Sadly, my liberal mind is quite closed on the matter.

    BTW our candidates are chosen by the party (Liberal, NDP, Conservative, Green, etc.) and then we vote for the leader of our choosing in a delightfully short (6 week) election. Your system seems overly complicated and funded by business interests (except for the aforementioned Berie)

    On the lighter side, Mr. T. in referring to the 9/11 attacks today, called them the “7/11” attack. That guy cracks me up.

    • Kathy says:

      You always make me laugh, Sybil. You are so honest about what’s true for you. You don’t fuss about trying to be more tolerant, you rather delightfully declare your intolerance! (I am not sure why this makes me laugh; maybe it’s a different kind of courage that helps to balance my own hesitance at times.)

  10. Hee.hee and ha ha. Love this article. The voting this year is precarious and while not any of the candidates fit the bill one seems to be better in my mind. I regret to say that I am a die-hard liberal and will always be. My husband bless his heart was more conservative and so is my son. My daughter and I call my son a misguided red-neck hillbilly who doesn’t know any better. So our family of four was evenly divided. Now that we are a family of three the liberals still out number the that misinformed conservative. 🙂

    PS: I only discuss politics with those individuals who are like minded. 🙂

  11. john k. says:

    Kathy, I have a friend who has had on occasion read my copy of the Sentinel over the past few months and he is convinced from the letters to the editor that Baraga county is the “Mother Pod” from which all the wack jobs across the country spew forth. My middle son, once upon a time long, long ago, left what used to be known as the Canteen for fear that every inebriated patron held opposing views to his and they were conspiring to make him into bear bait. To this day, he believes that the police officer who pulled him over after he left was sent by a patron at the bar. I would continue to play my cards very close to the vest if I were you.

    Whenever I get into a discussion about any sensitive issue in my adopted hometown I make sure I ask God to bless America, work the fact that I am a veteran into the conversation and nod as I say “I can see your point”. I have discussed Adolph Hitler with German traveling companions on a train in Germany. I have openly stated my disagreements with the opinions of Jesse Jackson in a restaurant on the Southside of Chicago, but I will not discuss my political views with anyone ever in Baraga county. May the force be with you!

    • Kathy says:

      Hi John, interesting opinion of your friend. I think that there are wack jobs in every city and state, but in small towns they tend to be seen easier than larger cities. Sometimes I too feel like I’m one among many opposing views here…but I also feel it when I go down to Yale.

      As you can imagine, I have openly stated my opinion to folks here, but in a measured way, depending on the audience. Some people totally agree; others disagree. It’s been a fascinating lesson during all these years as a township “politician” to learn how to navigate in political waters. Still learning…

      • john k. says:

        I was sorry to read that you are stepping down from your office after 32 years. I applaud all your years of service.

        • Kathy says:

          Why thank you, John. I am now pondering writing a blog about that very subject. (Although may be overdoing it with the blogs already.)

  12. My mother told me at a very early age that if I wanted to have and keep friends then I should never discuss politics or religion with anyone. Hence I tend to keep a low profile. Especially on Facebook! But not always.

    Like Sybil, I am passionately supporting Bernie Sanders. Up to now I’ve been an Independent voter because I think both parties make valid points. However, I felt strongly enough about his message last fall to make a trip down to the town hall to change my affiliation to Democrat just so I can vote for him in the Connecticut primary next week.

    My daughter and I tried to go to one of Sanders’ campaign rallies in North Carolina in March. The venue held 2,300 people and we were among the estimated 1,000 who were turned away after all the seats were filled. We had waited in line for two hours! But it was an exciting experience all the same.

    As for relatives, we seem to have ones holding every position on the political spectrum. When I sense that I disagree with a relative or a group of relatives I bite my tongue. When I sense that I agree with everyone in the room I “preach to the choir.” 🙂 How silly, but there it is…

    • Kathy says:

      I think my mom told me that, too! Especially at the dinner table. NEVER discuss politics or religion. However, we do occasionally hear those topics at the table, even when I go downstate. I have learned to be more moderate and to allow the viewpoints of others. Young adulthood was a more fiery time–you know, state your opinion baldly with no apologies.

      I am not surprised to hear that you are a Bernie supporter. It seems like you would like him. Surprisingly enough, our county actually went for Bernie. (So did the rest of Michigan.) I think a lot of people are weary with the status quo. This post has me thinking more and more about the reasons we speak up and the reasons we stay silent. It’s also fascinating to me who is choosing to engage in this conversation publicly and why. A lot of people have visited this post, but a relatively few have decided to speak up. This is especially true among my Facebook friends who have visited. And then doesn’t our mind always try to interpret exactly WHY a person remains silent? I used to believe my thoughts as to each person’s assessment…not so much any more, thank goodness.

  13. debyemm says:

    I am quiet when I see my “friend” is so very passionate and I am not. Yesterday, on a “celebrity” FB blog (about not so nicely telling some political canvassers to leave and then her heart began to regret not being able to do so more nicely and she beautifully, humbling shared her journey of wanting to allow “differences” and to hear “positions” even if she’s certain of what candidate she is supporting – which clearly was the same one I think has the “best” shot to deliver at least good enough) I felt “anonymous” enough (no one “knew” me there) to actually share my perspectives more honestly than I have been doing.

    To be certain, as crazy as this season has been and it has been decidedly “that”, I am grateful that “we, the people” seem to have a bit more “voice” than in any previous presidential election cycle I have been aware enough to know about. So I am able to openly appreciate some of what gets said by candidates who I still don’t believe represent the best choice out of a whole slew of flawed human beings (but hey, every human being has flaws !!).

    I have found that some of the passions are so, well passionate, that I tread more carefully . . . just as you have done as well in this blog, dear Kathy. My husband has been quick to point out to me that even if “the worst” were to “succeed”, our own lives would not be all that much impacted or at the least, we will survive whatever. I believe that is the truth !!

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, that is a very wise point, about representing the best choice out of a slew of flawed human beings. And isn’t it true that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and no individual is going to be “perfect”? Very good point.

      One thought agrees that we won’t be impacted no matter who gets elected; another thought thinks the situation would be dire and we’ll be off to Canada! I watch all the thoughts arising and see what sparks inner unrest. And then notice the peace which surrounds it all. Thank you for sharing, as always.

  14. Lori says:

    This is a tough one for me, as I’m extremely passionate about this topic. I want to love and be loved by others no matter what we believe, yet I feel so unloved and even persecuted by society for my personal values. I’m guessing that those who oppose my values feel the same way. I don’t know the remedy, but I did post something about fairness vs. love that I think people are missing. You are brave to bring up the topic, Kathy.
    https://loreezlane.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/fairness/

    • Kathy says:

      YES, Lori, I don’t know your personal values but I have heard people on multiple sides feel this same persecution. They feel unheard and unloved and just plain sad. It feels like you and I were trying to express something similar, at least as an overview. As for being brave, maybe yes, maybe no. I pondered last night if it would have been braver just to write a blog supporting my political candidate. But that’s not what I really wanted to say. The majority of me wants to point to something larger than one view, to what over-arches (love) rather than what divides. Thank you for commenting because you’ve helped these thoughts to become a little clearer.

  15. Oh, great question and thoughts. I opt to not talk about my political feelings to my friends. It can get too tricky. Although the few who I have talked to are in total agreement that we don’t have to always agree. That is what this entire country needs to learn! We need to be civil in our disagreements and also listen to one another. That’s all it takes. XO

    • Kathy says:

      YES, Pamela! How very cool are you & your friends to know that truth–that we don’t always need to agree, but we can be civil and deeply listen. I remember in my crazy youth being unable to really listen. Just needed to get that opposite viewpoint out there. Hey, sometimes this crazy youth thing still happens. But not as frequently, thanks to that muscle of meditation. *grin*

  16. Dawn says:

    This is something social media has made more obvious…our differences. In the old days we just wouldn’t talk about politics. In fact I have come to recognize I have no idea if my parents were Republican or Democrats. Or something else. It just never came up, though they voted in every election so obviously had opinions. Now with it all out there on the internet I have found, much to my surprise, that a number of my friends are totally unlike me politically. And I’ve dealt with it by ignoring those posts that I disagree with. And ignoring those political posts I agree with too. So politics is not part of my social media life and I can still be friends with my friends. Maybe…now that I think about it, that’s exactly what my parents did back in the day too. Stayed friends by not discussing politics.

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, you are so right about social media making it more clear and obvious who supports what. How interesting you didn’t really know your parents’ affiliation. I knew we were Republican from a very young age. But then I moved to the U.P., went wild and crazy, and became Democrat. Whatever that means. Lately, talking to friends and family downstate I realize I want to now focus what we have in common, rather than where we disagree. Although sometimes that focusing on commonalities perhaps isn’t the total answer. I know I am gentler in expressing opinions and hearing them from others these days. Usually. Not always.

  17. Heather says:

    I think it’s silly that we all think you’re not supposed to talk about politics. These are the people who are going to be running our country, and they’re dearly held beliefs. I think it’s wise to discuss our opinions and to try to see the others’ side – and maybe even try (for just a bit) to try to explain our side and why we think we have the best person in mind. We’d be remiss not to try to convince our friends. But at the end of the day, it would be far worse to let a friendship get injured because we’re voting for political opposites. Some friends I have long discussions about politics, some we just acknowledge that we disagree and then move on. But none of us calls the other idiotic. And we don’t even try to have these conversations on FB!

    • Kathy says:

      Heather, you are expressing a wisdom I agree with, and how fortunate you are to have friends with whom you can discuss opposing viewpoints without injuring the friendship. I want to say I see this open attitude among some of the younger folk, but I am not sure if this is across-the-board true. It does also seem that some folks stagnate into viewpoints as they get older, but am not sure this is entirely true either for some of my best friends continue to flow like water. I am now discussing ageism and contradicting myself with every sentence. So you see why it may feel impossible for me to claim a sole political candidate? lol. Contradictions at every turn. Just like life. OK, better stop typing in a circle now.

      • Heather says:

        Though it’s not true for magnets or charged particles, I also think there’s truth in “like attracts like.” We tend to flock to those who think like us, even if we don’t agree. Perhaps you and I are drawn to each other’s open-mindedness?

  18. lisaspiral says:

    I think in this campaign season it’s become obvious that we’ve forgotten how to have civil disagreements. I find that people pick candidates because of priorities. A lot of times they are in agreement with me about particular issues, but have a different set of what’s most important. Sometimes there’s agreement that there’s a problem, but disagreement about the best way to address it. All of that results in supporting divergent candidates but if you can get past “Who are you voting for” to a Why that doesn’t involve a response like “everyone else is a douche bag” there’s a chance to learn something. That’s a real win.

    • Kathy says:

      Very good points, Lisa! Getting past trite answers into real sharing and depth IS a place where we can learn. There’s always something to learn, but we often have to move slower and deeper into those uncharted waters. Then it’s a true opening. I have learned a lot about myself and others just writing this blog. It’s fascinating.

  19. Connie T says:

    It does not matter who you like or who I like. People act like they have a say on who is going to be president. Our vote means nothing. It is the electoral vote that elects the president. The popular vote means nothing.

    • Kathy says:

      Now that’s a good point that you make, Connie. I have felt like that at times, too. The electoral system–which few seem to understand–does not seem to dovetail with the popular vote. That can be totally discouraging. And I am always wondering why we stick with it.

  20. Karma says:

    Yes, this year in particular, which feels like it will truly be a year of choosing the lesser of two evils, politics are difficult to swallow. Good friends of mine are at extreme opposite ends of the political spectrum, but when we are together we usually just don’t discuss politics – much. I consider myself a fence straddler, and prefer minimal involvement in politics.

    • Kathy says:

      Sigh. It’s a hard year indeed, Karma. I can understand the fence straddler thing, too. I think I’m a fence straddler in life a lot. Sometimes I think that’s a good thing, and other times not so much…

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