The Death of Courtesy

I believe that 2012 will go down in history as one of the ugliest years ever. At least as far as politics goes.

(Oh no! She’s gonna talk about that now that it’s all over!)

No, I’m not. Well, not technically. At least I’m not going to talk about candidates, or the election, or the results.

What I want to talk about is my fellow man. The people who share this country and planet with me. The normal, non-politician-type people. The regular Joe’s (and Josephine’s) who work hard, try to live decent lives, and pay their taxes.

Many who caused my jaw to drop –repeatedly– over the course of the most vicious, mud slinging excuse for a campaign that I have ever the misfortune to witness. And as our political candidates went, so went far too many of their supporters.

Who I supported, and who I voted for is no one’s business but mine. I did not feel that social media was the proper venue to air my opinions. And I truly wish that everyone I know had felt the same way.

The Facebook account I use for family and close friends turned into a battleground…with ‘virtual’ blood splattered everywhere. It got to the point where the first thing I did when I signed in was to start hiding posts. Because very few of those posts were a ‘support my guy because he did a good job with this (whatever this might be).’

No, they were almost always a ‘support my guy because the other one is a miserable piece of dirt who doesn’t deserve to live’ kind of post. Early on, I would research what some of them said, only to find that they were either out-and-out lies, or something taken out of context to put the worst possible light on the ‘enemy.’

The saddest part of it all was the horrible things family and friends said to one another…if they had the audacity to disagree with their political opinion. All I could do some days was to watch in horrified fascination as relationships dissolved…over a politician.

Politicians who don’t give a damn about anything except getting that all important vote. Politicians who don’t care about any of these people in any significant way. Yet I watched long-time friendships crumble. I saw family wounding family with words that can never be recalled.

There is just no way to describe the hatred I’ve witnessed during these long and tortuous months. Because of an election

And I’m not the only one. I’ve had enough conversations with others to know that this was extremely widespread. And all I can is ask….why?

When did it become acceptable to spew hatred and half-truths to support a cause? More importantly, when did it become acceptable to treat the people in our lives like so much trash because they disagree with our political stance?

Politicians will come and go. And I suppose that some family members and friends will, too. But most of them will stay in our lives forever.

Shouldn’t they be more important than a stranger who will say and do anything to get wherever it is they’re trying to go? Shouldn’t we treat friends and loved ones with more consideration, courtesy and respect than we give to strangers who honestly couldn’t care less about us?

This song brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. He’s singing about wonderful memories of people he cared about, and used to be close to. And he’s singing about regrets. He lost track of them, one died, the times he cherished are over, the people he loved out of his life.

We can lose the people we care about so easily. Just drifting apart, accidents, wars, illness, misunderstandings. And now we can add political differences of opinion?

I’m sorry… Losing them over an election? I just can’t imagine, twenty years down the road, realizing I’d driven someone I truly cared about away…because they didn’t like the politician I chose to support.

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