Confession: I can’t watch The Three Stooges because I want the bald and curly haired ones to stand up to the one with bangs and make him stop hitting them and poking their eyes. If he won’t apologize, I want them to find a new friend. He’s mean.
I realize this is not normal. Most people like or do not like The Three Stooges, but they don’t actually feel agitated and upset by the smacking and insulting. I get that.
I have another confession to make: I’m still upset by the campaign behavior. Not the candidates, or either party, or the results, but the behavior of regular people.
When people do not respect those whose opinions differ; when they refer to those who disagree with them as idiots or worse; when they attack and insult and cannot believe that any intelligent/decent/moral/loving person would have studied the issues and come to a different conclusion – when they behave like that, I do not think of them as being caught up in the politics. I don’t think they are otherwise nice people who will return to normal after the election.
I react the same way I do when I see Mo smack the others.
I think they are mean or narrow-minded or lacking in self control or elitist or bullies or all those things. I feel like I have seen a very unpleasant facet of who they are and how they regard others. Even when I agree with their political position, if they’re attacking those who disagree, I am pained by it.
I think less of the aggressor, because this is part of who I am: I do not need to be under attack to empathize with those who are.
Even though I try not to pay attention to the vitriol and barbs (and I really do try), I cannot completely ignore everything said -or posted- during the campaign. After the election, I’ll forget which candidate was being supported by whom, but I’ll remember that certain people were hateful. That impression will linger.
I am trying to be forgiving. I remind myself that most people are not like me. They don’t get upset about Stooges. Maybe their feelings don’t get hurt by what others say, so they think name calling is harmless. I really don’t know.
If it takes me a while to recover from the past several months of watching people verbally assault each other, please forgive me.