Mo, Empathy, and Campaign Confessions

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.

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6 thoughts on “Mo, Empathy, and Campaign Confessions

  1. it is an emotionally bruising experience. i’m with you, long after its over, i’ll remember those who behaved with small hearts, smaller minds and poisonous tongues and vote accordingly. nice post.

  2. I’m with you – I remember that people were hurtful and skip so much stuff around elections. I’ve had to explain to so many people that I don’t do people getting hurt as funny or as entertainment.

  3. The name calling makes me crazy. I get that people have different ideas and opinions and I love a good political discussion, but the name calling is just mean and empty. A friend of mine got upset because someone called her stupid for voting the way she did. I was told I voted for the devil. People are just so rude. I remember hearing adults discuss politics with civility when I was a kid. I guess that is just a lost art. I am glad the election is over and hope the nonsense ends soon too. I am ready to move on to other topics!

    • Sadly, those two remarks resemble the ones I hear from each party’s adherents. Civility is not just a dying art, but it’s a value that our society no longer admires. It’s no wonder people cannot work together and compromise when they cannot even show each other a modicum of respect.

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