I got unfriended on Facebook and Instagram today because I liked a comment made by a mutual friend.
I don’t know what happened overnight, but the two of them got into a heated discussion about stuff unrelated to the post and in a moment of anger our mutual friend decided to unfriend everyone who had liked the original comment.
The friend who unfriended me was someone I had known since high school. We weren’t best friends, but I considered him a friend who I respected and liked.
Obviously, he didn’t feel as strongly about our friendship.
I say that as someone who listens to commentators, who follows the news and tries to stay abreast of local, national and worldwide issues.
I have some fairly strong beliefs, but have always felt like my political views should be kept off social media.
If people ask, I’m more than willing to share. I just love the personal interaction that comes from face to face conversations with politics. It is too easy to be misunderstood with social media.
For this reason, I’ve watched my feed over the last couple of months and rarely commented.
I’ve got a diverse group of friends and see posts from both sides of the aisle. I’ve liked posts on both sides of the aisle.
Some of my friends are more political than others and at times I’ve been very tempted to block some of the crazier ones.
I’ve never done it though.
I want to see how both sides feel. I want to understand.
I need to understand.
I don’t want to live in an insular world in which I only interact with people I agree with.
Besides the fact that it would be boring, I know that I’m not always right. Over the years, I’ve changed my political views and feel like I’m a better person because of these slight shifts.
I’m noticing something very dangerous with this political season.
My friends on both sides of the aisle are no longer as tolerant and loving of diverse opinions.
I’ve seen people I like and respect, show incredible levels of anger and rudeness to others, often towards people who are simply asking questions and trying to understand.
I’ve also seen frustration and anger that is very justified.
I’ve seen some incredibly judgmental and rude statements made in the name of both Secretary Clinton and President-Elect Trump.
Obviously, people are entitled to their opinions and I’ll argue their right to express themselves until I’m blue in the face.
This country is great because of different opinions.
What concerns me is that it seems like so many people aren’t even willing to listen to the other side. There is no sense of compromise and shared understanding.
I’m not seeing very many Trump supporters trying to understand the fears of minorities, immigrants and other groups who feel like they are being marginalized in this election.
I’m not seeing many Clinton supporters trying to understand why so many of their fellow American’s choose to vote for Trump.
Obviously, I’m over-simplifying the issues, but I’m not a political commentator (nor do I want to be one).
What I am, is a concerned American who loves this country. A concerned American who loves her friends and family and is so incredibly tired of seeing friendships and family’s in conflict.
I’m not happy about the results of this election, I don’t think a lot of people are. However, I’m a lot more unhappy about what this election is doing to those I love.
I don’t know that answers, but what I do know is that as trite as it sounds love really is the answer.
Please take some time today and reach out to someone on the other side of the aisle and try to understand. Take the time to really listen to their fears, concerns and the reason behind their feelings.
You will probably still disagree (which is fine), but take the time to listen anyway.
Talk to the immigrant who still has family in another country and is worried for their safety.
Talk to the blue collar worker who is struggling to make ends meet and feed his family, the one who feels like Washington has forgotten him.
Talk to the stay at home mom who is worried about her children and their opportunities.
Talk to the veteran who just wants to spend time with his family, but is stuck dealing with the VA.
Talk to the young millennial who has $50,000 in student loan debt and stuck living with their parents.
Talk to the single parents who are living paycheck to paycheck.
Talk to a member of a racial minority who has experienced real prejudice.
Talk to the crazy left and right wing political junkies.
I could go on and on.
There are always two sides to every issue.
This election is about so much more than Republican and Democrat.
It is about people. It is about their hopes and their dreams. It is about the direction of this country.
I love America and I’m so proud to be an American.
The election has sucked.
I get it.
I would give anything to have had better voting options.
This election has stirred up Americans. My hope is that this election will help foster a more engaged electorate. I don’t care if they vote opposite me, I want people who are making educated voting decisions.
But for now, let’s start in our own backyard. Reach out to your neighbors. Do more than just post something on Facebook.
Be the solution to someone’s problem. I can guarantee there are people within your circle of friends that need help.
I’ve found that as I help and serve others my anger, fear and bitterness leaves.
Will this solve our political issues – no, but at least we will know we are making a small positive impact on the lives of those around us.
It sounds so stupid and simple, but I firmly believe that if everyone would take a little bit of time and love their neighbor and seek to understand them, so much of the negatively around us would disappear.
I know that there have been more eloquent pleas for love and respect than mine. I apologize for my inadequacies as a writer and hope that this message is read with the spirit of love I’m trying to portray.
I’m so sorry to those who feel scared, alone, unloved and unheard.
I don’t know that anything I’ve said will help, but please reach out to a friend or loved one.
Don’t give up on this country or our leaders.
This country isn’t perfect, neither are our leaders or even its citizen as a mass entity.
However, as individuals, this country as made up of some truly amazing people. Be that person for someone else.
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