I think essentially all Americans would sincerely like other people to be happy. Even people who we don’t know and with whom we will never have any interactions, I think we would still like those individuals to have happy and fulfilled lives.
Everyone wants what’s best. It’s just that there is disagreement on the best way to get there. The 2016 election was hard fought, and often times ugly. I had hoped that there would be a period of calm afterwards, but things have seemed to get even worse since the election.
The hatred and disdain that politics brings out towards our friends, our relatives, our neighbors is unfortunate.
I think that when we have an opinion, there’s a part of us that subconsciously thinks “well this is what I believe, and I’m a good person, and I’m an intelligent person” and we act as though someone who disagrees is either less moral or less intelligent (or…both).
There are innumerable sources of information. There are ways that spin facts, that under report stories. The media thrives off of the political battles because it keeps people watching. And the more you watch, the more you have to justify to yourself the time you’re spending focusing on politics, and the more dug in you have to get on your opinion, and the more frustrating it is when other people just. don’t. get. it.
But when a person gets to that point, regardless of their party, they’re the most closed minded people of all. It’s not even a matter of having an interest in being reasonable. It’s essential to believe that decent people can have opposing views. The vast majority of Americans don’t believe what they believe because they’re hateful. People believe what they believe because they believe it’s what’s best for the country.
Facebook has largely become insufferable. Up until relatively recently, for the average person, when their schooling was complete, they didn’t do much writing (obviously depending on profession). But with the internet, and especially Facebook, you have people engaging in endless debates.
And with more opportunities to debate, and more sources of news, it again becomes endless. And so we feel good that we’re on the right side, not like those hateful people. But in the process become hateful.
So to people who are constantly debating politics, I lovingly say “get a life.”
It’s not that politics are unimportant, but we seem to lose site of the fact that regardless of which parties are in office, at the end of the day, a lot of the same things are going to get accomplished. It’s not like if one party is in power, everything is suddenly going to become awesome; and if they lose it, the opposite will happen. Politicians aren’t saviors.
And constantly focusing on politics, regardless of your party, regardless of if your party is or isn’t in power, is a good recipe for misery.