Oh, What a Lovely #War

We can do it!Yesterday, the US elections were held.  A President, Vice-President, Senators, Governors, Representatives, a whole slew of people were elected, some for the first time, some for the umpteenth time.  I think you’d need to have been living under a rock not to know that it was a pretty nasty bun fight between the Republicans and the Democrats in the lead up to the election.  To be honest, I’m rather disgusted with the lows both parties go to sometimes to try to win an election.  I’m even more appalled about the money they spent fighting one another, because that money could have helped a lot of people, or even the nation.

My post-election thinking is, “Hey… you know, let’s just move on now.  We need to dust ourselves off, say ‘good fight’, let’s find out where we can work together, and let’s make the USA a great nation again.”  Maybe I’m overly optimistic or a rational adult or something, but the downward spiral has to stop.  Cease fire.  White flag.  Diplomatic discussion time.  Kids out of the room, this is adult-only time.

So I was rather dismayed when I saw certain people I know (and, stripping away the politics, they are nice people, who I really really really like… We have had some great laughs over the years) who are involved in certain factions of certain parties are treating the outcome in not a very nice light.  As in, 3 year old, toys out of the cot, kinda not nice.

I’m trying to balance the fine line between friendship and concern for these friends (“Do you really believe what you are saying?  Take a step back and look at what you are saying… Is this you? Who you want to be? Do you realise how nutty this all is?”) and standing up for my beliefs.

As an aside: my Grandpa was a great man.  He would talk to anyone.  Sit him down at a bench in the mall, and by the time you came back, he’d have struck up a conversation with someone, and they behaved like they were the best of friends.  Grandpa had that “live and let live” attitude.  He was a strong man who loved his God, his wife, and his family very much, but I’d also like to think he was a humanist.  My Grandpa was a very down-to-earth man who seemed to make a point that we are all in this together and we need to work together despite our differences.  If I could be half the man he was, I would be happy.

Back to my blog: I try to be a person who works with others to achieve a common goal.  I might not always agree with everything, but I think there is more strength in working together despite your differences.  And I approach things with an open mind, trying to think how my actions and words impact others.  I think peaceful negotiations are the best way to approach things.  Sure, my blood boils sometimes, but I’m a better person than to fall back on my basic raw human emotions.

So, when I saw the #war hashtag for the millionth time on Facebook and Twitter last night from these certain friends, I unfortunately lost the plot a little bit with them.  These elements sometimes talk of civil disobedience and all sorts of crazy stuff which, to be honest, concerns me a great deal.  If you are supposedly someone who is loyal to your country and care so much about your country that you are trying to push for change, why would you openly encourage disobedience against the will of the people?  Why would you, and your fellow party faithful, want to keep being obstructive during one of your country’s greatest times of need?

These people talk of civil #war, of fantastic stories of how the government is conspiring to challenge the people, how the US is becoming a Marxist state, exaggerating many things like petrol prices shooting through the roof.  Why?  What good is this to anyone?  Are you trying to scare the living crap out of your kids?  Make them so anxious they start failing school, acting out, need anti-anxiety medication?  Go back to that atmosphere of fear and uncertainty in the aftermath of 9/11?  Because I think people are tired of all that.  They know the Boogeyman isn’t lurking in the shadows or under the bed.  It’s time to move on from “singing about the age of paranoia”; I think a lot of us have moved on from it.

But the way this small core of people are behaving, I’m dreading waking up one morning to read something like this on my Facebook feed: “Obama allowed Megatron, Skeletor, Loki and their armies access to the USA.  Just watch the movies Transformers, Masters of the Universe and The Avengers for the evidence!!! Chicago, LA, NYC, watch out! #impeachObama #war”  (And then I think I might headbutt the breakfast bar a few times… Or go back to bed and hope it’s all a bad dream.  Or laugh heartily like I do when I’m in total disbelief… I’m not sure which yet.)

I mean, the media behaves this way, becoming more sensationalist to drown out the other media outlets vying for your attention, sometimes to the point where you go… “Are you effing kidding me?  Seriously?”  And this is where some quarters of American politics seem to think it’s okay to head.  Well, it’s not.

Saying a #war is coming or that you’re going to start a #war is not cool.  It’s not funny, it’s not fun, and it’s just highlighting how totally uncooperative your group wants to be with everyone else.  (Life is full of compromise; pick your battles wisely.)

My family (as well as many other families out there over the centuries) has been affected by Real War.  The stories my Oma told to my Aunt Lisa (which I’m lucky enough to have a recorded copy of) about living in Nazi Germany should be enough to make the blood drain from your face.  It includes a story of a dead starving family who stole bread and the “justice” they faced for stealing, which involved nails and a hammer (I won’t go further than that).  Or just even reading the statistics about how many civilians died in a Real War like the Iraq War should be enough to make you question if Real War or #war war is always the best approach.

Trying to force change through violence rarely works.  It drops us into a cycle of violence upon violence upon violence of one another.  We need to break the cycle.  We need to talk to one another.  We need to find common ground, disagree on what we disagree on because everyone can’t agree on 100% all of the time, but let’s work together to find out where our ideals overlap and start discussing any lee-way on the rest.

I know not everyone will drop tools and change overnight.  What I am saying to you is, at least try.  Modify your behaviour and your thinking.  Think outside the box.  Think about why you feel the way you do, analyse it, think of other viewpoints.  Talk about this with your friends in a non-confrontational way, especially friends who have different viewpoints.  Think like a scholar or a philosopher and try to find out how you can change for the better of you, your family, your community and your country.

Because those who died or were injured in Real Wars while fighting to make sure we kept the right to free speech, to vote, to have free association, and to think our own thoughts deserve you to try to make the Republic work, and to restore the USA to its shining jewel-in-the-crown status it once had.  Too much blood has been shed in the name of freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness not to; we don’t need more shed because you’re too stubborn to budge or unwilling to compromise or think #war is cool.

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