I've got to admit, I got a little caught up in it. I think I fell for what they were selling without even realizing I was in the market. It wasn't until I realized how much I was talking about it, how much I was googling it, how often I clicked on links in Facebook that I knew I'd be suckered.
Of course, I'm talking about American politics.
I've always been of the opinion that anyone who makes it so far as to be up for election for public office is probably too far removed from my needs to ever care for them. There's a reason things get so regularly better for rich white men and everyone else just has to cope. (Before we get into it, I realize I'm a white man and probably share in quite a few more privileges than most. Maybe that makes it all the worse if even I can see the system is rigged.)
This year, though, there seems to be a clear villain, or maybe even villains, painted. There are Bad Things happening this year and I don't think anyone would disagree with that. I got caught up in the story of Good vs. Evil, however good can be defined in this particular tale. I forgot that evil, essentially, is the system anymore. Evil is the thing that's doing good only for itself and ignoring the needs of so many.
I still got caught up in the normal reality tv drama that an election always turns into. It was exciting, in a way. I could come into the work in the morning and have something to say about current events. That's not always true of me. I usually don't care.
I think, after falling into their trap and now, slowly trying to pry it apart and wiggle my leg free, I have an observation. I don't know if it's worth anything, but I have one.
You are never, ever going to hate someone into believing what you believe. There is no amount of yelling, demanding, bullying, or even tricking that you can do that's going to swing someone to your side of an issue. It's not that it's unlikely. It's impossible.
Instead, be kind. Be unfailingly kind. Love people too much. Listen to their stories, even if it's so much unlike yours that it makes you squirm in your seat and need to step out for a moment to collect yourself afterwards. That's okay, really. You should be uncomfortable once in a while.
I think, in a way, we're all born glass vases. We're pretty and we're delicate and before long, someone's going to break us. Even a perfect life has a shattering moment or two. So we collect the pieces of ourselves, maybe even leave some of the worst ones behind if you're lucky, and keep moving. After a while, we're all just these sharp parts of vases, jagged shards walking around and cutting each other each and every time we make contact.
Now you wouldn't tell a child, or anyone, to go collect a pile of broken glass off the street with his bare hands, but collecting beach glass is something I remember doing as a little kid. That's because, through years of contact from the ocean's waves, these shards have been changed. Their sharp edges have been dulled.
We too can change ourselves and each other, for the better, through contact with one another. It's uncomfortable work, but it's so necessary.
Because right now, it doesn't seem like the stabbing each other, with our political opinions or otherwise, is getting us anywhere but hurt.