I have witnessed road rage many times over the years, but a new kind of anger seems to have grown even more rapidly and is spreading like wildfire. I call it “election rage”.
Here is the definition of road rage From Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:
Road rage: a motorist's uncontrolled anger that is usually provoked by another motorist's irritating act and is expressed in aggressive or violent behavior
If you replace “motorist” with “political party member”, then you pretty much have the same thing.
I am sure you have seen it around you. Just mention anything that slightly leans to one side of a political party and you can see the steam coming out of the ears of those who don’t agree. Your true colors have been revealed. You will suddenly be seen as the enemy, a secret member of the dark side. You have become the new Darth Vader, brandishing your red light saber with plans to conquer the USA.
However, I may have just played a Jedi mind trick on you all. Which side do you think I am talking about? Ha! I didn’t tell you that. If you pictured the “other side” as the culprit here, whichever that might be, then you have fallen head over heels into the same trap I was talking about.
This tension has grown over the last decade and seems to be getting worse as each election year comes along. People are vehement, they have to be heard; their opinion is the only right one. We have become so polarized that even listening to someone with an opposite view is an invitation to a start an all-out war.
But even scarier, is that many people have decided that anything their political party says is the truth, and the other one is all lies. They hate the other candidate, and anyone who follows them. We have, in turn, become a tool for politicians. We are fighting the battle for them; they don’t have to prove themselves or even prove that what they say is true.
Politicians don’t have to tell us what they will do for us, because we don’t seem to care, we just want our party to win. They know that many citizens will walk the party line and never cross it. Are we relying on others to do the fact-checking or are we doing it ourselves? If we are relying on others, what are their vested interests? Do we only accept what we want to hear?
I think we are smart enough to figure it out for ourselves, but I am not so sure they think we are.
This is not how it should be, and I think that many of us are just sick of this battle. Our country is supposed to be made by the people and for the people. That means all of us. Not half the country, and not one political party. Instead, we are cramming our views down our neighbors’ throats and we have closed our ears because our truth is the only truth.
But what is really important here? Can we honestly say that a different viewpoint makes a person an unworthy citizen? If so, then maybe we need to back down from being so personal with our political party and start looking at issues.
It is time that the candidates prove to us what they will do for America, not just tell us what the other won’t do. Pointing a finger at another candidate is much easier than committing themselves to doing something.
When it comes to preventing election rage, it is important to choose our battles and try listening for a change. We aren’t going to convince anyone of anything by force-feeding our opinions and insisting that they hear our views and only ours, or by calling people names.
Sometimes, choosing to ignore is also a good strategy, because people are posting things that are really over the top just to make you mad. They are hoping you will feed the internet trolls by responding. Discussion is good, but don’t fall into this trap. Don’t feed the trolls.
Listening is what makes good discussion, whether that is between two presidential candidates or two neighbors on the sidewalk. If we really do think our truth is the only truth, then we are, without a doubt, mistaken.
I am not saying that we will ever agree, nor should we. That is what makes our country what it is, that we can express our own opinions without worry of being punished. Believe me, my political views are just as strong as the next blogger. However, we are supposed to be the United States of America, not divided. Let’s act like it and agree to disagree. We aren’t going to change anyone’s mind at this point.
There is an important acronym for road rage prevention that can also be applied to election rage. FIDO – Forget it and drive on.
Good idea. I am driving on now. How’s the weather?