The Beauty of Political Differences

The truth is I’m voting for Obama. Though I tried to keep an open mind about the candidates, and always do, I have once again chosen to support the democratic candidate, though it would be nice if, once in a while, my republican husband and I agreed politically. Nearly every election we cancel each other out, for better or worse, richer or poorer. Though my mind is made up, I have closely followed this campaign. It’s been fascinating.

Watching the second debate, I was once again struck by the wondrous fact that in this country, we are all entitled to our opinions, and are free to speak them. We can also share those opinions on Facebook, Twitter, and yes, blogs. We can comment on articles written by some of the most brilliant minds in the world, with a click of the mouse and a a few well-chosen words. We can do all of this with little fear of personal attack or physical harm. This is what keeps our country free and evolving, this public discourse.

True, others may disagree with what we have to say- some in nasty and rude ways – but ultimately there’s nothing stopping anyone – from genius to idiot – from sharing their viewpoint. The USA is a place where anyone is free to speak his or her mind – even a guy from a “brain trust in Mineola,” as Kerry Ladka, one of the audience members described himself on tonight’s debate. (Note: you may need to be from Long Island to think that’s even remotely funny.)
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I truly enjoy watching the myriad political corners of the world converge on my Facebook newsfeed. Some on Facebook have complained about the election related posts that show up on their pages and have asked for their friends to restrain themselves from sharing their views or have sought out advice for blocking political posts, but I think it’s fascinating to see the variety of ideas, philosophies, angles, and of course the ubiquitous memes that pop up on Facebook.
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It’s inspiring to me that so much thought goes into our election process. Most of those who are making political statements- at least in my world- are quite eloquent and informed. It doesn’t bother me in the least to read posts from people who are as philosophically different from me as a cheeseburger is from a kale salad. I find it interesting and challenging to read the thoughts of someone who sees nearly everything differently than I do.

I have written a few debate-provoking posts – not many, but a few – and I have found them to be the most exciting and interactive. Some commenters come out swinging, some come quietly and gently, and many come to disagree – and that’s good. The tension created when two people who have different opinions exchange ideas is what creates more NEW ideas – and surrounding ourselves with people who think like we do doesn’t always do much to stimulate thought.

Yes, there are those who expound just to hear themselves talk (or, in the case of Facebook, watch their words provoke), but for the most part I see my friends, both in real life and virtually, just trying to say what they think without being too much of an asshole.

God Bless America.

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  1. says

    Well said, Sharon. Some comments do make my blood boil, but after a few minutes, the temperature goes back down to a reasonable number and I get on with it…without a second thought. That attitude is so taken for granted in this country, and perhaps it shouldn’t be.
    God Bless America…really.
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  2. says

    I admit, I find the vitriol I see online troubling. I do not mind differences of opinion; in fact I want there to be independent thought and thinkers. However, I don’t see as much of that as I’d like. I see a lot of name-calling, a lot of intolerance, a lot of demonizing of those who think differently. I know this is not new to political thought. Even our nation’s relatively short history is full of examples more vicious than what I see daily, but it still bothers me.
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  3. says

    Sharon, you certainly have kept an open mind…however after seeing the picture of Sesame Street… PBS is over 90% funded by private contributor’s. Sesame Street and Big Bird will continue on…….my problem is the deceit of this Administration. I don’t feel America is safe, especially after the debacle of the Libyan attacks. When our men and women are killed, as in the Navy Seals and Ambassador Stevens, it constitutes an act of war. I have a nephew a Navy Seal – I have a grandson who served in Afghanistan. My father was a Marine. I pray every night for the safety of our military, and I don’t feel our military are safe…anywhere in the world. Obama Care the cost is going to be prohibitive to the majority of the people…. and I truly believe a National Health Care system will bankrupt an already troubled economy. In order to qualify for Obama Care you have to be without insurance for six months. What happens to those individuals during the six month period of time? I have an issue with Federal workers and Union employees not paying into this plan. If it is good enough for us, it is good enough for others. I do believe that a successful businessman in the White House will stable our economy. And I want to scream when Romney is criticized for paying 15% tax – the present tax system calls for a 15% tax on capital gains! In closing, I am much more comfortable with Paul Ryan being a “heart beat” away from the Presidency than Joe Biden. I respect your decision, however am hoping that in the next couple of weeks you try to look at a bigger picture. I apologize for what seems like rambling…however I hold my political views pretty close to my heart, as you do. But I truly believe there is madness on Pennsylvania Avenue.

    • says

      Thank you for your comment and sharing your opinions. This is just the kind of thing I like to see.

      First of all thank you to your family for your commitment to protecting our country through military service. I live near a naval weapons station, and when I see military personnel in the community I try to say “thank you” whenever I can.

      The economy is of course the biggest issue of all, but I don’t believe that either candidate has a solid answer for how to fix it.

      My decision comes down to the social issues and how each candidate views our society. I believe Romney would like to take us back to the 1950’s in so many ways, and I believe that the president has a much more progressive and open-minded view of how we, as individuals, should be able to choose to live our lives.

  4. says

    Good for you Sharon, to state your opinions so openly and welcoming for discussion!
    Who will revoke Roe V Wade or even tweek it backwards is what this election is all about for me.
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  5. Vanessa Haney says

    Hey Sharon,
    First, I would like to say I never really engage in a political posts on Facebook, with the exception of last night! Because I feel so much is lost in that forum of communication, mainly the heart of the person.
    Second, I am voting for Romney. Not because I would have chose him, but purely to relive this current administration from office.
    My vote is only based on economics, such as jobs, current cash flow, the deficit which all have weakened under this administration, leaving us more vulnerable to the third world who already hates us! So, my vote is mainly influenced by deficit and military strength like your commenter above.
    Third, Obama Care plays a big part in my decision. I am a Health Insurance Broker and this bill is so poorly written it completely contraindicates itself is so many areas, they have had to revise it in many areas just for it to practically work within our healthcare system. They call it the “Affordable Care Act” but this bill will in no way lower health care costs in America, it will only shift it to the government. Those who meet the eligible requirement will get subsidized through the exchanges! Another entitlement that burdens the already staggering budget. Small business will be so burden by it, they are already asking how can they just pay the penalties for not providing benefits to their employees! I believe we need to stimulate growth and not burden business even more. We all agree health care must be reformed but as far as practically implementing this bill — well even in the industry we still don’t know all the ramifications to come and are scrambling to try to figure it out. One example is the 3 to 1 ratio on individual rates will only increase rates for our younger generation, the insurance companies can not afford to lower the older aged (higher utilization) so hence they will have to raise it for the younger to comply with the ACA. This is another whole topic in itself.
    Lastly, you are probably right about the social agenda but I feel so strongly about getting the economics turned around, I have even explored the social topics!
    My vote is for Romney.

    • says

      Hi Vanessa,
      Thanks for your very thoughtful comment. As small-business owners, my husband and I have personal experience with the insane cost of health care. My question about this is what are the options? How do we care for those who can’t afford health insurance? Do we just let them suffer? It’s so complicated. Would we rather not have to pay premiums for our employees? Yes. Do we do it anyway, because we feel it’s the right and moral thing to do? Yes. Does our income suffer because of it? Yes. But to us health care is a cost of doing business, and we will continue to pay those premiums as long as we can.

      I also don’t really believe that small businesses will necessarily create enough jobs to really make a dent in the unemployment numbers. Many, like us, are just trying to keep things running at a stable pace, and any tax cuts would just make things a little easier, not necessarily incentivize us to go out and hire lots of new employees. This is where I believe government programs – improving the infrastructure, hiring teachers, funding programs that have been scaled back – could create thousands of jobs and improve the economy. Yes, the money would come from taxes to pay for these things, but in the end we would all benefit by having higher employment rates and a more optimistic society.

      That’s just my opinion~

  6. says

    You had me at “my republican husband.” I have one of those too, yet my social media stream is 99% democrat. I never bring up politics at home because I’m not interested in the fight, and so I try to ignore it on the internet, too. I’ve always thought of myself as a very open-minded person, but this season makes me shut it down. Kudos to you for your wide-eyed observation and your appreciation of your smart friends. It reminds me that mine deserve some, too.
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    • says

      Thanks for the comment, Kim – it’s nice to know I’m not the only person in a conflicted marriage! This has been a particularly contentious season for politics, mostly I believe because the candidates are so far apart on the idealogical spectrum.

  7. says

    I’m in the same position with my husband. I try to simply vote according to common sense (at least as I see it) rather than party lines, so we typically cancel each other out, unfortunately. Political discussions around my house end rather quickly as I bow out in frustration at his refusal to be respectful of the candidate I (and two of our three daughters) choose to support. I prefer not to engage in political discussion online either, just because it can be equally polarizing. I admire your ability to stay open minded and encouraging of respectful discourse and debate. I wish more of the folks I know online and off would follow your example.
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  8. says

    Politics and religion have and will always be controversial subjects and some people react with more emotion than reason to advocate for “their side.” It is a credit to your intelligence and your clear writing that you can lay out your arguments respecting that there can be a difference of opinion. Not everyone is so skillful in presenting their opinions and/or in commenting. Plus, some people just love to vent like mad, preferring anonymity online.
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