Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thank goodness THAT'S over!

Ah...the sweet respite of November. Gone is the sweltering heat and dusty landscape of late summer. Cool early rains wash away the stagnant air and accumulated dirt. Happy thoughts turn the coming holiday season with its promise of family, friends, food, fun and frivolity. And the best part...NO MORE POLITICAL ADS, MAIL OR PHONE SOLICITATIONS. At least for a few months.

I'm not sharing anything earth-shattering here. Everybody seems to hate election seasons. For the most part I find the entire process has become repulsive and I've actually participated as a candidate in the not-too-distant past. There is no getting around it. You cannot take the politics out of politics.

So why even bother writing about it?

The average Joe (or Jolene) can't change the way politicians or national media conduct themselves in the bi-annual painfests. And if you think about it, all that money being spent on mailers, TV and radio, candidate dinners and stump-speeches is actually doing some good by putting a few folks to work. I'm sure local TV, radio, banquet and billboard companies are glad to have had the election business during this otherwise limp economy. So there is at least one bright point to the whole mess.

I've got to admit that it was a breath of fresh air that our local office-seekers ran respectful, issue driven campaigns. I didn't hear of any last minute hit-pieces or truly negative activities. We should give them all a pat on the back for conducting themselves with civility.

What remains a concern, at least for me, is the seemingly non-stop downward spiral in our overall societal behavior that now carries itself well beyond the election process and permeates most of our lives.

The slow economic recovery causes further frustration which leads to anger which leads to fear which eventually surfaces in really inappropriate ways.

Think back a ways. Remember when we could agree-to-disagree after effectively debating diverse points of view, even about truly important issues like the economy and social services? I do. Those seem like the good ol' days when folks respected differing opinions, even if they didn't entirely buy the argument, and in the end a compromise could usually be found.

I remember when the President of the United States was referred to as "The President" or "President Whoever". Nowadays, it's just "insert last name here" without even the least bit of respect for the office itself (even if you don't particularly like the man). If we can't even muster enough respect for the institution of the presidency to put a Mr. in front of his name, why should we expect the upcoming generations to show us ol' geezers any respect?

I guess it is the loss of respect for each other that's really bothering me. Our society seems to be running downhill in our ability or willingness to show respect for others. Don't believe me? Look up just about any newspaper article or letter to the editor on-line, even the seemingly benign ones, and read the online 'forum' where folks get to post their own thoughts. It's frightening.

What's worse than that? The folks who get all up in arms about a subject they clearly know very little about but go ahead and start a "I Hate So-And-So" Facebook page, all in an effort to stir up more anger and misinformation. Oh PULEEEEZE! Do you really think that kind of crap is helpful?

We all see the network news telecasts, the talking-heads have all morphed into shouting-heads. Everybody is shouting over each other to the point where you have no freakin' idea what ANY of them are saying. For all you can tell, they might even be agreeing!

This isn't a new topic in my posts. It's a sadly recurring theme. Mostly because it truly does worry me. As a business leader, as a mother, as an American. This behavior is flat out wrong and nobody seems to be discussing it. And that's the most worrisome thing of all.

So, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'm going to keep talking about it. And I pledge that while I may strongly disagree with the opinions of others, I'll be damned if I won't respect their right to say it and will at least give them a respectful ear. And then, if I must argue my point I will do it respectfully, without insult or flinging hateful missives. I also vow NEVER to post hateful comments or untruths to an on-line forum while hiding behind a cowardly cartoon figure and fake name.

If enough people join my 'Movement of Respect' perhaps we can actually get something positive accomplished.

Hey...a gal's got to have a goal.