Monday, September 22, 2008

The Presidential Election 2008

This is a plea to everyone who shares, or does not share, my political views.

First of all, chances are good that unless you're my immediate family, or my best friend, Rene, you don't know my political views.

Please, please, stop sending me e-mail "Forwards" that lack substance.

If you have information -- *TRUE, SUBSTANTIATED INFORMATION* -- that you want me to know, whether it be about Biden, McCain, Obama, or Palin (notice, alphabetical order), or about any other candidate you support - please feel free to send it to me.

But - if you don't know the truth, or if your e-mail is simply of the "let's slam the opposing candidate" variety -- please, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF.

I have received e-mails about all the individuals in this presidential election. Some of the information is blatantly untrue. A quick check of Snopes revealed that a slamming e-mail involving Palin was patently false. Another e-mail was so stupid (claiming Obama is the anti-Christ) that I didn't even have to bother with Snopes. No matter who any of us support, can't we agree to stop with the senseless forwarding? And please, while we're at it -- stop those "I'm a nurse and this is what I've seen" or "I'm a lawyer and this is what I've seen" forwards as well. Check SNOPES. As heartrending or as aggravating as the situations sound in these e-mails, many of them are simply recycled from a prior use and are simply designed to incite anger. If you can't personally swear that it really happened, then why tell your friends?

Here's a story that's absolutely true. And I say that with confidence because I was there. Years ago, before this election was even a glimmer in anyone's eye, there was another contentious election going on. And guess what? Democrats and Republicans were the front-running candidates. I was at a churchy event. I say "churchy" because this particular situation involved a lot of very, very devout - very religious-type people. I was there as an outsider (long story), but I overheard the spirited conversation. These very devout people were talking about that era's current president, and about what a terrible job he was doing. (Sound familiar?) They were so completely against this man that they discussed how much they hoped he would be assassinated. Yes. They actually said that.

This was hatred, pure and raw. I was ashamed for these folks. Did I get into the middle of it and argue? No, of course not. They were about as close to a mob mentality as you can get at a churchy thing. But the moment stuck with me. And I have chosen to avoid these people ever since. These people were so sure of their beliefs that they actually wished death on another person. You know what? I think that's sick.

If the e-mail you're about to forward doesn't help the situation... if it's designed simply to make people angry -- to make them hate their fellow man -- then why send it?

If the e-mail you're about to send is true ... if it's YOUR experience, or your belief that you want to share -- if it's something you feel passionate about and it's YOUR words, please send it to me. I would like to know how others come to their decisions. I think that's fascinating.

Who do I support? I don't care to share that information at this time. And maybe I haven't made up my mind yet. I get e-mails from both the McCain and Obama camps. Why? Because I am very interested in where they both stand on the issues and I want to stay informed up to Election Day. If someone can send me *TRUTH* (and who can, really?) then I encourage them to do so. But if someone simply wants to send empty rhetoric, I'd rather they stay silent.

Spreading lies is just another way to spread hatred. Please, let's all work to stop that. We have a wonderful country. We have an amazing system of government. If we put all this energy toward a common good, just think of what we could accomplish. Let's stop tearing things down, and instead - try building things up. Let's do it for the United States of America. Because, no matter who wins, we're all in this together.

Thank you for letting me vent.


bonniew said...

Well Put Julie! I'm sick of the chain emails too.

Remiman said...

Here, here! I whole heartedly agree. Thankfully I don't get e-mails with hate politics fwd.
Here's a piece I wrote along those lines, if you'd be so knid to review.

Btw, we spend the summer camping next to Bonnie and Dick.

Sarahlynn said...

"chances are good that unless you're my immediate family, or my best friend, Rene, you don't know my political views."

True, and I agree with what you said about annoying forwards. (I assume you too got the silly list of books Palin supposedly banned.)

But . . . with one or two of the links on your website and acknowledgements in your book, a reader can make a semi-educated guess. And that's something I can't avoid doing!

My stories are much more political - one of my characters is a conservative Catholic, another is a passionate open source (computer programming) activist, and a third is a militant environmentalist. My main character is a mild-mannered, center-left peacekeeper. Looking for subtle clues that betray people's political leanings is not just a habit of mine, it's research!