Civility in Politics

A few weeks ago, my Mom mentioned that her and my Dad were hosting a Wine & Theology party. The topic for this month was “Civility.” And, in the spirit of election season, they wanted to address the conflict of how we remain civil despite our differences.

I wish that I could say that all of the conversations that I have encountered this election season have been respectful. I wish that I could tell you that I am impressed by the level of civility. Unfortunately, the elections bring out the worst in people.

I am predominately, a conservative. My friends are mostly, liberal. For the most part, my friendships are respectful. We listen to each other, and we disagree fairly. But, my Twitter timeline has been shockingly gross. Eva Longoria tweeted that if women vote for Mitt Romney then they are stupid. Yes, stupid. Ann Coulter called President Obama a “retard” and isn’t planning on apologizing.

It is challenging isn’t it? To be respectful? To withhold the name-calling and the insults?

Normally, this wouldn’t bother me that much. I would call it typical. But, it is disheartening when I see this kind of language and lack of civility within the Christian community.

After a short rant about this the other day on Twitter, my friend Lauren replied with something like, “Remember when it was considered rude to talk about politics or religion at the dinner table? Because of Twitter, it is all fair game.”

The self that I project on Twitter, I want to be true to the self that I am in real life. The self that I project on my blog, I want to be the same self that I project in my everyday, real life conversations. If I am talking politics or religion with a friend over a cup of coffee, and we disagree, I wouldn’t dare call her a moron. I wouldn’t dare tell her that she is misinformed or “retarded” or make her feel uneducated. I would not be dismissive or arrogant. Instead, I would respectfully share my opinion, respectfully hear hers, and move on.

I don’t think we have to avoid the topics that are messy. We don’t have to be quiet about our opinions. A couple of friends in the last couple of weeks have called me “brave” for blogging about the things that I do. I wouldn’t call it bravery. I want to believe that we all can live in a world where our opinons collide, yet we can still commune together.

So, in this season, especially as we are days away from the election, remember this:

We are all people. We have different stories that shape us. Our opinions and feelings matter. You are all valid. None of you are irrelevant.

Let’s all try to remember that we are people. Democracy is what makes our country great; but, also, equality. Be tolerant of each other. Converse respectfully. And, don’t be afraid to say what you mean. Your opinion matters, and it counts.

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Comments

  1. High 5!!

    I know a lot of people (family) who respond this way. That if they don’t agree with someone else’s political views then the other person is stupid, ignorant, etc.

    Is this really how Jesus would want to treat others over something so trivial (in the grand scheme of things)?

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