August 8, 2016
So today as I was scanning through Facebook I come across both presidential candidates by way of Fox News live report. So I watch a short segment of the Donald speaking – watching the favorable emoticons floating by and reading the mostly positive comments, and then I get distracted ( I have a short attention span – blame it on undiagnosed ADD). Then a few minutes later same thing only this time it’s Hillary – so I watch all the angry face emoticons float by and begin reading the comments most of which simply say “liar”, and I find myself prompted to write this – mostly just to help me process. Granted I only watch short segments of each speech, and remember virtually nothing of the content of either. What strikes me is the responses in the comments and the reactions of other folks watching it. The visual feature of the Facebook emoticons floating by was especially intriguing to me.
As I observed the responses of those watching I was rather surprised because the social media responses did not seem to match the latest polling data which places the Dems in the lead. Recognizing that I was watching a Fox News broadcast I attributed this to my assumption that most Fox subscribers would be of Republican persuasion. On the other hand I also am reminded that Fox is by far the most watched news outlet in America leading the other mainstream outlets by considerable margin, so what does that say about the responses?
So what does this mean? It could mean simply that Fox News watchers tend to support Republican Candidates, or it could mean that the polls are very misleading – I rather suspect it is a combination of both. What was most interesting to me however, was the content of the comments. While Trump was speaking the comments were mostly positive with a few negative troll-like comments tossed in here and there. What I found surprising was not only the preponderance of negative comments that rolled out while Clinton was speaking, but the vitriol and the consistency of the word “liar” being used in the majority of them.
I will admit I have no particular affinity to either candidate, though if I was forced to choose at this point, I would clearly lean toward Trump since I suspect His policies would be least damaging to America given the alternative. The other underlying feeling I get – and I’m not sure where this comes from- is that Clinton is coming at this with a sense of entitlement; that because she is a woman she is somehow entitled, or that it is her destiny to win. Furthermore she sometimes comes across as indignant that anybody would dare to threaten her promised coronation. I am reminded of the phrase “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely!” With some of the leaked emails and the recent FBI investigation it does not surprise me that there is some lack of trust amongst people who have observed the fiasco we reluctantly call government over the past few months or even years.
The office of President is a powerful position that thankfully most presidents of the past have wielded it with at least some integrity. Until the last eight years there has also been somewhat of a moderating effect on the power of the president by the other two branches of government. It is a sobering thought to imagine this kind of power in the hands of one person no matter who it is that wins the honor of serving the nation as the next president. If there ever was a time when the people of America need divine guidance and grace from the God upon whom her money says we trust, it is in the next three months. Lord have mercy!
It has been interesting (and slightly disconcerting) for me to observe the posts and comments on my news feed lately as America begins to face the reality of what is shaping up to be possibly the most divisive election in her history.
I am wondering if my FB friends and others who post and repost what they believe to be things that support the candidate of their choice realize that the candidate they support seems as ridiculous and reprehensible to supporters of the opposition candidate as they believe the opposition candidate is to them? In this regard it really makes little difference which side we are on.
I wonder how many of us realize that this increasing division plays right into the hands of America’s enemies who would like nothing more than to see America become increasingly divided until we ourselves destroy everything our ancestors devoted their lives to building.
I wonder what would happen if we all chose to ignore the vitriolic half truths that are posted in an attempt to demonize the “other” candidate? What if we all made a legitimate and honest effort to promote the true strengths of the candidate we support and were honorable and respectful in the way we discuss and disagree? I would hope that both sides can agree that we would like to see our nation become stronger and more united rather than weaker and more divided. Perhaps a little respect and honor for one another despite our differing points of view would serve that end?
I cannot control what others say, do, or post, nor can anyone control what I say or post, but each of us can think carefully about what we are about to post or say before we post or say it, and if it is not honoring or respectful we have the option to choose not pass it on.
I am not suggesting we suppress the truth, the truth is often hard to accept, but I believe the even truth that is hard to accept can be presented in a way that does not needlessly brutalize and offend.