First things first, I don’t write about politics. I was recently told I could/should, and let the record show, that’s not my cup of tea. I don’t talk about which side I am on, because I’m not much for taking sides. End of story. But I do love to write about the critters, and I’m always amazed at what we can learn from our critter friends. And in this week of political crazy, it’s no different. I don’t know about y’all, but I’m ready for my Facebook feed to go back to puppies, horses, and friends’ great family pics. I’m also ready for the news to find something else to talk about. Period.
Unless we are darn near besties, I’m not one to talk about politics. As my momma taught me, discussing religion and/or politics in most situations is just not the most polite thing to do. And while I truly love the Internet – it lets me share stories, keep up with friends, and have a livelihood – I do think we have forgotten how to be polite to each other when we are on it. (Yes, I’m not the first one to make this revelation. But I do think it’s worth noting again, given our short attention span these days.)
All of my life, I’ve had friends from all walks of life, who hold all manner of views – some far left, some far right, some sitting in the middle, and some clear off the reservation in their own little world. But the fact is that I love them all – as my fellow human beings. (It’s also a reason I don’t often fit into groups, but have friends across groups. As I’ve been told in the past, I’m not a joiner. But I digress … .)
Folks have a right to their views, and I respect that. As long as you don’t force your views on me, I’m even willing to have a nice discussion. I’ve always loved to learn what makes people tick. (And yes, some of us are down right cuckoo clocks, but still, I find it interesting nonetheless.)
Which brings me back to the critters. You see, the critters at the farm all have to learn to live together. We’ve got cats and dogs, and we don’t separate them or kennel them for everyday living. We’ve got mares and geldings (that’s girls and boys for my city friends), and we don’t tell them who’s boss or how to share or which one is better at running or opening gates or listening. We let them figure it out. And, miracle of miracles, they do so just fine. Now don’t get me wrong, every once in a while someone hisses or kicks or bites, but it’s temporary. They made their point, and they move on.
So I come full circle to social media, news, and all of our various ways to scream our point of view from the mountaintops. Let’s all try to be a little more polite, a little gentler, and remember that all of our friends don’t always see things the way we do. And honestly, isn’t that a blessing? I mean how boring would my life be if all my friends were just like me. Lord knows, one of me is enough.
So while it’s probably not realistic to ask everyone to keep their commentary to themselves, I would ask us all to find a little bit of politeness and ask ourselves, “Is this really necessary? Is it kind? Does this help my friends truly see my point of view, and am I open to hearing theirs? Does this alienate people I care about?”
We can all be true to ourselves and also be kind. I’ve never once in my life found that browbeating someone who does not think like I do to be a successful method to share my point of view. In fact, it does just the opposite. (And trust me, I’ve been on the wrong end of some serious browbeating, and it did nothing more than make me dig my heals in, and I still carry the scars.)
So as we all go into this new era, for better or worse, no matter your side, let’s keep it civil. Now, I know every once in while there will be some kicking, hissing, and biting, but let’s keep it to a minimum. Because, at the end of the day, we all have to live and work together, and no one wants to be put in a kennel.
P.S. – A version of this post was published in The Glen Rose Reporter. This farmgirl is delighted to serve as a community columnist.