After this week, we’ll begin the final stretch of the presidential campaign between two candidates who have actually been nominated by their respective parties. I’m glad that the calendar pages are turning, because I just want this election to be over. I don’t think we can withstand much more of the level of vitriol that’s being hurled back and forth.
I’m not talking about the two campaigns, either. I’m talking about what we’re seeing from the masses, from our friends and colleagues, from Facebook pages and emails. You can’t even talk about politics without seeing, and hearing, evidence of it. Many people obviously find it impossible to talk about the candidates without lapsing into flaming, superheated language — the kind that people don’t easily forget.
The anti-Trump group loathe The Donald and honestly seem to believe that only utterly ignorant racists and fascists could possibly consider voting for the guy. The anti-Clinton folks are revolted by Hillary’s duplicity and corruption; they think the media is in the tank for her and the elites are trying to fix the election for her. It’s coarse and visceral stuff, and a lot of bitterness on both sides is leaking out into our daily discourse.
I don’t care about the two candidates. They are both egregiously flawed and deserve the strident criticism they’re getting. No, I’m more concerned about the average people out there who are choosing sides, and doing so in a way that seems to leave no room for quarter or disagreement. I wonder how many long-time friendships will be ruined and how many families will be splintered by the harsh language and even more harsh judgments. If you are to the point that you think Trump will be the next Hitler, are you going to want to hang out with a guy who wants to vote him into office — even if it’s a guy you’ve known and worked with for 20 years?
The old saying about the wisdom of not talking about politics or religion has never been truer. It used to be that people of good will at different points on the political spectrum could have a good-natured discussion about who they were voting for, and why. I’m not sure that is even possible this year.
In our personal lives, we need to declare a truce, and take politics off the table. Talk about your kids, talk about your travels, talk about sports — talk about just about anything other than the awful choice that we must make come November. Hold your fire, folks! That way, at the ground level of our everyday existence, maybe we’ll be able to make it through this flaming car wreck of an election.