Monday, November 03, 2008

Now that the elections are over, will sanity and civility make a comeback in the US?

Six months ago, already out of patience with the derisive and divisive tone of the media (both the mainstream media and the "homestyle" media of the blogosphere) regarding the presidential election campaign, I determined that I would take a different approach to the s-l-o-w-l-y approaching election. These are the resolutions I wrote for myself at that time, along with my post-experiment observations (in green following each resolution).

  1. I will learn all the FACTS I can about the candidates (especially the presidential and vice-presidential ones.) This was harder than it sounded on the surface. IMHO, The "news" media for the most part could more correctly be labeled the "opinion" media or the "celebrity worship" media. I quickly determined that any so-called news show featuring a celebrity, a network news commentator, or a "panel of experts" does not present NEWS. The only presenters of news are the local newscasters and carefully-selected internet sources. All of the CNN channels, Fox News, and MSNBC are opinion media -- seeking only to raise their revenue by spouting rude accusations and stirring up controversy. So long 24-hour news channels!
  2. I will IGNORE the opinions of others, especially those shouted loudly and rudely with a back-ground beat of name-calling and disrespectful tones. This also turned out to be hard - and I admit to some backsliding here. I am, from early training, a courteous person - I find it hard to turn and walk away when someone is talking or to tell someone that I will not discuss what they're talking about. Of course this resolution lead to a moratorium on blog reading; most bloggers cannot resist (or don't want to resist) trying to push their opinions onto others. I confess to reading a few blogs which I know to be strongly opinionated, but I love the people who write them and don't want to miss any non-political post they might happen to write. If you are not adverse to reading political opinion, check out my brother, my sister, my other sister, and my niece.
  3. I will pray every day, not only that the best selection be made, but that God will work in whichever of the candidates actually becomes our president. (After all, God gave us free will, and human beings do not always make the best decisions.) This one was easy. I did it every day.
  4. I will make my decision about my vote based primarily upon the the CHARACTER and ACTUAL RECORD OF PAST POLITICAL AND PERSONAL ACTIONS AND STATEMENTS of the candidates. (The supposed "platform" means little - the president doesn't make decisions on his/her own - campaign ideologies are only statements of wishes.) Of course, separating fact and opinion is not always easy. It is surprising how hard it is to find actual records uncontaminated with someone's commentary about the meaning of the record.
  5. I will vote at the very first opportunity. I did. Early in the day on the very first day that voting was allowed in Georgia, my mother and I made the rounds of the three courthouses in Rome, GA until we found the correct place to cast our ballots.

As I finish writing this post, it is the last day that candidates can campaign. Tomorrow is election day. My experiment is over. I can return to blogdom. I can return to conversations with those I love. I can watch TV again. All those who have offended each other during the last year can begin to mend fences. Life will go on. Neither Barack Obama nor John McCain is our savior. As my beloved Daddy always said and believed - God is still on the throne!


Jane said...

An excellent post Joan. If all Americans would approach the election as you have it would make a huge difference.
Oh, and welcome back to blogdom! You were missed.

Carol said...

I'm so glad you're back to blogging. I've missed you. However, I admire what you did. For all the anxiety the election has cost me, I would have been better off to have done the same thing you did. And, actually, I did it for a few weeks at one point.

Terrell said...

Now Joan, I've been a lot of things, but never opiumated! By the way I think you misspelled it! :-)

Welcome back to Blogdom!!

Ruth said...

Now that the elections are over, will sanity and civility make a comeback in the US? will not! Maureen Doud's comment in today's paper was a disgrace. I feel lke cancelling my subscription to the Rome news. She can't get enough telling the lie that "Bush lied"