Yesterday I posted a political post on my Facebook wall. I know I should keep my opinions to myself but, I was responding to all the vague generalizations and name calling that goes on in an election year. I actually posted a third party candidate. I don’t know if I will vote for him but I get tired of being told I have and “either or” option, when I feel like there is almost always a third or fourth way of looking at things. The two prevailing parties that all of us Americans have grown up with should not be the only options we have. I actually don’t think they are but the probability of a third party candidate getting in is quite slim because the American public has the perception that to vote for a third party is throwing your vote away. Personally, I think the time is right for a third party candidate to take the office of President of the United States. Maybe this is the year to make history. With all my political opinions aside, I realized something after reading one of the responses to my post. I realized that I grew up in a family that learned how to bully and they didn’t stop when they grew up.
Now, I love my family but I grew up in a racist, sexist, bullying family. When you disagree they immediately resort to vague generalizations and name calling. They try to talk louder than you if you are in the same room with them and they have bullied me for most of my life. It is only recently that I have come to recognize that I have an opinion that is worth expressing whether it is agreed with or not. I am not stupid for holding a differing opinion and maybe….just maybe, I have something to say that will make a few people stop and think. I recognize that most of the bullies of the world will be too busy yelling their opinions to listen to the quiet ones. But I think that there are a few wise people who don’t necessarily agree with the status quo. They may not agree with me either but they are willing to listen and discuss.
Another Facebook example using the “either or” scenario is that you either support the police force or you support the victims of police brutality. I really don’t think those two things have much to do with each other. I support our men in blue. I appreciate our police force and I will continue to support them wholeheartedly but I also support the victims of police brutality and I see absolutely no reason why a police officer should not be held to an extremely high standard of integrity. There is absolutely no room in public service for someone who holds racist views or makes bad decisions. So yes, I support a strict adherence to the law by our police force and should that law be violated the police officer who violated that law should be prosecuted to the full extent the law allows.
I guess what I am ranting about is that most of the time there is more to an issue than the two choices being broadcast all over Facebook. There is common ground on both sides and a creative solution is usually elegant and simple and may not even be one of the two choices being publicized. There are good reasons on both sides of any issue but there are also many good reasons to look for an alternate solution. My hope is that many of us will start thinking for ourselves and recognize that although we may have been silenced in the past by bullies we still have something to say.