I would like to think I have a pretty solid political background: interning for Senator Bob Graham (D-FL), reading the news, and having an older brother who from a young age tell me we were Republicans. My first election I proudly voted for Clinton in red state Alabama, but now realize I should have honored my swing state of Florida where my vote would have been more diversified. Nevertheless, I was hooked for a while. Then came Bush who just was not my cup of tea. I understand his supporters, but not a member of his fan club. With great regret, I did not vote with Bush vs Kerry. It was just too dismal.
Then came Obama and people finally started waking out of their political comas. I was taken aback by his lack of experience and the fact his had never passed a law in his own state and still has not passed a budget. Yet, I get his allure. He revitalized the African-America vote and Youth vote. Romney, well, he did the same flip- flopping that Kerry did and would kill anyone. My new favorite joke is "A liberal, conservative, and moderate walk into a bar, do you know what the bartender says? Hi Mitt."
All I wanted was for people to go and vote. I got this madness for it and waited in line for only 2.5 hours this year. A small price to pay for my freedom. Then something nasty snuck up on me Election Day. A person who I think is generally an okay person put something so inflammatory on her Facebook status that I had to respond. My views that I teach my students is that once you resort to name calling, you've lost ground you will never recover. She basically implied those that were voting for my candidate had special needs. I let her know there was another side to the coin.
I might as well have announced that I had shit for brains. Her response was tacky and then she did something that I perceive as ridiculous, she brought up Europe as point of reference. Europe you say? I spent the first years of my life in Germany and visit my brother quite frequently in London. My membership to the Tate is actually pending as we speak. She has never been to Europe and only started going to other countries ( not Europe) in her thirties. It was like me saying what the elderly must feel or alligators. I pointed this out and the fact that Europe's economy isn't doing very well. Apparently my sky miles and I were woefully misinformed. She knew Europe better because she did.
I was not amused by our exchange and rather disappointed. It was election night though and the Catholic in me had to get out the candles and say a quick prayer. Pleas, I asked, let the country win. Sure,I posted a few things on Facebook and rallied behind my candidate. But when it came down to it, I watched the returns with my very oppositional neighbors. We had pizza and the dogs played. It was very nice and we made our comments openly about our respective candidates. At 9:30 I went home to have a moment to myself to either win or lose.
I won't tell you which one I experienced that night because the aftermath has been surprisingly harsh. Children are taunting others for their political beliefs which I am sure sound too much like their parents and some adults have been writing nasty stuff on facebook. The children are getting it from the adults which is not only a bad example to set, but a destructive one as well. Think about what we learned in kindergarten: Nobody likes a sore winner or loser. It will always be true and that is what we need to teach our children and each other.