Hello. It’s your lovely British-American friend here. I never post about politics. I rarely talk about politics (though my husband does – usually enough for both of us and then some). This will probably be my one and only vaguely political post, and hopefully it won’t lose me too many friends.
I voted this morning. It was my first US presidential election, and I think you’ll agree that it was a pretty shitty one. I’m not going to tell you who I voted for. I’m a strong believer in the idea that you never ask anyone about their politics, religion, or salary. If you want to disclose your beliefs that’s absolutely fine with me, but I’m not going to. I am, however, going to provide some general tips about how to behave during election season (which currently seems to last about 400 years):
- If you are passionate about the candidate you will be voting for and feel the need to share, then by all means DO tell me (and the internet) who you voted for and why. I am interested to hear your honest and personal reasons. However,
- DO NOT belittle, ridicule, shame, harass, or otherwise act in a hostile manner to those who are voting for someone different. There are intelligent people whom I respect on all sides of the current political debate – trust me, there are (if you don’t believe that, then you are part of the problem). You will immediately lose my respect if you act like everyone with a different opinion than you is stupid. I am seeing a lot of this on both sides. Stop it.
- DO NOT assume that you know who I am voting for based on external factors (I work in the arts, I am a woman, I am from England, I am a parent, etc., etc.). One of the many reasons I was happy to leave Baltimore/DC is because I was sick of the constant political conversation and especially the arrogant attitude that everyone in the room feels the same way. This is probably my single greatest pet peeve about politics in general. Unless I have told you my opinion about something, do not assume that you know it.
- If you are passionately encouraging others to vote, even to the extent that you are offering to pay to get people to the polls, then DO think carefully about that. Will you still pay that person’s taxi fare to the polling station if they are voting for the other candidate? Will you still yell and scream about how it is my patriotic duty to vote and that I’m truly a horrible person if I decide not to if I am in favor of the other person? Really? If yes, then go you. You’re a pretty awesome person.
- And finally, it would probably be best if you DO NOT write a blog post telling other people how to behave. Oops.
America is awesome. I chose to become an American two years ago and regardless of who wins today, I DO NOT regret that decision. Let’s all just practice a bit more tolerance, respect, and humility.
Take a moment. Breathe.