I spent Election Eve Day reading about the Texas church shooting and some contentious southeast Michigan local elections, including the one in which I cast my vote, and now I can’t get Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” out of my head.
I know it seems like a stretch to connect a Texas massacre and a local election in Farmington, Michigan, but stick with me for a minute.
If you’ve watched social media and read letters to the editor over the past few weeks, you know that It’s not enough any more to disagree on issues. Along with – or even instead of – simply elevating the people who share our ideals, some of us feel compelled to tear down the ones who don’t. Elections have become less an elevated conversation about ideals and vision and more a race to see who can come up with the most scathing personal attack.
Let’s be clear: Every one of our neighbors who campaigned was asking for an endless series of meetings, long hours of study, emails from angry residents, and a paycheck that barely covers the expense of being a city council member.
These are positions most of us wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.
So why all the vitriol? Why not just thank these fellow citizens for their efforts and move on?
There’s something happening here, something with elections and neighbors and churches and guns, something about our hearts and our eroding ability to resolve our most critical problems with civil discourse and common sense. We are becoming a nation of anger and righteous indignation and judgment, of figurative and literal death sentences for people with whom we disagree.
I don’t know why that is. I know it’s starting to scare me. Because I don’t want it to happen here.
In the coming year – and beyond, for that matter – I want to talk about what brings us together as people and as a community. I want our discussions about problems to revolve around forward-thinking solutions.
Most of all, I want us to be kind to everyone and not just those with whom we agree.