Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Emily Post's Rules for Politics

Okay, really they're mine.  As a young participant in the Lower Valley Cotillion Club, I was given the charge to read Emily Post's Rules for Teen Etiquette.  I have wondered recently, what she would have to say during this election season.

We are at the tail end of what has been a historically heated period.  I have mostly been a quiet observer via social media, with my mother's sound advice to me as an adolescent constantly at the back of my mind, "Don't discuss religion and politics with people."  Certainly, I am thankful to have heeded such advice, especially with the potential of my words living on forever in cyberspace.

Below, I have listed a handful things we can all do instead of firing off at one another with the touch of a screen.

1.  Be thankful.
Give thanks that we live in a democracy where we have a say in who leads it.  Be grateful for our freedoms and not constantly living in fear.  While it can be argued that we have a long way to go in certain areas, a quick look at our brief history will show that we have, indeed, made significant progress as a nation overall.  Not all countries in the world offer the same privileges to their citizens.

2.  Take the conversation offline.
I have yet to meet someone whose mind was changed based on a Facebook post or Tweet.  Might I recommend that online venues are not the best place to discuss such matters?  I mean, God forbid that you meet with someone over coffee and talk face to face, right?  And if it is a person you don't see eye to eye with, it can be downright frightening!  There's something about hiding behind a screen that makes us more bold.  I would also interject that the goal of such conversations should not be to change the other person's mind, rather to help them understand your point of view and vice-versa.

3.  Go VOTE.
Whatever your politics, if you sit this one out, you have forfeited your right to complain.  You may feel especially passionate about a particular candidate, or you may detest them all.  Either way, this is the most powerful move for your voice to be heard.  Also, you have every right to keep mum about who you support.  It's not necessary to let everyone know who you voted for. (That's why it's a secret ballot!)  Frankly, most won't care.

4.  Pray.
"Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land." -2 Chronicles 7:14

Please do not misunderstand this post.  I am not saying that posting articles in support of your candidate or their policies is inherently bad.  I am gently suggesting that arguing online over the nominees and issues does not get you (or them) anywhere.

I look forward to the morning of November 9th, when my Newsfeed will (hopefully) be filled once again with photos of families, events and accomplishments.  On really hard days, I even miss selfies and gym posts.

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