Election Fatigue

Like many of you, I’m suffering from “election fatigue.” I know that elections are important and I don’t take democracy lightly, but I’m tired of being hit over the head with it on a daily basis. Social media has become a barrage of insults, Willy Wonka pictures, and endless political articles, almost always from websites with a known bias (either left or right), and today I reached my breaking point.

I was accused of hate this evening for pointing out that it’s easy to dedicate 28 years of your life to community service* when you are worth 250 million dollars. (I have to assume that if you post a political picture you are asking people to comment on it. If that’s not the case then why would you post it?) That’s not a dig on wealth, just an observation. I’m sure there are millions of Americans who would love to donate 28 years of their life to various political and social causes, but the majority of us can’t do that because even one month of unpaid volunteerism might result in the loss of job, house, food, children, etc.

Regardless of politics, Romney’s commitment to public service and his religion should be commended, but I don’t think his doing those things makes him some sort of super-man. “That’s the kind of man he is” in honesty he’s the kind of man who can do those things because he can afford those opportunities. I’m not convinced that being a venture capitalist is somehow better than being a teacher (though it obviously pays a lot more).

Pointing out the problem I had with the picture, even while adding “Romney’s record of public service is admirable, but it’s not fair to compare him to an average person” still resulted in someone saying that only the following could be “gleaned” from my observation: “Charity is not charitable if you can afford it. Wow, what a desperate grasp to try and deny the good someone does.” Of course I never said that. I never denied that he gave to charity, or that charity from the super-rich doesn’t somehow count as charity. It most certainly does, I have a lot of respect for groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and people like Warren Buffet who are using their vast sums of money to improve the lives of others.

Rich people often do great things with their money. None of those groups are perfect of course, and I’m sure someone is going to pile on to my rotten evening by pointing out that the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation did something many of us would disagree with in the name of charity . I accept that no person or group will ever be perfect. There has only ever been one perfect person, and Jim Morrison has been dead for several decades now.**

While there’s a definite progressive streak running through Modern Paganism we aren’t a political monolith. I know a few Republican Pagans, even more Libertarian minded Pagans, and also some Green Party-type Pagans who have forsaken the two party system (I like them, they keep me honest), but the majority of us are probably Democrats, or at least will suck it up and vote that way. I’m one of those “suck it up and vote that way” types. I would prefer not to be a Democrat. I often find myself agreeing with Libertarians about a whole host of issues, and European-Style Socialists on a whole different set. Most Americans don’t fit into easy boxes and in my lifetime I’ve voted for Democratic, Republican, and Green Party candidates for President. While my obvious pro-Obama tendencies are showing tonight, I do my best to respect various views. I sometimes fail, but I at least try.

“Hate” is a strong word and is one I reserve only for special occasions. Being called a hater this evening has had me both fuming and near tears for the last few hours. I take my hate seriously, it’s a powerful emotion and not to be trifled with. I don’t agree with the current incarnation of Mitt Romney on nearly anything, but I don’t hate the guy. I never liked George W. Bush but I bet he would be interesting to talk to. “Hate” is an emotion reserved for terrorists and other murderers, politicians do stupid and hurtful things sometimes, but I don’t hate them for it. I chalk it up to ignorance and the corrupting influence of money in the system. Politics in America have become so divisive that instead of trying to improve things some simply wear the anger as a badge of honor.

One of my colleagues here over in the Catholic Channel recently wrote the following words about Obama:

Look, I loathe Obama as much as the next guy. I think he’s a baby hating, Kenya born, secret Muslim who holds our country in contempt. Oh, and Michelle is his “beard”. Every dispicable opinion you can have of the man I hold. I’ve compared him to Hilter and Herod and if he invited me to dinner I would decline for fear of how I’d react if I got within arm’s reach. No, I would never do grievous bodily harm to another human being but some smug mugs are just begging for a good slap. No sin in that.

On a daily basis I pray to Pan that I don’t become that. I’d rather hump the tree in my backyard than hold onto that much anger and hatred everyday. That kind of anger might fuel a person to a point, but eventually it just eats you up. I think I would be an intolerable ass if I lived with that much rage inside of me all the time. I just can’t fathom it.

If I have one wish this political season, it’s not for my candidate to win, but for civility to somehow reign over what’s left of the process. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean that they “hate.” A lot of people prefer “The Big Bang Theory” over “Community,” I don’t hate them for it. It’s disappointing for sure, but it doesn’t make them bad people. I have friends from different sides of the aisle and of various religious and political stripes and I disagree with a lot of them, but I don’t think their views necessarily make them stupid, Un-American, or evil. If we all agreed on everything there might be more harmony in the world, but it wouldn’t be as interesting.

Sorry for the intrusion of politics . . . .

*If you actually break the whole thing down, it’s a ridiculous statement. I don’t actually think he took 28 years of his life off and stopped earning a paycheck and working behind the scenes.

**Truthfully, Jim was kind of a jerk.

About Jason Mankey

Jason Mankey has been involved with Paganism for the last twenty years, and has spent the last ten of those years as a speaker, writer, and High Priest. Jason can often be found lecturing on the Pagan Festival circuit, so you might just bump into him. When not reading and researching Pagan history he likes to crank up the Led Zeppelin, do rituals in honor of Jim Morrison (of The Doors), and sing numerous praises to Pan, Dionysus, and Aphrodite. He lives in Sunnyvale CA with his wife Ari and two hyper-kinetic cats.

  • Elysia

    It’s depressing. I don’t think anyone should be called a hater when they are just trying to bring some rationality to a discussion. In this instance, my eyes bugged out when I read that Romney had been an unpaid intern for 8 years. No one in their right mind would be an unpaid intern for 8 YEARS – if they were, they shouldn’t be president because obviously they are not able to work their way up in their career. But that part is completely false. Snopes labelled the whole thing “mostly true” but not that little nugget. If that makes me a hater alongside you, so be it – but campaigns (and their supporters) should deal in truths, and when they don’t, they should be prepared to be called out on it. http://www.snopes.com/politics/romney/realmitt.asp …. oh, sorry for bringing more politics to your blog. I’ll stop now!

    • JasonMankey

      Nothing to apologize for, I kind of asked for it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/msbputnam Michael Putnam

    Thank you, Jason.I won’t state what side of the aisle I stand on (or if I’m even in the room) but your sentiments here are exactly what people need to hear nowadays. I hope that every American reads something with the same sentiment as this (if not this article). Again, thank you!

  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    You have election fatigue? Try seeing it from this angle.

    The USofA presidential elections are the biggest political event on the planet. I hear more about it that I do the UK elections, when they happen.

    Not only that, but there is probably more impact on my life from the US election than the UK ones.

    Also, Jim may have been a jerk, but he was the perfect jerk! ;)

  • Ywen DragonEye

    Oh, I doubt you’re a hater, just some folks can’t take it when others disagree or point out BS. I don’t hate Romney either, I don’t think he is a bad man, just sheltered, out of touch, and raised with a lot of bogus information about the world and society. That said – I certainly don’t want him to be the leader of the free world, nor do I want Ryan a heartbeat away from that position. And if folks think I’m “hating” when I call them on their nonsense, so be it.

    • Lēoht Sceadusawol

      I don’t want anyone to be the leader of the ‘Free World’.

  • Theresa

    You say the only problem you had with the picture was comparing him to the average person isn’t fair but you seem to be the one comparing. The picture doesn’t.

  • Anon

    Odd all these charities and the names attached. If they are truly good Christians would they not know Matthew 6:4 (from the American King James Version)
    “That your alms may be in secret: and your Father which sees in secret himself shall reward you openly.” They doth publicize too much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sage.blackthorn Sage Blackthorn

    The root of the problem is that the way we choose our leaders in America encourages people to run for public office who are very good at winning elections, but not necessarily good at being leaders who will take care of ALL their people’s needs.

    Those running are often not known by everyone who will be voting, so they are forced to brag about their accomplishments to make the case of why they would be the best leader. Bragging puff’s up a person’s ego, the very opposite of Humility which is essential for a good leader who places their people’s welfare ahead of their own. A good leader must be Wise. Wisdom often only comes to a person after a life-time of experience, and even then it’s not a certainty. Many of the people who run for office are relatively young, but even though The President must be at least 35 years old that is hardly old enough to have gained the life experience and wisdom to lead an entire nation. I know some people who are 50 and 60 years old who still have not acquired the virtue of Wisdom. Bravery helps to be a good leader, Humility helps, Compassion is a must, as is Self-Sacrifice and Perseverance, Honesty, and Honor. But Wisdom and Humility are absolutely essential.

  • DonnaB

    “If I have one wish this political season, it’s not for my candidate to win, but for civility to somehow reign over what’s left of the process.”

    This, a thousand times. I have made the mistake of commenting on a FB post from a beloved aunt a while back. I wasn’t booing or hissing, or saying which candidate I support. I just pointed out that the status started with “Let’s set stop all of the negative rhetoric and let the record speak for itself”, then proceeded to use a lot of negative rhetoric and interesting interpretations of easily verifiable “facts”. All I did was point out that most of the “facts” on the fact sheet were either not accurate or misrepresented, and provided a link about one specific bit of information that was being presented especially creatively, and that that post could itself be classified as “negative rhetoric” which made it ironic.

    Now, I didn’t get called out as a hater, but a couple of my aunt’s friends asked me questions like “are you really better off now than four years ago?” (the answer is “yes”, but to be fair during that time we’ve been transitioning from being a young family trying to get on our feet to one that’s more stable and established -if anyone ever really is. I hesitate to give any politician credit for that.), and my favorite “have you seen this youtube video? It’ll clear some things up.”. I refrained from answering because I could see it going down hill really quickly, and frankly I don’t feel like I owed anyone an explanation or political debate just because I commented on a public FB status.

    I agree with you that if someone makes a statement on a public forum like FB, I assume that they are inviting -perhaps even welcoming- commentary and/or debate. I mean, it’s not like people are only making vanity statements they expect everyone to like and agree with, and congratulate them for being super genius special snowflakes. That would just be crazy. I try, and sometimes fail utterly, not to act on the assumption that people really want conversation and are not just shouting into the void expecting applause and cheers. After all, middle school taught me what happens when one (ass)(u)(me)s something.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Taffy-Dugan/625236087 Taffy Dugan

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. I’d like to add that I sometimes agree with the Tea Party, too. Try to get an unbiased debate going and watch it crumble into insults with no one listening to each other. If you disagree in the tiniest bit with someone’s politics or try to point out an obvious bias, you are automatically the enemy and are treated with complete disdain.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=711717333 facebook-711717333

    My biggest problem is the lies. I was up at the VA today for an appointment with my doctor and I was talking to a fellow vet and he said that he believes everything Romney said in the debate, despite the fact that the fact checkers have been slamming him like the proverbial 90 lbs weakling at a professional wrestling match. When i responded with that, he replied that the fact checkers just have it wrong. He was also trying to tell me that Obama sued the government to prevent soldiers overseas from voting with absentee ballots. The actual case was suing the state of Ohio to allow all voters, not just military, to vote up to three days early. OH had apparently decided that it was too costly to let everyone vote early and restricted it to just military. I’ll tell you what I hate is the self imposed stupidity I see on the right where they are willing to believe any crack head idea that comes out of Bill O’Reliey’s, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh’s, etc…mouth without research or fact checking. If they said it…it is the gospel. I hear something about a candidate and if it is something that i think is important enough to sway me one way or the other and it doesn’t have the person on video saying it, I will look it up. That regardless of their party. When did being purposefully stupid become and American value? We all know that the media is owned by corporate America…why would you believe anything important that they have to say without double checking it? Hel…if they said the sky was blue, I think I would go out and double checkl it. If Fox news said the sky was paisley, we would be having arguments with the Fox news crown and Elizabeth Hasselbeck would be swearing up and down it Paisley and people thinking it it blue is some Socialist/Communist/Fascist conspiracy by the Obama campaign, I think everyone needs to wake up and do the research (if you aren’t already)…and that includes folks on the left too. If have had to call my fellow lefties on some BS in the past too. Then there’s the libertarians…grrrr

    Eric


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