Really, you’d fight over this?

Joyce Pemberton Columnist

Well, it’s on. I don’t know about you, but I’m over political season already.

Mud is being slung, names are being called and personal attacks are the flavor of the day. And that’s just in our families.

I know that some of you reading this love elections and all that comes with them. You get jazzed when you get to pound the stakes of political signs in your yard, proudly displaying the name of a person you will never meet and who has no idea you even exist. Yet you are willing to sacrifice your turf (home and otherwise) for the sake of a political statement. Good for you.

Maybe it’s me, but I just don’t get it. My heart hurts from watching family and friends draw deep lines in the sand, taking sides with politicians and issues that cause deep divides in relationships with people they’ve known a long time, perhaps all their lives.

It’s baffling.

Why would we let the issue of where someone goes to the bathroom become more important than the feelings of someone we love, who may have an opinion that is different from ours? Why would we waste perfectly good air arguing about that? Do you really think your shouting is going to change someone’s mind about that issue? Nope. The only thing you are going to accomplish with that argument is a very uncomfortable family reunion next summer.

We’ve forgotten how to respectfully disagree. And social media doesn’t help. There, we bravely hide behind political memes that we would most likely not have the nerve to share over polite dinner conversation.

And in my opinion, there are just too many political posts on Facebook these days. I don’t know about you, but I miss Facebook posts that share milestones like epic birthdays and “pets gone wild.” I miss seeing the posts of people traveling to places I can’t afford. And I never thought I would say this, but . . . I kinda miss seeing what everyone’s having for dinner.

It’s not that I don’t care about the issues of the day and what is at stake in our community and our world. And I’m not making light of the very serious issues we are facing. I have a very good understanding of what is going on, and I have some solid opinions and concerns of my own. But I have priorities in my life, and I’ve decided that I’m not going to let politics or the media adjust them to the point where I sacrifice relationships that are important to me to take a political stand that will be forgotten by this time next year.

I am hopeful, during this political season that we will all keep this in mind, that people are more important than issues and that there are so many other topics for conversations that will lift each other up and bring joy to our shared moments than political issues that divide us.

I don’t claim to be the smartest or wisest person on the block, but I do know this – no politician – no issue – is worth losing friends and family who share our lives and our blood. They are the ones who really know us, after all, and have loved us through our blunders and absurdities.

But more importantly, they know the secrets that could be used against us for blackmail if they are backed into a corner. And for me, no amount of political discourse is worth that possibility.