Wednesday, November 07, 2012

A Canadian Perspective - From The Dark Side

I have awakened from my kool-aid days of head-over-heels political love for Barack Hussein Obama, into a foray that's taken me to the Dark Side: that of Republican supporter.

Disclaimer: I am Canadian. I know that. I know my opinion counts as much in the US political process as my railing against freezing temperatures in winter. I know that my support of a candidate whose leadership does not directly affect me means very little to those people who have taken pleasure in attacking me for my views.

But I have opinions, I am invested in other ways which are of no consequence to those who do not know me, and I am not the kind of person to think what I do without expressing my thoughts or opinions just because they aren't the popular ones.

I was all-out for Obama in 2008. I bought into the package he was selling. I even believed he was delivering; until I realized that he was - and is - not.

My "awakening" came when I began to open my eyes to the shoddy treatment of Israel from this administration. Israel is a big deal to me. She is a country I have visited, a beautiful, fragile, strong, spiritual, significant country whose very existence is dependent upon her allies. And up until 2008, the USA was a very strong, reliable ally of Israel.

But then Barack Obama came into power and began to push his agenda. He sympathizes with Palestine in the struggle for that territory. He visited the Middle East during his presidency's first term, visiting Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia - and he skipped Israel. He chastised Prime Minister Netanyahu for wanting to strengthen the country, and he subsequently snubbed the Prime Minister on various occasions. Add to that the fact that the president continues to deny Iran's ever-increasing development of nuclear weapons, which it has vowed to use against Israel - and believes that sanctions alone will hold back the nuclear attack.

I awoke. I began to realize that a president who has raised the national debt by 6 trillion dollars - more in 4 years than his predecessor did in 8 years - and who has presided over a country whose unemployment rate has (officially) remained at 8% or higher could not be someone the country would want to re-elect. After all, the economy is a huge issue in every election. And he has shown himself to be utterly incapable of keeping the country running without economic strife.

Then came Benghazi. A dangerous town in the most dangerous countries in the Middle East, where the U.S. ambassador and 3 soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2012 - the 11th anniversary of the deadly 9/11 attack on the USA. For 2 weeks, this president declared the attack to be the result of a Libyan protest to a video posted on YouTube (because we all know Libyan terrorists pay deep attention to YouTube), refusing to characterize it as a terrorist attack. He then did so, but in a presidential debate, made the false claim that he had referred to it as a terrorist attack. The debate was highly denounced by those who could plainly see that the moderator had overstepped her role when she argued against the challenger in favor of the incorrect stance held by the president.

It continues to emerge as a story of an administration cover-up, as CBS News released a previously withheld snippet of an interview with Obama where he did NOT answer in the affirmative to the question of whether Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Mainstream Media has obviously covered up for this president and has skewed the public's knowledge (the public that does not continuously ask questions and demand truth, that is).

I could no longer even pretend to support this presidency, but more, I expressed my hopes that the American public would not only demand change, but affect it with their votes.

In being so vocal - mostly on Twitter, but also on Facebook - I have been attacked, demeaned, insulted, accused (the oh-so-specious arguments against me that include my not only being a bully but supporting one, and shame on me, after all, I am "supposed to be" an anti-bullying advocate - these people have absolutely NO idea of what bullying is and it shows in their ignorant finger-pointing)....and put down in pretty much every way a person can be.

I have stood my ground against the vitriol because I know how I have conducted myself; I have been critical of the president using facts, articles, his record, and my own debating skills (which are honed). I have been articulate, I have not used swear words, I have not foisted my opinion on anyone else, I have simply stated my position and given evidence as to why I hold it.

Others have not been as courteous. There have been the passive-aggressive postings (which I have utterly ignored, they're not worth my time), the outright in-your-face attacks, and the profanity which I have carefully gone out of my way to refrain from using.

And I've had to ask why. What did I do to these people, personally, for them to attack me (or my candidate) personally? Whether they just like to argue, or felt they were right (without feeling the need to present their positions as I had done), or just didn't like me, I don't know. 

But then came election night. And as the evening wore on, and things began to look less and less promising for my party, I began to see an ugly side of social media that had not been unleashed to date. (Note: I joined Twitter in 2008, during the election campaigns of Obama and McCain, and was firmly in the Obama camp - I saw vitriol but followed more like-minded people at the time than not)

I have seen gloating and insults thrown at not only my candidate but at the party he represents. I have seen misquotes, misleading statements, and assertions made against those in the Republican Party that can only be described as vile.

I get that I support the unpopular side. I am learning every day, more and more about this party that I support, and I am seeing that this is the norm, not the exception. 

I also get (very keenly due to my field of expertise) that social media is a place where people don't realize how they self-represent. It is dismaying to me, because if these are the adults, what are we showing our youth? What is being modeled for those kids we are trying to save from social media discord, cyberbullying, and plain old "mean" behavior? If these adults were saying these things in front of their children (or, if they are childless, in front of children in general), they would probably tone down the vitriol, definitely clean up the language, and perhaps think twice about the impressions they are giving.

But I have examined my self tonight. And I can say - and will probably be called a liar by those who choose to think the worst of me anyway - with every fiber of my being, that had my candidate been declared the winner of tonight's contest, I would NOT have gloated. I would have congratulated the other side for a hard-fought campaign, stated my thrill (yes, I'd have been "allowed") over my guy's win, and my hope for a country so deeply and tragically divided to begin to find their way together. I would have been gracious - it is something I strive to do on a daily basis - but I have not seen the same tonight from those against my views and my party. The smattering of gracious postings are lost in the mob of crow-serving gloaters.

I have largely stayed off Twitter because I have no desire to be the scapegoat. I have no faith in those who have challenged me in antagonistic manner when they felt I was wrong to now be compassionate in the wake of their being proven that I was (I hope you see the tongue-in-cheek there). 

And I have no desire to get online and state my dismay that the country I call a 2nd home, the country in which loved ones reside and the country which is our closest neighbor and ally in this world is at the mercy of this president for 4 more hard years of failure, and fast approaching ruin. I won't do that because it will look like sour grapes (it is not - I am not alone in my thoughts on this, and nothing I say will make anyone believe that). I won't do that because I will just be opening myself to more ridicule and attack, and I have no desire to put myself in the circle while those who questioned my involvement in this race are now gloating that the candidate they didn't think they had any right to support is declared the winner.

So congratulations to my American friends whose candidate won. And hugs to my American friends who are mourning this tragedy tonight. I wish them all good luck in the days to come. Aside from my own fairly informed opinion, world-renowned experts are predicting a fiscal cliff over which your country is about to topple and I am standing with you in solidarity against the hardships to come.

But Twitter is not the place for me now. And the hockey lockout makes it easier to stay away, as it is the main reason I have stuck with Twitter for the past 3 years.

Some will judge me a coward, running away with my tail between my legs. Say or think what you will. You always judged me unfairly and made no secret of what you felt toward me and my political leanings anyway. Why should today be different?

Others will understand that the cesspool of this environment is not the place to vent my frustration with America's very poor choice of leader, and that I prefer to keep my post-mortem to those I speak to in person, or in other venues. 

But think about the images you project when you attack others on social media. Think about the impact, the consequences of your words on others.  I give full workshops on this topic, and point out the very examples I have culled from your posts (don't worry, I blur your names and pictures) as examples of negative social media behavior. Adults don't realize the consequences of their digital footprints. I can only hope they are raising their children (if they are parents) to "do as I say, not as I do" - or in this case, "do as I say, not as I post".

1 comment:

Mandy said...

haha precisely what I said in my other comment... you're articulate and I haven't seen you swear ever.