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Column: Today is the day

Posted: November 5, 2018 3:56 p.m.
Updated: November 6, 2018 1:00 a.m.

For what it’s worth, today is the big day. Election day. A moment for major change, a repudiation of an evil direction and intent or a confirmation that God, or someone, is on our side, depending on your favorite color.

We’re now creeping into the halfway point, for better or for worse, of our nation’s 45th presidency. Has it only been two years since he was elected? Because we’ve lived through several eternities of meltdowns and crying jags, pretty much from all sides of the spectrum, since the day after the election.

Somehow, we have become, that place R. Lee Ermey once called “Namby Pamby Land.” No one can so much as blow their nose without someone else virulently protesting that the act of clearing sinus passages is offensive and insensitive to mucus.

Indeed, entire online campaigns have started over less.

I, like many, get a little tired of being screamed at, directly or otherwise. I decided a long time ago I won’t tolerate some frothing, spittle-flecked moron shrieking accusations at me because I happen to disagree on some point of thought. You want to convince me, let’s talk -- I can virtually guarantee that we will find we have a lot more in common than not. But do not attempt to preach, scream, shame, or otherwise engage me with anything other than logic, reason and some semblance of decorum. Also, a couple of good jokes wouldn’t hurt.

I’m interested in reason, not passion. Passion is killing us.

Fortunately, today is the day when so many of us who talk so passionately about how passionate they are about passion, or some such, can actually channel said passion into positive action. You know, go out and vote. What a concept!

For those who insist on remaining passionate, I would give the following pieces of advice to turn that passion into useful dialogue rather than yet more spittle-flecked histrionics.

1. Don’t be a jackass. Recognize that we all have a right to our opinions and beliefs – even those we find utterly odious, ignorant and/or destructive. If your argument consists of lies, personal attacks, slogans, memes, and other marinated bits of regurgitated, unoriginal party line, our conversation is going to be pretty brief.

If I happen to say something with which you disagree, the best response is not a histrionic, caterwauling screed; a simple question such as “what exactly do you mean by that” or an even more specific “why do you believe that” will be far more effective. And, you might learn something.

But whatever else you do, don’t get in my face -- that just won’t end well.

2. Think. By that I mean get outside your own little bubble. Try to vet your information and try to find good information. Read widely -- social media and one television channel is no way to do either. If you can’t successfully argue my point of view, nor I yours, it not only means we don’t understand each other -- it means we probably didn’t even try.

Trying to understand the other side is not a sin; blind adherence to dogma is.

3. Don’t lose your sense of humor. Just because you don’t find something funny doesn’t mean it’s not. Humor really isn’t meant to entertain so much as it is meant to expose, enlighten and inform. Besides, you better learn to laugh at yourself, because others are already doing it for you.

4. Understand that nothing, I mean nothing, in this world is free. Everything does, in fact, have a price. Everything.

5. Be kind.

6. If you can’t be kind, at least be civil.

7. If you can’t be civil, be silent.

8. If you can’t be silent, be gone.

9. If you won’t be kind, can’t be civil, refuse to be silent and won’t go away, be advised that you will very likely be removed.

10. Refer to rule number one.

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