Thursday, July 30, 2015

Friends, Lay Down Your Weapons

With the constant drone of the media covering the 2016 presidential race, it is easy to see why it is at the front of so many people's minds. That said, this post is not about whether Bernie or Hillary is the better candidate. I'm also not going to discuss the individual actions of the overt clowns crowding the Republican Primary arena. Right now, I am worried about one thing.

I am most concerned that the displays of hateful rhetoric between supporters of Hillary and Bernie will damage any chance of us electing a highly-effective president. People have lost friends over these intensely heated debates. They've quit attending Democratic club meetings over them. They've tuned out and turned away from politics because so many of us seem to have trouble arguing for our candidate without personally attacking supporters of the opposition.

I'm writing today to implore everyone to lay down your weapons and start talking to each other like adult and rational human beings. Calling your fellow activists "stupid," "bots," or "undercover Republican trolls" only shuts down the conversations that we so desperately need right now. It effectively marginalizes your friend's feelings and current understanding of the political world. As an acting representative of your candidate in that conversation, you are also showing others how they will be treated if they disagree with you.

Whichever candidate wins the nomination will likely take President Obama's place as scapegoat for the (in)actions of a purposefully stagnant Congress and hyper-conservative state legislatures. While our attention is decidedly focused on the presidential race, the Tea Party is focused on winning local and state elections. Here in Texas, they control our capitol and the actions of our governor.

Meanwhile, we are so up-in-arms over this primary that few are actively searching for or considering running as a candidate in any of the races lower on the ballot. It's like we've collectively fallen for the myth that the United States President is somehow omniscient and omnipotent. In reality, no candidate& can successfully represent our interests if they are constantly shut down by Congress, and the president has little power at all over actions by the states. You might not be aware, but the majority of laws passed each session happen in our state legislatures.

You want laws which enhance the safeguards for gender pay equity, support LGBT and minority rights, and invest necessary funding into our roads, schools, and health care? Focus on changing the partisan demographics of your state's legislature. Organize and find candidates who will actively represent your ideals, and then work hard to make sure they can win in 2016.

Because the president sure as heck isn't omniscient and/or omnipotent, regardless what the conservative pundits and shock-jocks say. Our next president will need all the help they can get, which won't happen if we shun the next generation of activists and/or disregard the experience and knowledge of our elders and peers.

For that reason, I ask that you join me in pledging the following:
"I pledge to promote my chosen candidate in a positive manner, without the use of slander and/or profanity, and to support my stances when necessary with sources that are as unbiased as possible. I pledge to listen as much as I speak, to moderate the tone of my speech, and to apologize and disengage from debate when things get out of control. I pledge to find peace of mind through community service, exhibiting our party's ideals in direct actions and strengthening our shared future. I pledge to focus on state and local politics, and to seek out high-quality candidates to run in the next election."
If you agree with this and wish to publicly take the pledge, please comment below and share this post with your friends. Thank you.

Your friend,

Michael Messer
Friendly Neighborhood Democrats

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