In Woodbury, Forming Informed Political Opinions

I’m hopeful that we can look past the pomposity of political speech. Feel free to speak our minds. Ask our questions. Seek truth. And cast our votes.

Lawn signs, attack ads, political debates and polls that either elevate or devastate all hopes of vindication.

The political season can get extremely annoying.

It’s difficult to avoid breathing the foul-smell of politically polluted air. But I’m suggesting that you inhale a lung full. Instead of being turned-off and tuned out, go beyond allowing your opinions to be shaped by personalities and pundits.

Nov. 6 is Election Day. And it’s too important to ignore.

I’ve heard people say that they don’t like hyperbolic political television commercials. I agree. I mean, seriously, does anyone featured in fuzzy black and white footage with Halloween horror movie music playing in the background really want to destroy America? Or kick puppies? I doubt it. But this is nothing new.

Politicians have been accusing their opponents of vile intentions since the beginning of the republic.

We’re smart enough to separate fact from fiction. That is, if we bother to get our facts from sources other than TV commercials and six o’clock sound bites.

Others say, “I don’t want to hear anyone’s political opinion.” Their Facebook status begs “friends” not to post anything political. But why? Aren’t they our friends? Don’t we care about what they think and why they think it? Or are we merely annoyed that someone would post an opinion that differs from our own?

People are supposed to be able to disagree in this country. Right?

Listen to George Washington, who said, “It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn.” (Letter to the Legislature of Pennsylvania, Sept. 5, 1789)

That’s heavy-duty. We are called on to figure out what kind of city, county, state and country we want to live in. It’s not helpful to bury our heads in the sand, avoiding political discourse because it makes us uncomfortable. Although it would be nice if “friends” posted their opinions with as much grace and tact as they say they desire from our politicians.

Listening to the seemingly endless political rhetoric may make you want to spear your cochlea with your dinner fork and fling it at your TV set. But voting is our privilege and responsibility. I’m hopeful that we can look past the pomposity of political speech. Feel free to speak our minds. Ask our questions. Seek truth. And cast our votes.

Take a deep breath folks. Election day will soon be over. Then all those dreadful attack ads will end and we can go back to enjoying Discount Double Check commercials or the ones with those funny E*Trade babies.


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