28 Jul Donald Trump is Evil!
Donald Trump is Evil!
My Facebook feed is full of this message today. From pastors and teachers and dear sweet friends, I hear the same refrain: Trump will destroy America. He will probably destroy the world. He is a dangerous, rude, racist, fear monger who is quite possibly the worst person on the planet.
The only break in this rhetoric comes with a simple twist:
Hillary Clinton is Evil!
My Facebook feed is full of this message, too. (My own mother is fond of this type of post.) Hillary will destroy America. She will probably destroy the world. She is a dangerous, lying, self-serving murderer who is quite possibly the worst person on the planet.
How can these two things be true? Is this just the kind of person who runs for president? Maybe it’s a new requirement. Because if you’ve been listening to Fox News or conservative radio for the past 8 years, you know one other very simple truth:
Barack Obama is Evil!
He will (or at least he desperately wants to) destroy America. He will probably (or at least he’s been trying to) destroy the world. He is a dangerous Muslim Kenyan who hates freedom, wants your guns, and is dying to impose Sharia law on you and your NRA buddies. He is definitely the worst person on the planet.
If you live in the USA and are at all politically engaged, chances are you believe one or more of the above caricatures. If so, I have one obvious bit of news for you…
None of them are true.
They are fictions created and fed to you by someone else with a political agenda. Biased news sources spew this stuff out all day long. Fox News, MSNBC, Rush Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow. Pick your poison. These outlets are entertainment looking for ratings, not truth. And they thrive when they bring out the worst in all of us. When we are angry, scared, hateful, suspicious. Especially when we see the Devil in our political opponents and each other.
Now, I’m not going to point the finger at anyone (although I already pointed at you, Mom. Sorry about that.) But if your Facebook feed is filled with this kind of vitriol and inflammatory rubbish…if you find yourself in online political arguments on a regular basis…if you can’t resist sharing an unflattering photo of the candidate you hope loses…might I suggest…for the good of the country and your Facebook friends…that you simply stop doing it.
I can’t prove it, but I suspect these posts are not changing a single vote. At best, they are preaching to the choir. At worst, they are encouraging even louder, uglier counter posts from those who disagree with you.
And really, is there anyone in the country who doesn’t have their mind made up already on this upcoming election? Haven’t we all had enough? In Canada, the longest election in history lasted ten weeks. In Germany, elections last six weeks. In the U.K. they last four! But our loud opinionated game of “Who’s more Evil?” has been going on already for more than a year (not counting pre-positioning and book writing and advanced character assassination news stories), and there’s still more than three months left.
At least let’s stop the demonizing. And the relentless doom and gloom. I have millionaire friends who post as if they are one bread crust away from the poor house when the plain simple truth is…as much as they hate to admit it…they’re doing just fine. We all have so much to be thankful for. All slogans to the contrary: America is already pretty great.
Living at an Indian orphanage, I’ve been lucky to miss much of the recent noise. I didn’t watch a moment of either convention. I still don’t know who Hillary’s running mate is. I hear happy children out my window right now, and I get to work to make their lives a little bit nicer. It beats talking about Benghazi or the prospect of a Mexican border wall. At least it does for me.
What if we all posted something good about the candidate of our choice? What if we flooded Facebook with reasons to vote for our party’s champion rather than hurl more mud at his or her opponent? What if we brought some civility and kindness back to our country and shut off the voices who profit from all our anger? Crazy ideas, I know, but I’m about Trumped out. Over the Hillary. All of it. Anyone else?
To start things off, I’ve enlisted a few of my young friends here at the Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission to pose with some simple signs. These are not political statements or endorsements of any kind, just messages based on the Christian teachings they’ve grown up with. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love one another. Even: Love your enemies. As my mother often quotes: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent and praiseworthy—think about such things.”
So I say we do it. Doesn’t mean we can’t disagree. For the record, I have a $20 bet with my father that Hillary wins the election. He’s voting for Trump. That’s how Democracy works.
Now let’s just leave the Devil out of it.
For the record: Esther is my mother’s name.