Stop the name calling! Bring on the ideas!

One thing I said I would not do this year is write a politically charged column giving my reasons as to whom I am voting for and the reasons why.

I did that in 2008.

My candidate lost.

That, coupled with the fact that when, a few years ago in my preview column, I predicted the Kalamazoo Wings would sweep the Reading Royals in three games of their Round One Kelly Cup playoff series only to see them lose, made me rethink giving my predictions or endorsements.

Honestly, I did stop making predictions, in print anyway.

I have not given up throwing my weight (for all that it is worth, and that is not much) behind a candidate or cause that I support. But I have decided not to do that in print anymore, either, or even in my daily life, and not because of my track record. My views belong to me. They are not better or worse than anyone else’s. They are mine.

I feel that when I wrote about why I supported John McCain over Barack Obama in 2008 that I did so in a manner that was respectful of not only both candidates, but the process as well. I was concerned about the lack of experience, plain and simple. And when McCain lost and Obama was inaugurated, I wrote a nice piece on that as well and expressed my hope and desire that the President have success. I might not have agreed with his policies, but I care about our country more.

It is hard to do that anymore. Yes, I said it. It is hard to be honest. I have a semi-thick skin. I can take insults, especially when they are justified, but these days, people turn to hate and ridicule instead of really talking about the problems in a constructive and mature way.

I consider myself a tolerant person. I wasn’t always that way, however, but I feel I have matured enough to be able to accept that other people have their reasons for believing what they do, even if it does not go along with my own personal beliefs. Tolerance is a funny thing. So many of us like to believe or profess we are tolerant of others and their feelings, ideas, religion, political leanings, etc.

Too many of us are tolerant … as long as you agree with me and my point of view. I gave up on that thinking long ago; because I was told that it was hard having a discussion with me because I felt too strongly about my views. That and I felt that I was the only one who was right.

There is nothing wrong with being passionate about something, which is a good quality to have. But we yell and scream as Americans for our political leaders to get along, work together and compromise, yet we do not always live that way in our daily lives. We like to protest, tease and taunt people who disagree with us instead of working to build a better understanding. How is that productive?

Someone told me this past week that they were tolerant of others and what really makes them mad is someone who isn’t. In almost the same breath, they berated political candidates for whom they disagree with and the people who support them for their views. And not in a friendly, tolerable tone, I might add, all because they have different values. The parties like to demonize the other side in order to scare people. Come on. We are smarter than that as Americans, aren’t we?

I don’t know what is wrong with our country and our world these days. I do not even know where to place blame, because there is enough of that to go around.

I was unemployed for nearly a year and a half (nearly 23 million are still unemployed), my home value has declined, gas prices are out of control, and I am now working for just under half of what I was making just two years ago.

We have problems in this country.

We need solutions.

Tell me what you are going to do, not what the other person can’t.

Stop the name calling and scare tactics and bring on the ideas.

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