My nails are bitten to the quick as I wait for the election season to end. Not necessarily because I'm anxious over the outcome (although I am), but because politics can bring out the worst in people. I dislike how politics can be so polarizing. I have strong political beliefs, but when it comes down to it, what I want for my friends is for them to support someone and to be able to say why they support that someone--without attacking the other candidate. Do I like it when people have the same political views as me? Well, sure! Who doesn't like similarities? But do I hate or disrespect someone who doesn't have the same political views as me? Absolutely not. As I said, so long as they can intelligently support themselves, I'm happy. I understand that there are times when a political discussion may get heated, and I'm okay with that, too. Within reason, though, as we recently established a no politics rule with Shane's parents because the heated discussions were ruining peaceful family time.
As I'm typing this, I am hoping that it doesn't cause anyone to stop reading my blog. I support Obama. And if you support McCain, I still love you and your blog, PROMISE! I live in a very small, conservative town. We have an Obama sign in our front yard, and I can tell you quite honestly, that we are the only people in this town with an Obama sign. My husband and I joke about how after we put our sign up, suddenly 20 McCain signs popped up in the streets surrounding ours. And that's okay. I'm glad to see that our neighbors take interest in politics, as well, because in past elections, we've been the only ones with a yard sign! We also joked about how long the sign would stay in our yard before someone stole it, but deep down, we were both hoping that nothing would happen to it.
Over the past week, I've noticed the sign is bent toward the grass when I return home. Every night, I straighten it up, and I assumed the wind was blowing it over, although I did mention to Shane that it was interesting how the sign for a local congressman was always straight. Until yesterday morning, when Luke and I were playing in the living room. The school bus stop is located at the end of our driveway, so the kids usually run through our yard and play in the mornings. Usually, Shane and I are both gone, but I've noticed this in the past when I've been home for various reasons. As we were sitting there, I heard a little voice scream, "I HATE OBAMA!!" I thought, No way. Surely I heard that wrong... but as I looked out the window, I saw a sweet little girl in a puffy pink coat screaming this as she ran across our yard and repeatedly jumped up and down on our sign. And whether it's a sign supporting Obama, McCain, or the Man on the Moon, I would hope a child wouldn't be driven to destroy it.
Destruction of my property aside, this sight turned my stomach. Do I care that this girl's parents obviously do not support the same political candidate? No, I don't. But what I do care about is that this girl's parents are saying things in front of her that would make her so crazed to say these words and carry out these actions. I am hoping beyond all hopes that her parents don't know what she's doing to our sign every morning, but I wish they knew the power of their words. Growing up, my parents had strong political views, and I certainly knew them. But I never knew of any wrong words toward the opposing party, at least not as a child. Did she mean her words? Oh, I'm sure she didn't, but should a little girl say she hates someone, someone she's never met? And please know that I realize this type of hatred isn't just limited to one political party, I would be hurt just as much to see a child screaming "I HATE MCCAIN!"
I was taught a lesson as a parent. Children are sponges. You can teach them to read and ride a bike, and you can also teach them to hate. And when I woke up this morning, our Obama sign had been stolen from our front yard. So much for freedom of speech.