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Digital Engagement Pact

December 4, 2015

We demonize too much. All of us (OK, not all of us, some of you are really wonderful people, but enough of us). We replace the important with the petty.  I, for one, aim to stop.

Some call it Bumpersticker Politics or Mean Memes; all of them boil down to pettiness. Don’t get me wrong, there are important issues that should be discussed, but a single photo of a politician in a bad light, or a single thoughtless sentence, do not a full picture make.

Obama walks off Air Force One with coffee in his hand or doesn’t solute the military guards. Does that mean he doesn’t care about the military? Hey, maybe he doesn’t, but that photo doesn’t add up to that conclusion. Perhaps it’s the poster’s SYMBOL of his lack of care, but one man’s symbol is another man’s argument.

I think back to Michelle Obama saying, “This is the first time I’ve ever been proud of America.”  Truly, it makes “just say no” sound brilliant in comparison, but might it have been hyperbole? An unguarded thought?  I’m no fan of the Obamas, but that one sentence doesn’t make her an America-hater.  Attack her horrid School Lunch Program plan with substantive content, and you have something, but narrowing opinion down to a single photo or sentence?  Silliness.  Other examples are the idiots who think Rubio’s sound byte, “We need more welders and fewer philosophers” was anti-education or anything other than a pithy comment.

There are exceptions. “What difference does it make!” is, in my mind, fair game due to the context. If Clinton should somehow get the nomination (shudder-shudder), expect to hear that sentence ringing from the radio and television for months.

I’ve been guilty of it, I confess. In my head it’s an innocuous comment, and my liberal friends come unglued.  To them, though, it’s a manifesto, and it’s unworthy of me.

It’s difficult, to be sure. I like to laugh and many of the demonizations are funny as all get-out (Hillary for Prison, 2016… that’s hilarious). Memes are supposed to be pithy with a little bit of bite and a good meme can get me laughing at myself as well as others.

I’ve posted before that I agree with a few actions of our president. I admit I really don’t like the man, but ideolog or not, he’s a human being. Sometimes he gets something right; most of the times I disagree with him. I’m floored by how America just glosses over his past of dubious association and clear disdain for the traditional vision of America, but my focus should be on his actions and arguments, not his person.

Here’s my new year’s resolution early: No more bumpersticker political posts. No more demonizing a side (despite the invective of many of my liberal friends) or a person. This will be a challenging resolution if Hillary Clinton becomes president, because I have no respect for her in any shape or form. I dislike Obama, and completely disdain Clinton. I can’t even understand how she’s still a candidate, or not sporting a fashionable orange coverall.

That said, I’ll do my best. I self-identify as a solutionist and try to see the value in all sides of an argument. Democrats can have good ideas… sometimes.  And while I think Hillary is beatable, O’Malley would be a juggernaut (which is funny, because the Dems don’t see it), so we just might have a workable Dem in office if the new O-Man can win the nomination.

Will you join me? Substantive arguments, fine and dandy; personal or petty attacks, not cool.

Me for a more civil America.

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