Whether my guy won or lost will be decided by the time anyone but the editors read this. But as I am writing this, the decision of who will become president is still very much in limbo. It’s exciting, invigorating and just a tad bit terrifying to contemplate that this year’s election is a bit more up-in-the-air than any in my recent memory.
Everywhere I look, one person says that Obama’s got the election in the bag, while another is saying that Romney’s presidency is inevitable. By now, most people are bemoaning the length of election season, saying they are tired of the talk of politics and are glad the election’s going to be over in less than 24 hours. To this, I say that I’m a bit disappointed that it’s finally over.
Granted, I generally avoid TV that doesn’t come from a computer screen, sparing myself from the relentless onslaught of political attack ads that wear most people down. Mostly, my exposure to this election has been through the internet, news publications and my own eyes. I’ve seen or heard nearly every issue related to the presidency discussed in agonizing detail several dozen times over. Gaffes, goofs and political pandering have been plastered in large lettering across social media and news sites everywhere, and I must say that, frankly, it’s intoxicating.
Maybe I should feel guilty for this, but I enjoy seeing people argue over things like politics and religion. It can destroy friendships, sure, but it lets me see how they think and why they believe what they do. More importantly, it makes me think, too. I like periodically challenging my beliefs and while this happens gradually over time, election season takes this, condenses it into a few short months, and sticks an intravenous drip into your brain. There are countless opportunities to consider and reconsider your views on taxes, healthcare, abortion, marriage equality (I apologize to those of you who have developed nervous twitches in response to hearing these topics mentioned), et cetera.
Facebook has been a proverbial gold mine for this. I find myself straying into the comments section of news websites for a fix on the off chance my friends aren’t being especially productive with their vitriol and rhetoric. Often, I am astounded by how closed-minded people can be (admittedly on both sides of the spectrum), but these people are the ones who will benefit most from arguing.
Ordinarily, they keep to their respective spheres of ignorance, whether that is Fox News or MSNBC or whatever other ridiculously biased sources they care to frequent. However, once election season comes, they are forced into confrontation with other people who don’t share their points of view. However small the steps taken in their minds, they are forced to at least think about what they believe and why.
No matter how obstinate they may seem, somewhere deep down there are wheels turning and forcing them to ask themselves “why?” It’s happened to me more than once, even causing some major shifts in my own worldview, and I owe quite a bit of it to arguments I’ve had or seen play out. This contest between Obama and Romney is no exception. So please, next time you see an argument on the internet or in real life, see where it goes. Maybe put your own opinion out there. Ultimately, it can change people’s lives, not least of all your own.
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