I’ve watched news stories that are not even remotely about politics turn into political fistfights on television station and newspaper Facebook pages. I’ve seen comments on a blog post about coupons become a laundry list of what’s wrong with Hillary Clinton.
I’ve felt my blood boiling as I saw my own words twisted into a politically charged skirmish and I’ve bitten my tongue.
I’ve leaned back, taken a few deep breaths and reminded myself that people see what they want to see.
This is the world we live in. Things entirely unrelated to politics still become jabs at Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. The great majority of us are assuming everyone’s heads are in the political game. We’re three weeks ahead of the most heated presidential election of our lives – how could we be thinking or talking about anything else?
But we can and we are.
I’m thinking about the people I love. I’m thinking about how I’ll spend my next weekend and when I might see my friends who live far away again. I’m thinking about what I’ll cook for dinner and where I’ll get my next story idea. I’m thinking about what I can do on a small scale to help make Greenville a better community. I’m wishing I was at the beach and dreaming of a nice, long hike through fall colors.
To think that I’d reserve valuable space in mind for petty politics where I could fit poems or books or song lyrics to terrible early-2000s pop songs is ridiculous.
I’ve never wanted to change anyone’s mind when it comes to politics. If I ever ask(ed) you questions about your preferred presidential candidate, it’s because you were open with me and I wanted to learn more. It’s because I know you’ve given your decision serious thought and I believe there’s value in the opinions of someone I respect.
But I don’t actually care which box you’ll check on the ballot.
I care that you’re kind. I care that you’re happy and healthy. I care that you have all of the things you need and some of the things that you want.
None of these things is changed by which name you choose on Nov. 8.