Making the rounds on FB today is the "How I Feel Picking the Next President" image that shows different bags of disgusting-flavored Lays potato chips.
I am simultaneously amused and disturbed by how many friends have shared this image, since it seems to resonate with folks no matter what their political affiliation.
The Democrats aren't happy with their candidates.
Lord knows the Republicans aren't happy with their candidates, either.
Independents get to be doubly disgusted.
The only folks escaping complete disappointment would seem to be the libertarians (both big and little L), who by now are pretty much inured to the idea of seeing the American political process circle faster and faster as it heads down the drain.
We've seen better days, here in America. We're got some problems these days, and some serious disagreement on how to address them. Fortunately, I don't think any of those problems are insurmountable...
... unless we elect leaders that profit from exploiting those disagreements and divisions.
Understand this, though: they can only do that if you let them.
My wife's a registered Republican, and she genuinely cares for the future of our country. It makes me furious when I see Democrat cheerleaders talking about how all Republicans are racist, misogynist, stupid, and vile. (Hint: if you're going to explain to me that you can accuse the Republican party of being all that, but not imply anything about my wife, then you're part of the problem, bucko.)
I've got friends who are Democrats, and they genuinely care for the future of our country. It torques me off to no end when I see Republican cheerleaders talking about how all Democrats are ignorant, deceitful, delusional, and vile. (Hint: see above hint.)
Not to mention the Libertarians, who are disdained by both the Democrats and the Republicans, because we don't know where roads come from, or something. But, hey, news flash - we care about the future of the country, too.
If you're one of those folks that think that Fox News, or the Huffington Post, or the Washington Post, or the New York Times or CNN or Breitbart or Mother Jones or Red State or... whoever is the font of all evil, then man (or lady, or whatever pronoun you prefer).... you are part of the problem.
You're trying to make excuses in your head, now. "But, but, but..." Trust me, I know. I've been there.
DON'T DO THAT.
I know, you're a little scared. The advice is the same.
DON'T DO THAT.
Don't give in to the fear.
Here's the truth: the guy that you know at work, at church, at your social club? The one that you don't agree with on politics at all? That makes you see red every time he talks about how it's all the fault of those racists, those freeloaders, those "other people"?
He's a little scared, too.
You're not all that different, really. You're both worried. You're both concerned. Not just about yourself, but about your fellow citizen as well. You both want the best for each other, really.
You'd both rather, just, you know, get on with life than have to worry about who's going to be Chief Doofus of the Free World next year.
Just... you know, keep that in mind.
This time next year, you'll either be part of The Establishment, or you'll be a part of the Loyal Opposition. Right now, you don't really know which group you'll end up in. Might be one; might be the other.
YOU. DON'T. KNOW.
What you DO know is that a year from now, you and your neighbor will still get along, because... well, neighbors. You'll still get together for a beer after you're done mowing the yard, or your kids win (or lose) the local baseball championship.
What you DO know is that a year from now, you and your coworker will still be working together. You'll still feel bad for them when they tell you about their latest problems and worries. You'll still get together and curse about the devil-spawned end-user, and how you wish people would just think before they did something, right?
What you DO know is that a year from now, you'll still be in church with that fellow who had some ideas about how the country should be run that seemed odd to you. He'll still come to you and ask you to pray for his brother, because cancer sucks. And you'll say yeah, and when you get home, you'll break down and cry, because your mom fought that black beast and lost, and who the hell cares what his politics are when he's going through that particular patch of misery.
All of which is to say: your brother is not your enemy, dude.
Your sister is not your enemy, girl.
We are all in this together, we are all searching for solutions together, and if you hear anybody - anybody, on any side - telling you that your brother or sister doesn't deserve to be listened to because THEY ARE THE PROBLEM...
... then you should back away slowly, and understand where the REAL problem is.