This Is Not About Politics

I absolutely hate talking about politics. That’s not entirely true. Perhaps more accurately, I love debating about things, respectfully. What I hate is when respect is lost and there are hurt feelings, which is very easy to do (and I, personally, am often guilty of this). It’s sort of the same way I hate making fun of people. I was teased a lot in middle and high school, and I guess I’m a pretty sensitive dude. Nothing wrong with that, Dear Journal.

On the other side of the coin, let me also say that I’m not a big fan of the “ultra PC” approach to things. That is to say, I believe life is going to offend you sometimes and you better grow some thick skin in order to deal with it. Just because something offends you, doesn’t mean it should be outlawed. This is a thin line, or slippery slope, or whatever, and ultimately I think it needs to be approached from both sides to form a lasting solution. To put that last point more succinctly: I think people become both MORE and LESS sensitive. More where it comes to how they affect others. Less with how they are affected. Not really an easy thing to manage in today’s “self driven” culture.

That was my preamble to a story I wanted to relate. This is a story that involves the current political race, and attempts to illuminate why I am ready, so desperately, for this election cycle to end. A tender heart like mine just can’t take it.

This is NOT a story meant to display any particular leaning. If you must know, I’m most likely voting third party, for Gary Johnson. I simply like him the most, all things considered. I can understand a lot of the arguments for other folks, but I do not find myself currently swayed by them.

That being said, I recently observed a situation where a group of professionals were chatting. They were laughing about a story where a pair of coworkers had staked off in a bit of a “political cold war.” Apparently, one has an “I’m with her” mug and poster prominently on display in their cube at work. The other, in response, has a computer background that is prominently anti-Hillary. Neither of these individuals were involved in the conversation as it took place.

The professionals were commenting about how funny it was to observe how the one individual liked to needle the other individual with anti-Hillary slogans and pictures… attempting to elicit an emotional response. It was seen as “all in good fun,” and the group had a good chuckle before progressing to other topics.

Big deal, right? Yet my insides were roiling. This is the sort of thing that I hate most about the current election cycle, and has become all too common. First of all, I’m of the opinion that the workplace should remain politically neutral. Politics do not belong in the work place. It is unprofessional. It can create a hostile work environment. So, one could make the case that, the original individual, by displaying the mug and poster, was “asking for it” and I wouldn’t wholeheartedly disagree.

But, here’s the thing, that second person? That’s textbook bullying and harassment. Just because one person, say, pushes the envelope of professionalism, doesn’t give someone else the right to harass them about their proclivities. And it grinds my gears that everyone just sort of laughed it off and didn’t for a moment consider how WRONG it was.

Now, Dear Journal, I agree, it wasn’t a big thing, and it really didn’t even involve me. I was mostly eavesdropping, which is probably impolite. But it bothered me, and I guess I wanted to write about it.

By all means, vote for who you want, support who you want, but refrain from harassing anyone. Be respectful. Try not to suck.

I can’t wait for this election cycle to end.




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