Sunday, October 21, 2012

Election Advice From John Wesley

The graphic I found on Facebook,
which drew my attention to this Wesley quote.

Election season is in full swing. Considering how much election "junk" was in my mail today, I think it's safe to say it's an extremely contentious, polarizing election.

Unfortunately, the passion is not just limited to the presidential campaign. It seems like EVERY race I've encountered this fall is full of people willing to share their opinions in some questionable ways.

Twenty years ago, I was idealistic. I was voting, campaigning and covering (as a political science student and as a student journalist - not at the same time of course), my first presidential election.

I remember the excitement, the intrigue and the electric nature of those events. It was awesome. I campaigned at some things, covered others and learned from every experience.

I was able to hear and experience rallies for George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Dan Quayle in person. (I was sick for the Al Gore event.)  I covered the Bush event, as a student journalist, along side the national media.

As a political science student, I campaigned for both democrats and republicans. In my world, and in those smaller campaigns, the party didn't matter, it was the candidate - and what they stood for - that was most important.

I also remember how, in both campaigns, we treated the "opposing team" with respect and dignity. We may have disagreed at times, but we were still friends. In fact, after one rally, I'm pretty sure we all went out for pizza together.

Now, I'm finding myself disillusioned with the new face of politics. It seems as if we've given up respect for rants. The division is wide and at times, quite painful. One only has to view updates on Facebook, or tweets from Twitter to see this in action.

Still, regardless of my feelings, I'll vote in the election - the words of my professors ring in my head. It's important to vote - It's my civic duty and my right, and something I should NEVER take for granted.

But as Nov. 6 draws near, I also have the wise words of John Wesley (from his journal, Oct. 6, 1774), ringing in my head.

During the remaining days of this election season, I'll "speak no evil of the person [I] voted against," and I'll also make an effort to make sure my "spirits [are] not sharpened against those that voted on the other side."

I guess, my hope is others will do the same. Remember, life will continue after Nov. 6 - regardless of who wins the election.

What the journal page looked like.

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