I thoroughly enjoyed the preliminary reports last night for the Democratic Convention. The atmosphere was festive; there was palpable enthusiasm with the talking heads and their guests. I noted to my wife that it was like the beginning of a football game and I feigned a litany of cheers: Go team, go! Rah, rah, rah! Kick those Republicans’ ass!
And, it is true that there is an ego dimension of this “horse-race” (to switch metaphors) and I want my pony to win. There is just a basic human pleasure that comes from being on the winning side. And, I emphasize that this element is here with me—I WANT MY PONY TO WIN!
But it is about so much more than childish pleasures. And it is so important that we view the issues and the candidates with as much objectivity as we can muster up, realizing that ultimately none of us is “objective.” But, we can certainly be aware of immature dimensions to our political sensitivities and we can certainly remember that the “other side” is human also. We must avoid the temptation to demonize the other side.
And, if we catch ourselves too wrapped up in our passions that we literally hate the opponent or his cohorts, then we should be given pause. There is no room for hatred. If we hate the opponent, then we have an issue and we are taking this matter way too personally and probably make the same mistake in other areas of our life.
And, there are politicians and media superstars who fan the flames of this hatred. They know that many, many people do not vote on the basis of reason but on the basis of emotions. And if hatred, scorn, and contempt can be focused on the opponent it will always galvanize a huge section of the electorate.