I’m a bit of a news junkie; I guess there are worse addictions. So, as you can imagine every four years the elections is likened to what the Super Bowl is to a sports fanatic. I saw my therapist yesterday and she said she’s never seen so many patients who are overly passionate, even emotional over this election cycle. Now, I wasn’t really pontificating on politics but I briefly mentioned an encounter I had with some Twitter users.
People have become downright nasty on social media. If you are right, left, a member of a third party or simply an independent, I’ve studied all and noticed people can be quite hostile regarding their political beliefs. This is especially true for anyone voting for Trump. More than my brief stint as a former news producer, I’m a life long news junkie and have followed every election closely. I’ve been a registered independent for a very long time until just recently. I can say, I’ve never seen it this bad where one candidate and his supporters gets attacked by the media, news outlets, and of course via social media. It seems more people will attack Trump supporters this year for whatever their own personal reasons might be. Look no farther than Sam Pirozzolo, the Staten Island man who had artist Scott LoBaido create a custom, 12-foot high “T” sign, painted in the colors of the American flag and erected on his front lawn. This past Sunday night, July 31, around 1 a.m. someone decided to burn it.
This didn’t stop Pirozzolo and LoBaido from creating another one. This time, the “T” sign was even bigger. They called the sign more than simply a political statement but true art. What’s troubling is people don’t just attack your politics but cross the line of dangerous behavior, trampling on someone’s civil rights, even setting flames to someone’s personal property.
I wonder how far people will go? Some might blame candidates, but we have a moral responsibility to control ourselves and our own behavior. Regardless of who’s to blame, we need to hold ourselves accountable for our own actions. I recently had a couple of people who I thought were my friends decide to no longer associate with me merely because of who I’m voting for. You know who your true friends are when something as ridiculous as voicing your our own opinion results in judgments being made on our character or competency or ability to be a decent human being.
Another man who is Canadian publishes a podcast and a Twitter account supporting Trump, even though he can’t vote in our election. In a podcast he admitted to hiding his true identity because of how judgmental he felt his fellow Canadians were about any support for someone other their own Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who this man does not support.
I’ve heard similar stories about some business owners in gay communities who support Trump, but don’t want to share their feelings with friends and are hoping people don’t find out at work. I wonder why it feels as if you’re judged more if you’re a Republican than if you are a Democrat, at least that’s how I feel living near Los Angeles. Democrat strategist and lifelong Democrat having worked on numerous Democratic campaigns, Harlan Hill had push back from his own party. This of course due to Hill switching from being a Bernie Sanders supporter to supporting Trump.
I realize every election is like the Super Bowl. You go into a bar that’s supporting one team and not the other, and you best be quiet about your allegiance or there could very well be a fight. It’s sad and unfortunate that even employers might not hire you because you’re not on the “right” team. Employers can’t discriminate against your age, sex, ethnicity, religious affiliation and, yes, your political preference. Yet, these types of discriminatory hiring practices happen all the time because they’re next to impossible to actually prove.
My husband said something that has stuck with me, that we all have to be true to ourselves and to be ourselves. So, if friends can’t handle who you’re voting for, then they weren’t really your friends to begin with. And if employers can’t deal with your political preference, regardless if you’re qualified and already working there, just doing your job, then perhaps you should find another employer. But actually getting fired or not hired based upon who you’re voting for is beyond wrong. I even heard actor Scott Baio claim that his support for Trump might have cost him some career opportunities. He said it as he was laughing, not sure if it was actually true but being conservative in a liberal industry is tough.
The Bottom Line:
I would hope that in the 21st Century we can act like civil adults and agree to disagree. I would hope that in this day and age, we can get along as Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, and Independents.
I’m going to continue to be myself. I’m going to continue to use my voice and write and share my perspective. If people do not like it, they don’t have to stick around. Professionally, no employer should discriminate based upon your politics. I refuse to change into something someone else wants me to be to satisfy their opinion, viewpoint, and agenda. The content of my character, my work ethic, ability to be loyal and trustworthy in professional and personal life shouldn’t be dismissed because of my right to cast my vote for whom I choose.