I will say it again.
Enough! Enough! Enough!
I mean it!
Go to your room if you can’t speak nicely to others!
For all you Twitterheads who hide behind made-up not-so-clever handles and all you blog responders doing the same – enough already with the ugliness.
I’ve had it with each and every one of you.
Your insults are not even creative.
They’re not only mean; they’re demeaning.
You’re demeaning me as well as you because we are fellow human beings.
And I, for one, have had it with each and every one of you.
Shame on you!
In what universe is that kind of talk acceptable?
I really want to know.
What world do you inhabit where it is acceptable to speak such vitriol and violence?
And there have been death threats against Mrs. Obama as well.
This is not acceptable. And I do not care one whit about your free speech rights. Reality and facts matter. Your diatribes, unfortunately, matter too. They matter not because our opinions are important; rather, they matter because you are lobbing mini-WMD and like all WMD, they land where they will and do great and unforeseen damage.
Our president is not a Nazi. And you are not living under occupation. Trust me on this – you would know if you were – well, your family would – because you would be dead.
Mr. Romney is not a people-hating robot. He, like you, is a human being. He, like you, has wonderful and not-so-wonderful traits. Unlike you, however, he had the guts to enter the political arena and actually apply for the job of president instead of calling out from the cheap seats.*
The women who loved and married and have made a life with these men are not antichrists, demonic, nor do they suck the air out of your lungs simply because they draw breath on the same planet with you. They are people.
Disagree with their ideas, their political stances? Sure. Even passionately.
But please trust me on this: you reveal far more about yourselves than you ever will about them with the things you say. Comments about a female public figure’s appearance, body type, clothing, and so forth, reveal a deep-rooted sexism. (Think not? When was the last time you wondered how much Paul Ryan’s tie cost?) And when it comes to some of the things said about Mrs. Obama, the racism is overt. As a woman, I can assure you fellows that there is not one single woman on the planet who cares even a little bit about your preference for certain types of butts. Not one. So do us all a favor and keep it to yourselves, won’t you?
And maybe your family and friends agree with you. Maybe. Or maybe at least some of them are just too polite or too frightened to tell you what they really think. Here’s the thing: racism isn’t just wrong; it’s foolish. It prevents you from seeing the good and worth and contributions of people who can actually make your life better. It causes you to be afraid when there is no cause to be. It blinds you to reality. And it turns you into a bully. And nobody wants to hang out with a bully. Nobody – not even other bullies.
Finally, if you dump out so much outrage over nonsense (and yes, what Mrs. Obama or Mrs. Romney wear and how they look in it, disagreeing with the fact that they both love their husbands and have the job of giving them public tribute, or that their story is not your story, is nonsense), what will you have left for the things that really and truly matter? And we have serious issues facing us that really matter – things like whether our foreign policy should be driven by an us-first worldview or not; whether drone strikes that kill civilians can continue while we claim to be a just and good society; whether using more than our fair share of the world’s resources is something we can change (we already know we should); whether Mr. Obama’s vision of government or Mr. Romney’s makes the most sense for economic survival; whether we can come together as a nation over anything other than devastating crisis?
So here’s a thought: before you put fingers to keyboard, pause for just a moment and pretend that everything you write will appear in your own local newspaper with your picture beside it and that your children and family and co-workers and fellow church members (not to mention God, who already knows what you’re up to anyway) will all see it and know it was you doing the talking. Will you be proud of what you said? Will you stand by it? Or will you have to explain it away, “Daddy was jut blowing off steam, honey. He didn’t really want Mrs. Romney to die. He doesn’t really hate black people.”
As a fellow human being, your hatred shames me and your anonymity disgusts me.
*Just so we’re clear: yes, that was an insult. I am not saying that we cannot or should not engage in fierce and even strident debate. Demonization of our opposition, however, is (1) ridiculous (that is, it makes the one doing it look like an idiot); (2) a waste of time and energy; (3) demeaning to our public discourse; and (4) destructive of our civilization. Yes – it’s destructive. Every word we speak has consequence. Do you really think that Michelle Obama and Ann Romney aren’t human beings with feelings? Ann Romney has MS. Do you think the stress of the campaign, let alone the stress of your hurtful and frightening remarks has no impact on her and those who love her? And Michelle Obama still has two young children at home. Do you think they don’t hear what you say? Or wonder why people hate the mother they love so much? Do you think your children would be proud of you for what you’re saying? Or would they be frightened that Mommy or Daddy could be so violent against a stranger? And perhaps even worry about what you might do to them if you get mad? Words matter.