In an election year, talking about politics often gets ugly.
Just last week, a spokesman for Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) wrote a post on Facebook that included this gem:
Let’s hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators who won’t abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector.
Advocating an acid attack -- even if he's writing figuratively, which I'm sure he is -- goes so far over the line, I don't even know where to begin. But it's certainly not the only example of inappropriate online behavior in the political sphere.
Both on the web and on cable news networks, political pundits regularly go for the jugular. Sadly, I've gotten accustomed to seeing a regular stream of negativity in the feed I've set up on Twitter specifically for politicians, pundits, and political spokespersons. But when a mom gets involved in an online political war of words, I still get a knot in my stomach.
Several of my blogging friends are passionate about politics, and unafraid to make their opinions known on their blogs and other social networking sites. Most of them manage to make their points without putting others down in the process -- but more and more, I'm seeing mothers get caught up in the fray of online political battles. Things are written that hurt others' feelings, and can't be taken back. And in the end, neither side emerges looking good.
Why hold moms to a higher standard when it comes to political discourse? Mainly because we are supposed to be raising our children to take the high road, to refrain from insults and cheap shots, to treat others with respect. What does it say about us if we can't practice what we preach? If anyone has an opportunity to prove to the world that politics can be discussed and opinions aired without resorting to ugliness, it's moms. We have an opportunity to set a higher standard when it comes to talking politics, and with our children watching, it's in our best interest to hold ourselves to that standard.
Political discussion may get dirty in an election year, but that doesn't mean moms have to stoop to that level. Many of you have left thoughtful, well-reasoned comments on our political posts here on The Stir that manage to make a point without attacking those who disagree. As a writer, I notice and appreciate your efforts. And I'll be honest -- I'm far more likely to take what you say to heart than the comments left by those of you who seem intent on making others feel bad if they disagree with your points.
This week, we're asking our political bloggers to give us their thoughts on how mothers can come together and talk about politics and issues of national importance, without resorting to putting each other down and name calling. Do you think it's possible? Do you believe mothers are uniquely positioned to make a difference in this realm?
Tell me what you think in the comments.
Image via szpako/Flickr