My Fellow Democrats: We Must Not Become Them

No one with a Facebook account and half an interest in American politics is able to avoid seeing conservative ire directed toward our president. As long as there is a GOP-based Facebook group discussing President Obama, attacks are sure to follow.

For instance, this was a comment replying to one member in a conservative group who suggested that the most rampant criticism of our president is racially motivated because he is black.

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Surely that attack had nothing to do with Obama’s race, right? Or how about this one, in which all of the reasons to hate Obama were discussed.

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Or this one, which discussed the GOP’s favorite new film, “13 Hours.”

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There is no proof that any of the things these comments imply about our president or Hillary Clinton are true. These are baseless attacks and even outright lies. We’ve grown accustomed to these ridiculous attacks from the right. We expect it. Thank goodness, we say, that we are better than that.

Even the GOP candidates have fallen into this trap. The GOP debates in the past year looked more like schoolyard bully fights than a presidential debate. I was so proud of the Democratic candidates who stood next to one another on stage debating policies, experience, and their individual accomplishments. They looked and sounded like professional grown-ups and like presidential candidates.

So imagine my surprise when Facebook groups began popping up that included only Hillary or Bernie supporters, and I found much the same kind of attacks.

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When did baseless lies and name-calling become our norm? When did we stop discussing policy and begin using speculation about candidate’s personal lives as a reason to support or not support them?

When did GOP tactics become our norm?

We cannot watch our own party implode as we are seeing with the GOP. We cannot allow this tendency to bash other candidates with unfounded speculation to infiltrate our conversations. I cannot bear to watch, in 2020 or 2024, a Democratic candidate hold a rally like Donald Trump’s in which policies and realistic goals are never mentioned because the candidate’s supporters are more interested in hearing the candidate trash everyone else.

Discuss the differences between the candidates’ policies. Talk about the accomplishments candidates have made in the past that make you confident you’ve chosen the best woman or man as your chosen pick. Talk about the scandals that make you uneasy about the other candidates, but do your research first to be sure your belief in those scandals is real. “She’s a bitch” and “he’s a pervert” should not be part of our political conversation.

Please, don’t become them.


Featured image via Flikr by Jonathon Colman