Author: Kim Burningham

Dear Friends,

The election has nearly arrived. Thank heavens!

I suspect that you and I are alike--glad the election season is coming to a conclusion. Some parts of our election process are very helpful. Focus is placed on issues which need to be debated. The spotlight is aimed on our leaders and potential leaders; we get to know them better. Most importantly, we are able to express our feelings when we vote!

Other aspects of this “silly season” are distressing: the abundant negative television ads, the distortion of positions, the obfuscation. I am most troubled, however, by the hostility exhibited in the 2012 election, and believe some of us need to grow up: respect and seek to understand differences, not belittle and demean.

Some extremes are horrifying: the real Halloween nightmare. In my own community, some folks were informally chatting at a church meeting. The conversation—as is often the case—drifted to politics. “I am so proud of my grandchildren,” beamed one. “They wrote a letter to Obama and told them that they hated him.” Another responded, “I wish he’d die.”

It is hard for me to believe such an event actually took place; civilized people reacting in this way and encouraging it in their progeny!

Another example: in an eastern Utah town, anonymous pranksters created a mock hanging: “A dummy of Romney [was] sitting in a chair by a tree holding onto a red rope that goes over a tree branch and forms a noose around the neck of a dummy Obama.” (Salt Lake Tribune, October 28, 2012) Thank heavens some observers, including the mayor of the Orangeville town, was appalled. But some of these Utahns were apparently laughing. I hope you are as appalled as I am.

Certainly, we differ. Some of us support Governor Romney; others advocate for President Obama. I celebrate the fact that we can disagree, examine, and express our reasons. But when that disagreement takes the form of demeaning, hate, and lack of respect, I am embarrassed.
I am convinced, though I disagree on some points with both presidential candidates, both men seek to serve our country for its good. One is our current leader; the other could be a future leader. Both deserve our honest and kindly attention. Neither deserves vindictive responses. I am embarrassed by those who take the lower road.

They do, indeed, turn our election months into the silly season—more than silly, their actions are deplorable.

Happy, although somewhat disappointed, Halloween
Kim R. Burningham

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