The 2016 Election Challenge I Really Hope You’ll Take!

So this questionnaire crossed my news feed today. And what with the presidential elections being soooooo close, I thought I’d see which candidate seemed most appropriate for me. I was really surprised to see who my candidate was. the last person I thought I would agree with most would be old Bernie Sanders!

Yup! I know, that’s exactly what you thought!

*WHAT!?!?!? you mean that crazy old guy who can’t comb his hair and looks like there’s no possible way he’d survive the election cycle, let alone a four year term?*

I know, right!? I wouldn’t have guessed. My second candidate was Hilary Clinton. Which brings me to my next point:

I can’t share this with my family or close friends

No… Really…

I’m 98% sure that, even though my family are wonderful people, they would really want to disown me knowing that my stance agrees mostly with the main democratic candidates (as if Bernie Sanders is going to make it out of the primaries anyway). I’m not exaggerating. Most of my family is Terrified of the prospect of Hilary winning the next election.

This realization made me kinda sad. It reflects the fact that our country is so polarized that many conservatives would be devastated if they knew that their close family and friends voted Democrat, and most liberals probably wouldn’t feel great about republicans voting the way they do.

Why does it have to be that way. if you scroll down the poll, you’ll see that I also agree with a lot of what some of the republican candidates have to say as well. If Huckabee or Walker were elected, it probably wouldn’t be the end of the world. Heck, even though Ben Carson is WAAAAAAAY down the list, the test was able to find issues even we agree on! It wouldn’t be the end of my world if Carson were elected!

Seeing as how I agree with EVERY candidate on at least one issue, (and I bet, regardless of how conservative or liberal you think you are, you probably agree with each candidate on at least one issue too) Regardless of this fact, and the fact that ALL of us are fallible human beings, the reality is this: When the next election cycle ends, and we watch the results roll in, half of Facebook will cheer for their candidate that won, while the other half will lament the results, some to such an extreme degree that you will think the apocalypse has arrived.

Considering the results of this quiz, That thought is just absurd to me. So I present to you a challenge I have. If you take the challenge, I truly believe you will handle the upcoming election cycle much better.

The challenge can be accepted in two ways: the first can take place in person or on social media: Say someone presents on opinion on any given political issue. Say you disagree with that issue. I Challenge you not to argue, demean, or condescend to that person. I challenge you to try and empathize with their argument. Instead of setting out to prove they’re wrong, why don’t you ask something like, “Why do you believe that?” and when you ask that question, make sure your tone conveys that you genuinely want to understand their point of view, not that you secretly think that they are complete ignoramuses. Just listen. and try to empathize.

That’s okay if that’s all you have to say! not, Okay, I agree!

Please note that at no point do you have to change your stance and agree with that person. If you do feel the need to present your differing opinion, please wait until they have explained themselves, and please do them the respect of saying “This is how I feel” not “This is why you’re wrong,” or, “This is why that is a stupid point of view.” I know it feels good to talk and act like all the angry pundits on TV, but please stop.

Anyway, here is part two of the challenge (this will be even harder, but I know we can all do this): Say you’re sitting down to watch a presidential debate. That candidate you hate is being asked a question on a heated issue. That candidate gives a reasoned response. Instead of just writing that candidate off, try and understand the reasoning behind their argument. Try and understand why they would feel that way, and don’t write it off as arrogance, ignorance, or any other negative trait.

Again, please note that I’m not asking you to change your stance. I’m not asking you to consider voting for the candidate.

Just as there are two parts to this challenge, there are two results I hope you can achieve by attempting it.

1. I hope you can walk away feeling like you were able to disagree, and that the fact that you disagreed is okay. It doesn’t make your friend a complete idiot, and you empathizing with their ideas doesn’t diminish the validity of yours. Also, it might help you to remember that issues are much more complex than the two sided arguments we seem to have all the time

2. Say, God forbid, that your candidate loses. Say the other candidate wins. If you have successfully accomplished this challenge, my hope is that you will be able to say something like “well. This isn’t what I would’ve hoped, but this candidate does have some decent ideas, and we all will be okay,” Instead of, “GAH! END OF THE WORLD! MORALITY! SANITY! IT’S ALL OVER! HITLER HAS BEEN ELECTED PRESIDENT” (and no, that’s not an exaggeration. Stop comparing our politicians to Hitler).

If You’re going to write me off because I agree most with Sanders, please remember that part of me also agrees with Rand Paul (and for that matter, there’s some crossover between Sanders and Paul! You see? We CAN all get along!)

I don’t know what will happen the next election. But I do believe, no matter who is elected, things will be okay. Besides these two ideas, please, over the next two years, stay informed, get out and vote, and vote with your conscience, not according to the letter next to the candidates name!

Well… yeah… I guess that’s kinda the point…

I

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