I was recently watching one of the many Sunday morning news shows and was reminded of why I often recommend to my clients to turn off the television. In an age of zealous “politically correctness,” we have somehow gone off the rails and lost sight of the command to “love one another.” Every four years we are vulnerable to the candidates running for public office, as they monopolize the airwaves. Will they decide to take the high road and speak specifically to the issues they are passionate about, or will they take the all too common low road and attack their competitor? Clearly this year has provoked unprecedented disrespect. No matter which side you are endorsing, both sides represent the lowest of the low with regard to speeches, sound bites and ads. A poll conducted by George Washington
University revealed that this election cycle has introduced a new tone and tenor of rhetoric used on the campaign trail. The coarseness of the language has started to have an impact on voter perceptions of the race. Half of the likely voters surveyed said that this language is “repulsive” and has no place in a presidential campaign. Just 18 percent found the caustic words “offensive but understandable” and only 6 percent thought it was “just the jolt our political system needs.” More than a third, 36 percent, stated that this type of language has made them less likely to vote for a particular candidate. Too often individuals plead the First Amendment as justification for saying whatever they want to say. Slanderous statements about others are spoken without any basis other than “I am free to say whatever I want to say whenever I want to say it!” Social media provides a 24/7 means to “speak my mind” without any thought as to how speaking one’s mind might affect another. This mentality is not limited to political campaigns alone. It permeates relationships creating irreparable damage to marriages, families and friendships. As a therapist I often say “Social media is good for business.” As an individual my heart breaks with the slow and steady death of healthy marriages, families, and relationships. I recently attended a wedding where the pastor charged the couple to choose to maintain their competitive and overachieving natures……not with a focus on personal gain, but rather a focus on outdoing the other in kindness. What a novel idea and one that
each of us needs to be reminded of so that we can choose to recalibrate how we interact with others.
Imagine instead of spending time espousing our own merits while tearing down another’s we might choose to seek out and name the merits of another and speaking with respect and love such that others might name the merits they see in us. Just as there is no “I” in “team;” there is no “me” in “love one another.” I choose not to believe that our founding fathers crafted the Constitution as a means to freely rip each other apart. I choose to believe that despite the slime that can cover our world and our person, each of us has a heart that longs to be kind and compassionate to those around us. Maybe just maybe if a few decided to shift from “politically correct” and “freedom to say what I want to say no matter the cost” to “compassionately correct,” little by little the atmosphere of our world would change. From today forward choose to be the exception and focus on being “competitively kind” and “compassionately correct”….. it only takes one person to start a revolution, and it might as well be you!