Just try to play nice, okay?

By Bryan Richardson

I’m not sure if you all have heard, but 2012 is a presidential election year. President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney are heading toward their Election Day showdown Nov. 6.

Romney seems to be recovering well from last month’s release of his comments at a secretly videotaped May fundraiser, which talked about the type of people who are guaranteed to vote for the president.

“There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it,” Romney said.

All in all, it was probably the most shocking thing we’ve heard from a presidential candidate since all the way back in 2008 when then-Sen. Obama made controversial comments at a secretly recorded fundraiser.

“So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, and they cling to guns or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or, you know, anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,” Obama said.

People can make the argument about what each candidate truly meant behind their statements, but the point is they engaged in stereotyping of people they disagree with and/or can’t understand.

This isn’t unique to these two men. It’s something we all do, although I have higher expectations for two presidential candidates to not engage in this type of behavior.

That appears to especially be the nature of political discussion for a lot of us, regardless of ideology. It’s like some people can’t talk about their political views without turning up the volume to 11.

In many respects, we’re just adult versions of children. We have more money and responsibilities, but I find it odd that we can revert back to childhood tactics while in any argument, particularly in politics.

When you call start name-calling somebody because of their conservative or liberal view, aren’t you really just calling them stupid-face?

I’ll admit that we probably sound smarter while identifying someone who opposes abortion as a hater of women or a support of gay marriage as a hater of God than straight up calling someone a stupid-face.

Still, you’re engaging in a form of name-calling that might not be true because you disagree with someone. That person might be exactly what you’re saying about him or her, but the viewpoint doesn’t define him or her as that type of person.

Here’s an example. As a Mizzou alumnus, I believe everybody who goes to ku (emphasis on the lowercase) has parents who don’t love them. Even if some parents don’t love their child at ku, that doesn’t apply to every student.

You have to use a concept called critical thinking, the thing we expect the community’s children to do but not ourselves when dealing with politics.

The inability for anyone to ever be wrong in a political argument reminds of when chaos ensued while fighting for the remote with my sister when I was younger. Sometimes we can’t even listen to what anybody else is trying to say.

It’s just that “La-la-la! I can’t hear you!” is now “You don’t care about real Americans,” and “I know you are, but what am I?” became “You’ve been brainwashed by (insert media outlet).”

I’m not excluding myself from any of this. I’m guilty of these things many times over. Even now, I’m framing my whole argument around these theoretical people who exist but not as much as I think. I could be blowing this “epidemic” out of proportion.

I guess the whole point of this is a reminder for all of us. The decisions made on behalf of us by our elected officials are very important to our daily lives, but it doesn’t mean we have to let it stress us to the point of return in terms of being civil. So, let’s try to play nice with each other.

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