Guess what happens Wednesday, y'all? Fingers crossed, all the mud-slinging political ads that have played almost continually for two months will come to a stop. I pray they will, anyway. Every manicure and pedicure I’ve had for the past two months has been ruined by those awful ads. For the most part, I’ve missed the majority of all this mean spirited mess because I rarely watch the news anymore, but at Ashland Nails, they believe in some news watching. My normal nail appointment is right after work which incidentally coincides with the local evening news broadcast on both TVs hanging in the nail salon. Even though not every candidate has participated in the mud slinging, each commercial break feels like you’re watching a virtual mud wrestling tournament. Enough is enough.
I quit watching the local news for two reasons. First of all, waking up every morning hearing how many people were shot over night in downtown Nashville freaked me out to the point I was contemplating never going downtown again even though that would mean missing out on my 5th Avenue favorite, The Palm Steakhouse. No way I could give up their shrimp cocktail and atomic horseradish sauce so I decide to turn off the news instead. Secondly, I got tired of the negativity. I got tired of being led to believe that if you don’t share the same belief as me, I should cut you out of my life altogether. I got tired of seeing the discourse being sown in our communities through sensationalistic journalism and media manipulated sound bites.
The belief that we can’t disagree and still respect one another didn’t line up with how I was raised. My Granny Grey’s claim to fame was that many moons ago, she was one of the first people in Cheatham County to vote as a declared Republican while her sister, my great aunt Kathy’s claim to fame was that she was such a big Democrat she scored a seat at the 1992 Democratic National Convention where Bill Clinton won the nomination to run for president. While they completely and totally disagreed politically with each other and bickered from time to time as sisters do, they sat down and ate Christmas dinner with each other. They remained a part of each others lives. They loved each other and they loved me, a totally misguided high school kid who in 1992 thought Ross Perot was the answer to all our nation’s problems.
The mud slinging in our state and country political arenas will likely continue throughout the years, but the relationships we’ve formed with our friends and neighbors will endure even longer —or at least they should. With empathy and a healthy ability to bite one’s tongue, it’s possible to sustain loving, respectful personal connections with our friend and neighbors no matter who they vote for or what they think. After all, when it comes right down to it, aren’t we more than just Democrats and Republicans?